Vermont Resorts invests nearly $15 million in 2014-15 snowmaking upgrades

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Vermont Resorts will expand the efficiency, quality and coverage of their already superior snowmaking systems for the 2014-15 season as part of a nearly $15 million upgrade in partnership with Efficiency Vermont. Efficiency Vermont’s Great Snow Gun Roundup supports the purchase of approximately 2300 new low energy snow guns for the upcoming season, and in return the resorts will donate 1800 older model snow guns to scrap.

The estimated annual energy savings from this swap is 10,500 MWh and 31,000 MMBtu. That means saving enough electricity to supply approximately 1,500 Vermont homes for one full year, and enough diesel saved to heat 340 Vermont homes annually. These new guns are not only saving tons of energy for resorts, which will allow them to rely on less power and lower emissions, but they will also create better quality snow surfaces and enable resorts to blow snow at higher temperatures, extending the Vermont ski and snowboard season for winter revelers everywhere.

“An industry-wide upgrade in snowmaking efficiency of this magnitude has never been seen before,” said Parker Riehle, Vermont Ski Areas Association President. “We are very proud of our partnership with Efficiency Vermont and that our resorts are leading the way in switching to low energy technology. We can’t thank Efficiency Vermont enough for their dedication to the Vermont ski industry.”

To help ski areas determine the efficient snow guns that would best meet their needs, Efficiency Vermont engineers conducted side-by-side testing of fifteen different models, tracking data on their air, water, energy consumption, and overall performance. Modern, energy efficient snow guns require up to 85% less energy to operate than older snow gun models, and the new snow guns being installed this year represent the most advanced, energy efficient technology available. Reductions in Vermont’s overall electric usage – such as those that will be realized through this year’s large scale snow gun upgrades – help prevent the need to build expensive new power plants and transmission lines, saving all ratepayers over the long term.

“Efficiency Vermont works closely with homes and businesses throughout the state to reduce their energy usage and save them money,” said Jim Merriam, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “We expect this focused effort on upgrading snow guns to generate savings of about $2 million per year – helping support ski areas that serve as critical drivers of economic development in Vermont’s rural communities, and that represent a keystone industry for our state overall.”

Efficiency Vermont has also pledged to donate proceeds from the scrapped metal of old snow guns to Ski Vermont’s Learn to Turn program, which encourages people to embrace winter and try skiing or riding through Learn to Ski and Snowboard month, the Fifth Grade Passport and Bring a Friend challenge.

Follow the progress of Vermont’s Great Snow Gun Roundup on social media via #VTSnowUpgrade.

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