The Greening of Zion


A recently issued press release announces that the Zion Lodge has received the Green Seal Lodging Standard certification for Hotels and Lodging Properties.

The Green Seal certification means that a third party – Green Seal – has verified that the lodge’s environmental programs have been effectively implemented. Green Seal, an organization dedicated to identifying and promoting sustainability in the marketplace, will perform an annual audit to ensure Zion Lodge remains compliant with the standard.

The certification is the latest of many awards and honors received by Zion Lodge for its innovative and extensive environmental programs and initiatives.

Prior to granting certification, Green Seal examined a variety of aspects of the lodge’s environmental program including purchasing policies, water and energy management and employee practices.

“Zion Lodge has aggressively implemented energy and natural resource efficiency programs for years, and we are proud of our results,” said Trina Smith, general manager of Zion Lodge. “We also believe that before we can claim environmental success we must credibly measure results, and that credibility is best illustrated by third-party certification programs such as Green Seal.”

Smith pointed to numerous environmental successes, including using renewable wind power for 100 percent of the lodge’s electricity, purchasing only EPA Energy Star-approved computers and other equipment, installing two photovoltaic solar arrays and saving on glass waste by serving beer on tap and eliminating bottles.

Other external certifications and environmental audit programs for Zion Lodge include the National Park Service Concessions Environmental Audit Program, Marine Stewardship Council Certification program, EPA WasteWise Partner, Clean Utah! through the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and Green-e certified renewable energy purchases.

For the benefit of you — my faithful readers — I will be making an investigative journey this weekend to check out, and report back, as to what they’re doing down there.

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But We Need That Oil!

Oil Spill in LIberty Park

Today’s Marketplace report chronicles the woes of the residents of North Star Ranch, near Cheyenne, Wyoming, whom are facing the prospect of mineral exploration amongst their midst.

The story reports that the neighborhood association and the oil company are negotiating, and I’m quite certain that the oil company will make many assurances about safety and environmental care, but would you want BP, or even Chevron drilling in your neighborhood?

I know how the neighbors of Red Butte Creek would feel about that. I’m also quite certain that our legislature and governor wouldn’t be rushing to advocate for the residents, but Salt Lake’s Mayor would.

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Dealing with Consequential Damages in Green Building Projects

I just found a reference on a linkserve to a new law review article dealing with the potential for consequential damages in connection with green building construction contracts. I haven’t had a chance to read the article yet, but the conclusion is worth quoting, for now:

While green building continues to engulf and set a new bar for construction, the corresponding legal analysis needs to keep pace as well.  The courts have yet to provide any real guidance with respect to how clauses allocating the risk of consequential damages should be interpreted, nor have they reviewed the novel types of risk allocation provisions that some parties are proposing in connection with their projects.  Because the courts do not generally give advisory opinions, and only one case implicating the unique characteristics of green building has occurred, these strategies remain untested and it is difficult to predict an outcome. In contrast, legislative activity continues to take place quickly and at all levels of government in jurisdictions across the country.  This frenetic pace continues to have significant impact on the risk profiles of green building projects and will undoubtedly catch some parties unexpectedly. Accordingly, all stakeholders engaging in this type of work must review their green building contracts with counsel to limit their potential exposure to consequential or other types of unanticipated damages.

The article, written by Darren A. Prum and Stephen Del Percio,can be found here.

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Park City Setting Example for Other Utah Communities

I found this article on a Utah Business morning email; it identifies the source as “PR or News Wire,” so I presume it’s not copyrighted and can be shared.  Further, I see no need to edit or rewrite it.  It’s a pretty impressive list:

Park City, Utah, is a community whose economic success is dependent on the preservation of a clean environment. With three major ski resorts as the main economic driver, the community knows it must protect its resources, increase energy efficiency, and decrease its carbon footprint. Sustainable city government programs have helped Park City exceed state and national environmental requirements, and an increasing number of Park City businesses are making strides to maintain the community’s natural environment.

