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Local businesses greening up

Theo StroomerChris Apmann, left, and Aaron Ingraham, facilities engineers at The Antlers at Vail, recycle cardboard at the Community Recycling Center in Avon.
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R.A. Nelson and Associates does a few green things, both large and small. They have for years.

“I’d like to say we’re cutting edge, but we’re just doing the right thing,” said Diana Scherr, director of marketing for the construction company. “The ownership understands that it’s just as important to go about business right than it is to just go about business.”

On the smaller end of the spectrum, the company recycles paper and plastic at its headquarters, and its employees use recycled batteries.

On the larger end, it buys wind power for its offices, owns buses to shuttle its employees to job sites and recycles wood on job sites.

“We’re proud of the things we’ve done, but we realize we still have a long way to go,” Scherr said, adding that the company plans soon to re-examine its green practices so it can do even more.

From buying wind credits to recycling, it seems an increasing number of local companies are doing more to be better environmental stewards. Some say it’s just the right thing to do, while others say it helps attract customers, too.

The Antlers condominiums in Vail has bought wind credits for years.

“We started buying wind credits long before the town of Vail and Vail Resorts had ever even thought about it,” said General Manager Rob LeVine.

The complex recycles about 15 tons of materials a year. In addition, if employees take the bus, the Antlers reimburses their fares. The complex also installed a special washing machine that uses less energy.

It makes a difference to some customers, too, LeVine said.

“I wouldn’t say they expect it, but more often than not, they’re pleased when they see us doing it,” he said.

At the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail, officials are also investigating how to get more green.

They are looking into using the grease from their deep fryer to power one of their trucks at their golf course, said Calvin Vick, director of engineering for the resort.

They’ve also installed a waterless urinal for one of their employee bathrooms, Vick said. If that works, they will convert the urinals in their public bathrooms to that technology, he said.

The resort has also switched out traditional light bulbs in its hotel rooms with energy-saving bulbs, Vick said.

At Vail Mountain Coffee in Minturn, the owners want to go 100 percent “carbon neutral” and run on 100 percent wind power by next year, said Eric Hill, general manager.

They’ll use the Web site http://www.carbonfund.org to buy carbon credits to offset their carbon footprint, Hill said. The money they pay to carbonfund.org can go to things such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects.

The company also is looking at doing “direct trade” with coffee farms to make sure farmers are getting a fair price for their goods, Hill said.

In addition to the loftier programs, the company has a recycling program.

“We’re looking to make more of a difference, not only in the office but in the world we live in,” Hill said.


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