Paige Blankenbuehler
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December 1, 2012
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SustainableBreck Business Program off to a strong start

Since launching its SustainableBreck Business Program, aimed at recognizing and supporting businesses that make environmentally responsible choices, the town has seen 20 businesses commit to being more sustainable.

"We're really pleased with the strong response to our SustainableBreck business certification. The early success of this program demonstrates the town's and the businesses' commitment to sustainability," said Julia Puester, town of Breckenridge program coordinator.

The program was created through the joint efforts of the SustainableBreck Business Task Force, town staff and High Country Conservation Center. It debuted in October.

"Right now, businesses are looking to reduce the ecological footprint of purchasing policies, especially for things like paper products and cleaners," said Lynne Greene, energy programs manager at HC3. "We help them take a comprehensive look at the whole supply chain."

The next step is to complete a sustainability assessment and energy audit conducted by HC3. To be certified as a SustainableBreck business, a score of 50 or higher must be achieved. To remain sponsored by the program, businesses must commit to completing at least one recommended improvement.

Local restaurants are among the businesses taking the initiative, with Hearthstone and Mi Casa restaurants utilizing recycling and commercial compost pick-up services.

Approximately 14 tons of food and paper products per month goes to the Summit County compost facility to be turned into local soil, according to Greene.

"That translates to nearly a million pounds of carbon equivalent reduced from our atmosphere annually," Greene said.

Ski Village Resorts is in the midst of changing to all energy efficient lighting and will also be switching from traditional commercial cleaning lines to environmentally friendly versions. The resort is also adding recycling options for its 130 lodging units.

"We have been environmentally conscious for many years, but we are open to recommendations and cost analysis, and that is what this program provides," said John Hendryson, Ski Village Resort general manager and a member of the SustainableBreck Business Task Force.

Book Breck, a property management company in Breckenridge, purchases only large bottles of shampoo and soap in an effort to reduce plastic waste from mini bottles.

The company is also improving recycling service to each lodging unit to make waste diversion an easy task for guests, Greene said.

Abbett Placer, a bed and breakfast lodge with environmentally minded leadership, is implementing features such as occupancy sensors and energy efficient lights as well as a luxury line of bulk soap dispensers, eliminating mini plastic bottles.

For Pet's Sake is switching to energy efficient bulbs and increasing its already high recycling rate by taking unusable plastic bags and wrapping to the Silverthorne Waste Management drop site.

Allaire Timber Inn recently completed energy improvements that are expected to save 30 percent and over $2,000 on energy bills in 2013. The company purchased an Energy Star dishwasher, tuned its boiler, replaced incandescent light bulbs for more efficient versions and is looking into air sealing and insulating the attic and knee wall as a result of its recent energy audit.

This month, the company will increase recycling education with staff and consider adding in-room recycling systems, according to Jen Franklin, owner of Allaire Timber Inn.

"Participating in the SustainableBreck Business Program is congruent with our values and the practices we wish to have in place here at Allaire Timbers Inn," Franklin said. "We applaud the town of Breckenridge for their support of this program and we look forward to the improvements this program will bring to our lodging facility and to our guests' satisfaction. I've been thoroughly impressed with everyone involved and encourage other business owners to engage as soon as practical."


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The Summit Daily Updated Dec 2, 2012 12:23PM Published Dec 1, 2012 11:39PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.