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Vermont Resort Cuts Carbon Footprint with ‘Cow Power’

The Equinox resort will eliminate about 212 metric tonnes of carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions through its partnership with the Central Vermont Public Service’s “Cow Power” program, which promotes the development of renewable energy in Vermont generated from cow manure.

As the only large resort in Vermont to be a part of CVPS Cow Power program, both the Equinox’s 1811 House and Cottage will be powered by cow manure. The cows will be located at a local farm and the electricity will be imported by the resort as needed for electricity requirements.

One cow’s waste can produce enough electricity to light two 100-watt light bulbs 24 hours a day. It will take approximately 62 cows to meet the electricity needs of these two Inns of The Equinox.

Cow Power supports Vermont dairy farms to help them reduce their environmental impact, including water quality and air quality, and cut their operational costs. The process also reduces farm odors by 90 percent and provides new manure management opportunities, reducing run-off and killing pathogens and weed seeds.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 150 on-farm manure or anaerobic digesters are now operating at livestock facilities in the U.S. , including a Cargill Idaho dairy farm operated by Bettencourt Dairy, Threemile Canyon Farms in Oregon, and Vermont’s Westminster Farms. In 2009, they generated approximately 374,000 MWh equivalent of energy generation.

The resort also has implemented other energy-saving measures including energy-efficient light bulbs, motion detectors, a MEDLINK Intell-Hood kitchen exhaust control system, a laundry Ozone system and a walk-in cooler and freezer control system.

These projects have reduced the resort’s energy consumption by 14 percent. They also have saved the resort more than $90,000 in fuel oil and propane costs, as well as 2.4 million gallons of water.

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