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Chairlift Controls Pay Off After Six Months

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The chairlift at Okemo Mountain Resort in operation
Photo credit: Efficiency Vermont

Source: Efficiency Vermont (EVT)

“We’re saving a huge amount of money each year, and we’ve simplified the process for staff. This is one of the best investments we’ve ever made.” -Eb Kinney, Director of Mountain Operations, Okemo Mountain Resort

Okemo Mountain Resort, like many other Vermont ski areas, is always on the lookout for ways to save energy. A recent opportunity was found in one of the resort’s most basic areas of operation: the ski lifts.

Ski lift mechanical systems, housed at the terminal where people board, must be kept warm in order to operate. There are heaters in each lift terminal, and although they’re needed for only a few hours each day, they’re important. Failure to heat the equipment can result in an inoperable lift, but workers were often leaving the heaters on far longer than necessary—sometimes continuously.

Thanks to an ongoing partnership with Efficiency Vermont and a local electrician, Okemo identified this savings opportunity and added automatic timers to the heaters. This removed the staff limitations that were prolonging the heaters’ active hours, and eliminated the risk of human error. For a relatively small investment of $7,000 for equipment and labor, Okemo’s savings have been substantial: $31,000 each year. The payback on this investment was less than one winter season.

By implementing a simple device in a powerful way, Okemo is saving energy and money, while also streamlining processes for its staff.

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