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort currently offsets 100% of its electricity through renewable energy credit purchases. In 2010, the resort received a “Green Business Award” from Utah Business Magazine. This award recognizes practices at the workplace that engage employees and clients to act green. PCMR is presently working on a refrigeration initiative, which will use the ambient temperature of the outside air to cool walk-in refrigeration systems when possible instead of using air compressors to cool them. PCMR also uses programmable timers/thermostats to reduce energy use, maintains its recycling initiative, uses 100% biofuel for ski run grooming operations, and practices energy-efficient snowmaking.

Deer Valley Resort
Recycling is Deer Valley’s most widespread green initiative. Glassware and china plates are used in the restaurants to reduce paper and Styrofoam use, as well as greener products that are water-based, environmentally friendly, and biodegradable. Essentially everything is recycled including old trail maps, fluorescent lighting, anti-freeze and oils when possible as well as all rubber products, from bull wheel liners to tires to snowcat track belting. Deer Valley uses lower-energy lighting, and puts heating and lighting systems on timers to save up to 9,600 kilowatt hours per year. The resort also participates in Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Program and has had Rocky Mountain Power run a complete energy audit on all of its buildings.

Canyons Resort
Canyons Resort currently reduces approximately 20% of its waste through re-use and recycling programs, offsetting over 75 metric tons of carbon equivalents. The Resort also supports the development of clean energy resources in the U.S. by purchasing approximately 22% of its total energy as renewable wind power from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Program. Canyons Resort enforces NSAA’s No Idling Policy in regards to all company driven and employee vehicles. Canyons has formed a partnership with Recycle Utah, annually hosting the Free Haz Mat Collection Days, Alternative Energy Seminars, and the Green Building Seminars. The resort has also made a commitment to Recycle Utah Education and Outreach programs by donating funds to the programs.

Treasure Mountain Inn (TMI) is the area’s only hospitality member of the Green Hotel Associate program and Utah’s first hotel to be 100% carbon neutral. Treasure Mountain Inn is a partner of the EPA Green Power Partnership and 1% for the Planet. TMI purchases about 30% of its energy as wind power and this commitment to renewable energy reduces its annual coal consumption by 96 tons and CO2 emissions by 190 tons. All paper products are made with recycled materials and paper consumption has been reduced by 50%. Water consumption has been reduced by installing water conserving shower heads in every unit. TMI has an extensive recycling program, with recycling centers in every room and in the hallways, and features recyclable, biodegradable toiletries in recycled packaging.

Newpark Town Center is Utah’s first and only LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certified green land development. LEED-ND may be the most difficult LEED designation to achieve. As of September 25, 2009, there were only 39 LEED-ND certified land developments worldwide, only 23 of which have exceeded Newpark’s LEED-ND Silver certification. The certification measures the use of smart growth to evaluate where and how growth occurs to support and revitalize existing communities with the goal of preserving open space and natural resources. New urbanism efforts are enforced to focus on the design elements of a neighborhood that make it attractive, successful, and tightly-knit. Also, green buildings and infrastructure initiatives have the potential to reduce energy use, water use and storm water runoff, and produce other benefits, such as improving indoor air quality and supporting locally-sourced materials.

