Hotel Owners play part in beautifying Earth
For Treasure Mountain Inn (TMI) owners Thea Leonard and Andy Beerman, a potential dilapidation of Park City’s environment will impact not only their lifestyle but also their business.
"TMI isn’t our business, Park City is," Leonard said. "It’s not a sellable product if it’s ruined, if it’s overdeveloped."
Leonard and Beerman have strived to ensure the inn’s draw, a small mountain resort town, is preserved and pristine and TMI is their instrument. TMI was named Recycler of the Year along, with Park City Peaks Hotel by Recycle Utah.
"We decided to use it as a guinea pig with green products," Beerman said. "A lot of it is more conservation within the business and environment."
TMI has installed more efficient doors, light bulbs, waterless urinals, incorporated biodegradable soaps and other items. They have built a large hot tub in place of a pool that is made up of a saline solution instead of chlorine and acid, which keeps the water clean.
Recycling bins are in every room of the inn. The food and beverages are all organic. They have installed heating and air conditioning that Beerman said is three-times more efficient than what they used before.
"We have enhanced Earth-friendly amenities that are more sought after and we try to be judicious within the guidelines of health to the business and the environment," Leonard said.
Beerman stressed combining a successful business with environmentally friendly activities is a difficult balance.
"It’s tough in this industry to be as green as possible without effecting the customer. Being green is more expensive," Beerman said. "(But) we are reducing our electric bills and we do almost all of our transactions online. We’ve reduced paper use by 80 percent."
Beerman said they would go through two or more cases of paper a month, now they go through about that many in a year.
TMI is also part of an organization called 1% For the Planet. TMI donates at least one percent of its revenue to and accredited non-profit environmental organization.
It’s more than just a business plan for Leonard and Beerman, however, it’s a lifestyle.
"My mother was (environmentally) aware and she lived that way before other people knew about it. It’s just been reinforced by Andy when he came here 11 years ago," Leonard said.
"We put our lifestyle above profitability," Beerman said.
Leonard and Beerman hope other lodges in Park City will follow in their example
"The Park City lodges industry is far behind in the green movement," Beerman said. "In the lodging industry, green’s the push. Locally, I’m not seeing many efforts."
Another Park City hotel that is following suit is the Park City Peaks Hotel. Once it changed from the Radisson, it has been able to further its environmental push.
Park City Peaks Hotel has developed a recycling program and other programs that saves water and detergent.
Chris Lane, the executive housekeeper for the hotel, has seen a big difference since in her 19-year tenure.
"All the cardboard," Lane said, "I didn’t realize how much cardboard the motel gets, now that it’s all being recycled, it’s amazing."
Lane said some of her co-workers emphasized on taking care of the environment, which spawned the movement at the hotel. Their motivation soon caught on with Lane and other employees.
"I’ve been converted. I even try to do it in my house," Lane said. "We recycle everything."
Lane says the green movement will only grow among Parkites.
"I think there will be a lot of change," Lane said.
The focus on the environment, Lane said, is also creating a better atmosphere among employees at work.
"Bob Hughes is a wonderful general manager because he’s really conscious of it," Lane said. "I believe that is going to take effect and boost out team’s morale and get them more involved.
"It’s just going to grow and grow. I hope that other hotels get involved," Lane added. "We need to protect our Earth. There are a lot of litter bugs in the world."
The environmental problem now facing Park City is the increasing traffic, according to Leonard and Beerman. Beerman calls it Park City’s "greatest hurdle."
"It’s counter to have as many cars introduced to this area. It’s growing every year," Beerman said.
Beerman said there are shuttles, buses and other means of transportation for tourists and people from Salt Lake to use when hitting the slopes. The idling fumes are what may spoil the pristine environment.
"It’s bad for our air, morale and the environment," Leonard said.
Beerman and Leonard hope the city doesn’t nix the idea of building a gondola to connect Old Town and Empire Pass.
"Allowing them to scrap that is completely short-sided," Beerman said.
"They are lukewarm on it and that’s foolhardy," Leonard said.
The owners of TMI are hopeful that others will follow the green movement, but the journey may be slow.
"It’s not easy," Beerman said. "It’s just a matter of changing habits."
"Changing habits does take some work," Leonard said. "People don’t go on vacation to learn about it, but we make impressions."
Planning Department staff on Wednesday shared an idea for a new concept, dubbed the Community Planning Lab, with the Summit County Council. The initiative strives to engage people who want to better understand the processes that drive executive decisions.
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