Our “Epic Promise” to our communities: Energy education

As mountain enthusiasts, we all understand the draw of the great outdoors – there’s nothing quite like a day on the slopes with your friends and family, breathing in the fresh alpine air and taking in the gorgeous mountain vistas and endless seas of pine forest. For me, being in Breck is a constant reminder of how important it is to preserve and protect the environment so our kids and grandkids can grow up skiing and riding, too. Fortunately, I’m not the only one that feels this way.

Epic Promise is a Vail Resorts program dedicated to fostering sustainability on its resorts and in our mountain communities. Up here in Summit County, one of the ways Breckenridge Ski Resort has put Epic Promise in action is by funding local non-profit High Country Conservation Center’s “Energy Explorers” program.

energyexplorer2Through two hands-on lessons, Energy Explorers immerses Summit County students in 4th, 8th, and 9th grades into the world of energy. In the first lesson students learn about energy efficiency and conservation and get to experiment with generating their own energy. Turns out it’s a lot harder to power a regular light bulb using a hand-crank generator than an energy efficient one!  The second lesson focuses on non-renewable versus renewable energy. Students exercise their critical thinking skills discussing sources of energy and out-of-control energy consumption. Finally, they experiment with small solar generators and discover that the sun is actually an amazing source of energy generation – no hand-crank required.

Energy Explorers is just one way Vail Resorts fulfills its Epic Promise to our mountains and our communities. But you don’t have to be a Summit County student to take part. Here are three ways you can make an Epic Promise, too, and commit to greater energy efficiency and sustainability in your own life (bonus: you might save money on your electric bill!):

Change your light bulbs.
Replace burnt out incandescent bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs. Sure, they’re more expensive up front, but they last longer and use less energy, saving you money in the long run. If you purchase CFLs, make sure to recycle them once they’ve burnt out.

Adjust your thermostat.
Keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees during the winter months and just put on an extra sweater if you feel too cold! Even better, get a programmable thermostat, and set it a few degrees cooler while you’re away or sleeping.

Unplug and turn off appliances when you’re not using them.
Some appliances and electronics consume energy even when you’re not actively using them! Even though it’s convenient to leave it on, turn off your computer when you’re not using it, and only plug in appliances like toasters and coffee makers when you need them.

Visit the High Country Conservation Center website for more information about its programs. The EnergyStar website is a great resource for learning more about what you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Check out the video below, and keep checking back at blog.breckenridge.com for Epic Promise updates throughout the season.

– Jess Hoover

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