· The Park City area is home to over 10 separate organizations which support and/or lead initiatives related to environmental sustainability in the region.
· Park City was one of two communities in the U.S. named a Green Power Community of the Year in 2010 by EPA. This award recognized communities committed to supporting environmental stewardship and renewable energy development.
· Park City was the first in Utah to complete a Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory. This 7-month long project included a 30-person Community Carbon Advisory Board and later resulted in the development of a Save Our Snow Action Plan to reduce GHG emissions. Park City was also chosen as one of 18 U.S. pilot cities to report its Greenhouse Gas Inventory and adaptation information for a partnership between The Carbon Disclosure Project & ICLEI.
· On a municipal level, Park City has invested extensively in energy and water-saving upgrades. In 2009, the City completed an audit and retrofit of municipal facilities that is expected to save over $100,000 and 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Park City Municipal has committed to reducing its internal carbon footprint to 12% below the projected business-as-usual trajectory by 2012 and launched an internal revolving loan fund to support this initiative.
· Park City Municipal completed an affordable housing project in June 2010 that incorporated numerous green elements. The Snow Creek Cottages project included 13 affordable homes that were each equipped with solar PV panels, solar thermal water heating, and geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling. The project also incorporated recycled materials and ENERGY STAR appliances, in addition to being located near the City’s free bus transit system, to provide homeowners with the ultimate experience in sustainable living.
· Park City recently partnered with Utah State University and the Energy Dynamics Lab in Logan, UT to create a regional renewable energy feasibility study. This report, titled “Renewable Energy: A Path Forward for Park City”, was released in 2010 and complements a variety of renewable energy projects that have been already completed, including an 18 kW solar array on City Hall.
· Park City is #10 in the country in regards to the percentage of electricity purchased from Green Power Purchase programs. The City, along with Rocky Mountain Power, has set a goal to achieve a 15% participation rate in the Blue Sky renewable energy program by April 2011.
· The Park City/Summit County bus system is one of the few free transit systems in the U.S. The bus system, which is fueled by a bio-diesel blend, carries roughly 2 million passengers each year.
· The City Council in Park City adopted an anti-idling ordinance in December 2010. Park City is the first community in Utah to pass such an ordinance and joins a growing number of cities across the country which have taken this step to preserve air quality and protect public health.
· Residents approved a $15 million walkability bond in 2007 which is helping fund pedestrian and bike-friendly infrastructure in Park City.
· Over 7,000 acres of open space have been preserved through open space and conservation easement purchases as well as development agreements.
· The Chamber Bureau, local governments, and other partners launched a local food program in 2010 titled Summit County Beef which creates a market for grass-fed, locally-raised beef. More information is available at
· In partnership with The Park City Foundation and a grant from the Knight Foundation, was launched in September 2009. This website supports residents and businesses with calculating and reducing their carbon footprints and has received over 17,000 visits to date. The website also contains links to the community carbon footprint and other reports listed above.
· The “My Sustainable Year” challenge was launched in January 2010. This 52 week challenge encouraged residents to conserve energy and other natural resources while committing to lowering their overall environmental impact. Information on “My Sustainable Year”, including an archive of all 52 weekly challenges, is available on

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Video from the DeChristopher Solidarity Rally

As described by the DeChristopher Trial Facebook Page:

On Monday, February 28th 2011, people will come together in Salt Lake City, Utah to make a powerful statement that we will not back down from the imperative of fighting for a livable climate. By blocking information from the jury the government has made it clear that this trial is not about justice. Instead they have shown that their goal is to make an example out of Tim that intimidates the rest of us into being obedient to an unjust system.

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Green Fine Art Exhibit

Several local photographers have donated time and photographs to an exhibit that will benefit the local Ronald McDonald House.

The event, dubbed The Green Fine Art Project, will include a month-long display of the photographs of recyclables; the photos will be sold at the end of the display, with all proceeds being donated.  Slightly over half of the 75 photos will be displayed at the Utah Art Alliance, and the remainder will be at the Ronald McDonald House.

“The Green Fine Art Project proves that beauty and recyclables can coexist,” said photographer Kim Baack. “We were happy to donate the proceeds to the Salt Lake City Ronald McDonald House Charities because everyone is one step away from relying on its support and services. Our exhibit is a unique way for the community to support this organization that brings stability to families facing medical uncertainty.”

Images of the photographs can be seen on the link above.

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Yesterday afternoon, I happened to stumble upon (sorry) a new Facebook group, Salt Lake City Green Drinks which identifies itself as:

a local chapter of the international Greendrinks network. Salt Lake City Green Drinkers are bound by a common interest in sustainability.

Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly:

Everyone is welcome to join in informal networking events that are held on the 4th Tuesday of each month. Events start between 5:30 and 6:00, the location varies, and there is never a charge to participate.

From the pictures posted on the Facebook page, it appears this group has a good time, with (among other things) music, food, bikes and, of course drinks.

And, speaking of green drinking, there will be an informational gathering of CSA Utah: Community Sponsored Agriculture, at Squatter’s Pub and Brewery from 6:30 to 8:30 tonight.  As they describe it:

Come hear from over a dozen new and established CSA farmers, what they offer, where they grow, and how you can participate in their program. Please join the Great Salt Lake RC&D and CSA Utah at Squatters in Salt Lake City (147 West 300 South) on Wednesday, Feb 23rd from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Brave the cold and enjoy great early season prices and incentives on CSA shares as well as some of the best food and drink in Utah.
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