The environment is the cornerstone upon which Sun Peaks exists.
The natural and wild beauty of the surrounding area is a constant reminder of its inherent fragility. As stewards of the land, it is everyone’s responsibility to understand the human impact to this area, and proactively take steps to ensure the survival of this habitat, so that it can be enjoyed for years to come.
The three universal guiding principles for environmental sustainability are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. These three actions are implemented throughout the resort in an effort to minimize the impact on the surrounding area.
As you read through the initiatives that are currently underway at Sun Peaks you will notice the three R’s symbol throughout, highlighting areas where Sun Peaks has been successful at employing one of the three R’s. By keeping these three practices top of mind it is hoped that a holistic approach to the resort’s environmental management can be achieved.
Numerous policies have been instituted, followed, and upgraded to protect water resources, conserve water use, and ensure the quality of wastewater treatment. By any measures of water use, and water conservation practices Sun Peaks is undoubtedly the most water efficient community in British Columbia!
- In 1994, Sun Peaks Resort Corporation mandated the use of low flush (6L) toilets and fixtures throughout the entire resort area.
- In 2002, the mandate was updated to require the use of dual flush (3/6L) or single flush (4L) toilets in all new developments. These toilets have been widely used in Australia and Europe (but not North America) for over a decade; Sun Peaks is the first community in North America to mandate their use. All toilets in Sun Peaks Resort Corporation owned buildings are upgraded with dual flush toilets and water free urinals.
- The resort’s utility company also sponsored a toilet replacement program, and distributed low flow fixtures to all water customers.
- Water use in refitted facilities decreased by 30% to 60% compared to previous seasons.
- Lowest water usage in Canada; 220 litre per person per day (Urban Systems)
- Silver Eagle Award
Protecting the fragile soils and vegetation in the sub-alpine and alpine is critical to maintaining the local environment.
Sun Peaks Resort has instituted numerous construction and operational practices to minimize damage.
Currently there are three beetle species affecting the local forests. Please click on the following links to learn more:
For information on Sun Peaks Resort Beetle Management Program click here.
Although fertilizers, pesticides, and soil amendments are used on the Sun Peaks Resort Golf Course, a variety of techniques are used to minimize the impact on the eco-system.
- Soil tests are conducted to pinpoint a precise fertility program thereby decreasing unnecessary use of pesticides and fertilizers.
- No spray zones are established within 15 metres of riparian zones.
- All fertilizers used on the golf course are an organic and synthetic combination to decrease the amount of synthetic products used.
- When applying herbicides spot treatments are employed versus broad applications.
- Grass clippings are mowed back into the turf as a way to decrease the amount of topical nitrogen used on the golf course.
- Soil amendments are used to improve the soil’s physical properties such as water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration, and structure with the goal of providing a better environment for roots. With increased health of the root system, less fertilizers are required.
- Cultural and mechanical methods such as verticutting and aeration are used to reduce the population density of turf to open the canopy for better growth resulting in increased plant health to better protect against infection and disease. This equates to the use of less pesticides and fertilizers.
Printing on eco-friendly paper saved 25 trees, 17 million BTUs of energy, generated 8,936 gallons less waste water, and 1,479 fewer pounds of solid waste.
- 100% office paper recycling at Sun Peaks Resort Corporation and Tourism Sun Peaks.
- 100% recycling of all e-waste including computers, monitors, mobile phones, printers, and fax machines. This is made possible through the efforts of the Stop Computer Land Fill Society, based out of Vernon, BC.
Here are some ways to help minimize your environmental impact at the office.
- Re-use non-confidential paper to print unofficial documents; two sides are better than one. Click here for more information.
- Don’t print emails unless you really need to. Be part of the solution by copying and pasting this into your email signature:
Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to!
- Use fax post-its rather than cover pages.
- Reduce paper usage by switching to electronic filing, and e-newsletters.
- Turn off lights and computers when not in use.
- Recycle office e-waste.
at the Sunburst Mid Mountain Restaurant
Sun Peaks is located in a narrow valley. This local geography tends to limit the air movement in and around the village. As such, the resort has taken numerous steps to minimize local air pollution.
- The village has been laid out to minimize the need for vehicle travel within the Resort. Provision of extensive walkways within the resort area encourages guests to walk instead of drive.
- Commercial accommodation and services have been clustered in the resort core, so that guests have no need to drive their vehicles within the resort.
- In 1996, Sun Peaks Resort banned the installation of wood burning fireplaces in all new construction projects to protect valley air quality. To provide an alternative, the Resort constructed a piped distribution system for clean burning propane gas. This system also reduces the number of heavy truck movements in the village that would have been required to deliver gas to individual storage tanks.
- Complete phase out of snowmobiles with two stroke engines. A complete fleet of four stroke snowmobiles will be in place by the end of 2007.
- Benefits of four stroke engines: no oil burned, no smell, decreased noise, more efficient fuel consumption; and decreased air pollution.
- Sun Peaks Resort has made the decision to switch the entire grooming fleet to Pisten Bully Snow Cats.
- Pisten Bully Snow Cats burn an average of 3 to 5 litres of fuel less per hour than the competition. This decrease in fuel consumption equals a savings of 6,400 litres per snow cat.
- 6,400 litres multiplied by 8 snow cats equals 51,200 litres of fuel savings per year for the fleet.
- The average person uses 3,185 litres of fuel per year.
- 51,200 litres of fuel savings divided by 3,185 litres equals 16 automobiles.
As the summer of 2003 showed, fire is a very real risk to the resort. Sun Peaks Resort has instituted several measures to minimize the risks of inter-face forest fires, as well as structural fires.
- During a construction site fire in October 2001, the slopes were wet down to protect the mountain and village areas to ensure fire did not spread.
- During the fires of 2003, this system was fully operational to wet all the slope areas around the village, and provide an extra level of protection by raising the level of humidity.
We have taken steps to minimize energy use within the resort.
The majority of our snowmaking system is gravity fed from on-mountain storage. This means that water is not pumped up the hill in order to make snow, which is a major energy savings. The only exception to this is our International Race Training Centre which requires supplemental snowmaking efforts.
An on-mountain micro-hydro system has been proposed. This system will use the winter/spring/summer flow from the snowmaking system to generate electricity at the resort. This proposed 80kW system will produce enough energy annually to power the resort’s largest ski lift, and provide a CO2 credit of 500 tonnes per year.
- In 2005, Sun Peaks Resort entered into the BC Hydro Power Smart incentive program.
- In 2007 awarded the Outstanding Energy Efficiency Project by BC Hydro.
- This program involved saving electricity by changing all lighting installations to the new standard. To do this the retrofitting of all lighting fixtures, lighting controls, and unit heater controls were incorporated throughout all Sun Peaks Resort Corporation and Delta Sun Peaks buildings and facilities.
- By taking part in this BC Hydro program Sun Peaks Resort was able to save 1,000,000 Kilowatt hours.
- Sun Peaks Resort runs all of its lift on hydro powered electricity.
- Ski resorts in other areas outside of the North West tend to rely on nuclear and diesel generated power sources.
- By using hydroelectric power we are able to minimize the amount of carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants, this helps lessen the impacts of global warming and acid rain.
If you have any suggestions on how we can be better stewards of this mountain resort environment please contact us.