Businesses get green advice in the Vail Valley | VailDaily.com
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Businesses get green advice in the Vail Valley

Nathan Rodrigueznrodriguez@vaildaily.com Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado A new program to promote environmental sustainability for Vail Valley, Colorado businesses is being rolled out in the next several days.The Vail Valley Partnership is introducing Destination Preservation late this week or early next week, which organizers hope will increase awareness of green business practices that companies can undertake to promote sustainability.The Partnership has been thinking of something like this for quite a while, said Chris Romer, director of sales and marketing for the Vail Valley Partnership. The town of Vail contacted us at the beginning of the summer, and that pushed us to get moving on it. They saw the value in the Partnership taking the lead so its a community-wide program instead of a Vail-only program.The Vail Valley Partnership is working with the town of Vail and the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District and Holy Cross Energy.Our big belief is that businesses have to make sustainability a real practice, so we always try to push the mantra of businesses being sustainable, whether thats by using a sustainable product or operating more efficiently, said Matt Scherr, executive director of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.He named The Bookworm in Edwards as an example of a business that is inherently not green, but still makes a positive impact by having a compost pile.Sometimes, because of the industry theyre in, theres very little they can do, he said. But thats OK. You just start where you are. We dont want to say These guys are worse than these guys. Were just trying to reward good behavior instead of pointing out or being against an organization.

The program is voluntary and nonregulatory, and seeks to encourage and reward environmentally conscious businesses. Its initial goal is to provide members of each industry with a list of what different businesses are doing to provide a model for steps they can take to go green.The Vail Valley Partnership will create an Annual Green Report, which reviews the best business practices in each industry restaurant, lodging and retail and highlights the positive impact those practices have on the community.The Eagle River Water and Sanitation District will provide a free internal water audit and consultation to help businesses conserve water.Thats something that already exists well do that for anyone, whether its a homeowner or business but the more people that know about it, great, said Diane Johnson, community relations manager for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District. Well come out and say, Heres what your bill would look like if you installed a new toilet or fixed the showerhead.Johnson said they would do anything from helping hotels order products in bulk to advising restaurants on how to switch to a more efficient pre-wash nozzle for doing dishes.

All program participants will be eligible for a Green Business of the Year award given at the Vail Valley Partnerships annual Gala & Success Awards.Vail businesses will be able to participate in the program free of charge, thanks to funding from the town of Vail, which will also provide a free 30-minute consultation to all participating businesses in town. The cost for other businesses is $150.Romer said he anticipates around 40 or 50 businesses will jump on board right away, but that others would follow.We dont necessarily expect to see a huge adoption rate right away, but Im hopeful that by next year at this time we have about 150 participants, he said. The long-term goal is to provide a valleywide program where businesses participate for a minimal fee, and we can communicate to travelers and groups that this is what the valley is doing for sustainability.Staff Writer Nathan Rodriguez can be reached at 970-748-2955 or nrodriguez@vaildaily.com.


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