Environmental Development Plan
One key element that sets our environmental commitment apart from that of other Boulder hotels is our Environmental Development Plan, particularly its funding. This plan addresses which capital expenditures we intend to make in order to reduce the environmental impact of our guests traveling to Boulder. The plan is funded with one percent of revenues (before expenses). This amounts to approximately $3,500 per year. This plan lacks the timing element that is found in most plans because, first, our planning is dynamic based on current conditions, and, second, there are dependencies between these capital expenditures and our other capital expenditures. We remodel areas regularly and the areas we choose to remodel are not primarily driven by environmental concerns, but rather toward making the rooms more welcoming, aesthetic, and functional for our guests. When an area is remodeled, the related green component of that remodel will occur simultaneously to allow for the economy of having all the electrical, plumbing, drywall and other trade work occur at the same time. Our view of which rooms call for being remodeled evolves based on circumstances, changes in understanding, our fluctuating capacity to manage difficult projects, and financial capacity...so we can have only the most tentative of plans.
The green capital expenditures we currently envision are (in order of their likely occurrence):
- Adding insulation to attics. We have five attics, three of which we have insulated well. Two attics remain with total area of 500 square feet which are not so well insulated. We intend to raise the "r-value" to 49 at a cost of $2.50 per square foot for a total cost of $1,250.
- Other areas to insulate/weatherize: we have three or four other smaller areas that could be better insulated with each area costing about $500 for a total of $2,000.
- Replacing the conventional air conditioning we currently have in eight zones with cooling provided by heat pumps. Heat pumps operate by moving heat between the inside of a building and the outdoors, rather than generating cooling from gas or electricity. Because of this, they can provide up to 4 times the amount of energy they consume. Each of the cooled zones will require an expenditure of $3,000, for a total cost of $24,000.
- Providing free bicycles (as well as helmets and locks) for guest use. We would also need an outside area to lock and store the bicycles meaning some sort of bicycle locking racks on top of some finished surface (probably flagstone). The benefit to our guests is obvious; the benefit to the environment is that we provide support to our guests where the guests may be less likely to rent and drive a car from the airport in favor of using our bicycles and Boulder's public transit. We expect the cost of this to exceed $3,000.
- We have three gabled roofs that don't have vaulted ceilings and we intend to install vents in the eaves and a ridge vent running along the top ridge of each roof. This design cools the roof and the attic using convection. Outside air enters the attic in the eaves, rises through the attic underneath the roof and then exits at the top of the roof. We expect this passive ventilation will reduce our energy use in cooling, and will permit us to have additional areas that require no cooling. Our projected cost is $1,000 per roof or $3,000 in total.
- Adding a PV panel to the South roof of the carriage house. Boulder has more than 300 days of sunshine and this roof is relatively unobstructed from the sun. We expect an expenditure of $5,000 or more.
- Some of our windows date back to the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Of course, they are single paned and beautiful and not very energy efficient. We intend to retain the original windows in common areas where their character brings something to the guest experience. Three of these windows, however, do not have storm windows and we intend to have some made for a cost of over $1,000. Additionally, we intend to replace original windows in the guest rooms with double- or triple-paned windows. In the guest rooms we feel the comfort of the guests calls for better performing windows. About a handful of those windows remain and each will cost about $700 to replace. In total, we expect to spend more than $4,500 on windows.
- Our sunroom has inefficient windows and thin, not-so-well insulated walls. As a result, it leaks considerable heat during the winter. We intend to tear down the sunroom and rebuild it for $15,000.