Posted: August 08, 2014
Green Colorado 2014: Tourism/Hospitality/RestaurantsMaria Martin & Nora Caley
Aspen Ski Co.
Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) operates four ski areas - Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, two hotels, 21 retail locations, 15 restaurants and 580 beds of employee housing. The company has won the National Ski Areas Association’s Golden Eagle Award for overall environmental excellence in the ski industry six times, most recently in 2012.
In 2012 ASC opened its $5.5 million coal mine methane-to-electricity project, which converts vented methane into 24 million kilowatt hours of electricity that is sold into the utility grid. There is also solar power from a 147 kilowatt solar plant in Carbondale and 20-plus kilowatts of distributed solar throughout ASC locations. ASC replaced 10 snow guns at Buttermilk with higher efficiency Rubis EVO guns, reducing 98 kilowatts of usage to 4 kilowatts. The Limelight Hotel reduced its corridor lighting, saving 30,835 kilowatt hours a year.
ASC is committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent by 2020 from 2000 levels. aspensnowmass.com
Larkburger describes itself as a “culinary focused burger joint,” and has 13 locations statewide. The restaurant chain uses natural ingredients and makes its own sauces and dressings in-house. It commercially composts all post-consumer waste (except ketchup packets) for a total of 1,500 to 3,500 pounds of waste kept out of the landfills.
The takeout packaging is made from plants, potato and cornstarch. Larkburger recycles aluminum and glass, uses energy-efficient kitchen equipment, and the interior walls are lined with fallen, reclaimed cypress. Canola oil is reused as automotive fuel.
Each restaurant offsets 65,000 kilowatts to 189,000 kilowatts of electricity through the purchase of wind-power credits from Boulder-based Renewable Choice Energy. All four Denver-metro Larkburger locations are endorsed by Certifiably Green Denver, and in 2011 the Fort Collins location was awarded the Environmental Business Award by the Chamber of Commerce.
Snooze AM Eatery
Breakfast and brunch restaurants
The eight-location Snooze AM Eatery wants to reduce its total energy use by half and water use by 25 percent between 2010 and 2020; and it plans to do this with several initiatives. Customers waiting for their tables are given coffee and water, and last year Snooze switched to reusable cups, replacing 50,000 cups per year, per location. The eateries get bagged bread deliveries daily, so Snooze partners with a company to recycle 1,000 bags per location per month to turn the plastic into outdoor furniture. snoozeeatery.com
The Kitchen, which opened in 2004, is committed to environmentally friendly practices such as composting, wind power, eco-friendly packaging and one server recycled used cooking oil to power his car. The Kitchen’s farm-to-table concept lends itself to a local food sourcing preference,
Founders Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk support Boulder’s Growe Foundation, which uses on-site school gardens to educate kids about eating and the environment. In 2011 the two established The Kitchen Community, a nonprofit that builds learning gardens for grade schools. thekitchen.com
Chipotle opened its first restaurant in1993, and now has more than 1,600 around the globe. The burrito chain seeks ingredients that are fresh and, when and where possible, sustainably grown and “Responsibly Raised,” a phrase the company trademarked. According to Chipotle’s website, 40 percent of its beans are organically grown, which has added a reduction of up to 140,000 pounds of chemical pesticides since 2005. The chain also does its best to buy from farms located within 350 miles of participating restaurants.
A Chipotle restaurant in Gurnee, Ill., received platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its collection of rainwater for landscaping. It also has a 6-kilowatt wind turbine that provides up to 5 percent of the restaurant’s needs, high-efficiency appliances, and an energy management system that turns off lights when the sunlight illuminates the inside. chipotle.com
National and state park concession management
Xanterra -- owned by the Anschutz Co. -- maintains the mission “legendary hospitality with a softer footprint,” and operates restaurants, lodges, tours and activities in state and national parks. Xanterra’s environmental efforts include recycling camper propane bottles and grease into biodiesel for fleet vehicles. Last year the management company announced it had joined Protect the Flow, an alliance of 900 businesses to protect the Colorado River.
Among its many awards: the Chain of Custody certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to ensure sustainable harvesting of wild Alaska salmon.
Maria Martin and Nora Caley are freelance writers.