TAOS, N.M.—Taos Ski Valley, Inc. announced that is has become a certified CarbonNeutral company by Climate Impact Partners, which, coupled with its status as the world’s first and only certified B Corporation, confirms Taos as an industry leader in environmental and social responsibility. While Taos has achieved CarbonNeutral certification, it will continue its ongoing, long-term effort to minimize its actual carbon emissions.
“CarbonNeutral certification is the first step in our greater goal of significantly reducing our carbon emissions without using offsets,” said Taos Ski Valley CEO David Norden. “To achieve this milestone, we conducted a rigorous audit to fully understand our carbon footprint, so now we are poised for the next steps of further cutting greenhouse gasses. While we still have work to do to achieve our reduced carbon emission goals, we are thrilled to achieve this significant milestone on our journey. This is the right thing to do for all stakeholders, including our local community and our guests.”
Taos is working with Climate Impact Partners to offset its greenhouse gas emissions with projects that cut carbon and deliver sustainable development impacts. In addition to utilizing carbon offsets in its portfolio of carbon reduction strategies, Taos’ initiatives focus on three key areas of energy use: renewable power, electric vehicles, and efficient buildings. Following Climate Impact Partners’ rigorous CarbonNeutral Protocol, as well as the National Ski Areas Association Climate Challenge, Taos has effectively defined, measured, targeted, and reduced its carbon footprint. Some of those reduction measures include:
- Resort operations like chairlifts and snowmaking use 100 percent renewable daytime solar power through a partnership with the local utility. Taos has also invested in 207 high-efficiency snow guns, which further reduce energy and water use.
- Many older buildings have been retrofitted to reduce their energy impact, while newer buildings have been built with clean energy as a priority. For instance, the LEED-certified Blake Hotel uses geothermal wells and ground source heat pumps to heat and cool the building.
- Taos has invested heavily in electrifying its fleet of vehicles, including snowmobiles and cars. Additionally, this winter, Taos Ski Valley will be the first ski resort in North America to deploy an all-electric snowcat.
“We have a detailed, highly rigorous plan to work towards zero emissions, which stipulates measurable, achievable investments and business changes,” said Matthew Weyer, Taos Ski Valley’s NetZero 2030 manager. “Taos Ski Valley is committed to this at every possible level and makes all decisions with sustainability at the forefront. Because of this focus, Taos is leading the industry in energy reduction, and we’re thrilled to achieve this CarbonNeutral designation from the distinguished and prestigious Climate Impact Partners.”
Sustainability at Taos Ski Valley
Other sustainability initiatives at Taos contribute to its overall environmental leadership:
- A food composter diverts more than 90 percent of food waste from the landfill. This helps support natural eco-systems with rich, fresh compost, and reduces methane gas at the landfill.
- Taos Ski Valley is a charter signatory of The Nature Conservancy’s Rio Grande Water Fund whose collaborative goal is to restore 600,000 acres of critical forests and headwaters of the Rio Grande, helping restore eco-systems and sequestering carbon in forests, while also protecting water sources.
- EV chargers installed throughout the resort incentivize guests and staff to drive electric vehicles.
- A free employee shuttle provides reliable transportation to and from work and removes numerous cars and the associated emissions from the local roads.
- Reviews of vendor and supplier relationships coupled with a preference for locally sourced products reduce shipping, packaging, and transportation emissions throughout the resort’s entire supply chain.
- Waste reduction through the elimination of single-use plastics and the installation of water bottle fillers throughout the resort.
Taos Ski Valley’s journey towards zero emissions will require more of the same in the years ahead: continuing to increase building energy efficiency, adopting more electric vehicle and equipment technology, utilizing more renewable energy and onsite renewable generation, and adopting battery storage for grid resilience and to store renewable energy.
In addition to its emissions reduction work, Taos Ski Valley is continually investing resources toward forest maintenance to protect the mountain and mitigate fire and watershed impacts. This year alone, the resort thinned dead and diseased trees on 320 acres of at-risk forested lands. This work will help reduce potential fires, improve habitat for wildlife, and protect watersheds. The forestry work is a collaborative effort with the Carson National Forest and the Taos Valley Watershed Coalition. The intent of the thinning work is to create a fire break to better protect the Village of Taos Ski Valley and the Rio Hondo watershed and to improve forest health to better withstand wildland fire threats. What’s more, it offers enhanced skiing and riding terrain.