News: Grand Targhee Announces Lowest Electricity Use in a Decade

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Alta, WY (Grand Targhee) – Grand Targhee Resort, a recipient of the Golden Eagle Award for environmental excellence, is proud to announce their lowest electricity use in a decade. Grand Targhee Resort formed an Energy Conservation Committee in early 2010 to identify and implement energy conservation projects and partnered with Fall River Rural Electric Co-Op (FRREC) and Bonneville Power Administration to launch a guest conservation initiaitive. By exceeding their 2010 goal of reducing electricity by 10% by 7%, the resort saved nearly $40,000 in additional electricity costs.

“We definitely attribute a huge portion of this savings to behavior changes by both our guests and employees,” says Christina Thomure, Director of Sustainable Operations. “Our Supervisors conducted audits within their areas of operation and corrected several smaller but meaningful electricity drains, including lights that were left on and heaters that were unnecessarily turned up high.”

Through education and a focus on awareness, the Resort’s employees helped to create a culture of conservation where employees reminded each other to conserve.

“Focusing on the smaller changes really added up for us,” said Thomure.

Other electricity conservation projects included replacing inefficient equipment, retrofitting lighting, weather-stripping leaky windows and doorways, installing motion sensors for lighting in infrequently used areas, and guest engagement programs.

Last season, Bonneville Power Administration granted the Resort monetary assistance to implement a guest conservation initiative, now called “The Sock Program.” The pilot program encouraged overnight guests at check-in to participate in the Guest Energy Conservation Challenge. Guests were asked to reduce their electricity use in minor ways, including turning down the heat at night and when out of the room and turning off the lights when not in use. In exchange for their participation, guests were given a pair of premium merino wool socks. Monitoring equipment was installed in the rooms to compare average electricity use by those who took the pledge versus guests who did not.

Results from the 2009-10 winter season showed that guests who participated in the conservation challenge used less electricity than other guests at the resort. Encouraged by the results of the pilot program, the Resort has again partnered with Bonneville Power Administration and FRREC this season to implement the program on a wider-scale and for a longer period. Starting late January, all Grand Targhee Resort slopeside lodging guests will have the option to participate in the Guest Energy Conservation Challenge and receive a free pair of Patagonia socks. The results of the study will be presented at Bonneville Power’s annual electricity conservation conference in May. All parties are interested in knowing to what degree education and small incentives help to encourage behavior change. In addition, FRREC is helping with the monitoring of the project and also retrofit the Resort with new low-flow showerheads for its lodging units.

“We are very excited to be making meaningful reductions in our use of energy and are grateful to our employees and guests for embracing a culture of conservation awareness. We definitely have a lot more to do to become energy efficient, but all these small steps are paying off,” said Thomure.

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