Instead, the 63-residence property will be showing its support for a global event led by the World Wildlife Fund known as Earth Hour 2010, during which corporations, organizations, governments and individuals from around the world will turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour at 8:30 p.m. local time in an expression of solidarity for the need to address climate change.
Or, as the WWF puts it on the Earth Hour website: “By voting with their light switches, Earth Hour participants send a powerful, visual message demanding action on climate change.”
The effect is a wave of darkness – or at least fewer lights – that circles the globe.
“It’s a great green initiative,” said the Franz Klammer Lodge’s Joel Nelson, co-Eco Champion (or co-chair) of the property’s Green Team.
“You can actually go onto Google Earth to see the blackout across time zones.”
The U.S. Southwest has been particularly affected by climate change, and warming here has been among the most rapid in the nation, according to the “Global Climate Change Impact in the U.S.” report produced in 2009 by the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Among its key findings for the Southwest region stretching from the southern Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast: Water supplies are projected to become increasingly scarce, calling for trade-offs among competing uses, and potentially leading to conflict; increasing temperatures, drought, wildfire and invasive species will accelerate the transformation of the landscape; increased frequency and altered timing of flooding will increase risks to people, ecosystems, and infrastructure; unique tourism and recreation opportunities are likely to suffer; and cities and agriculture face increasing risks from a changing climate.
According to the WWF, nearly one billion people in 87 countries on seven continents participated in Earth Hour 2009. Among them were 80 million Americans in 318 cities where landmarks including the Empire State Building, the Las Vegas Strip, and the Golden Gate Bridge went dark for the hour.
This year the group again anticipates participation from hundreds of millions of people around the world and the Franz Klammer Lodge is urging its colleagues, owners, guests, neighbors and suppliers to get involved.
“We really want to try to empower the community to take part,” said Nelson.
One way it is doing that is by inviting the community to enjoy acoustic music played by Sarah and Gerard Martin, candlelight massages, children’s activities and refreshments in its third floor clubroom from 8:30-9:30 p.m.
But Earth Hour isn’t the only green initiative at the Franz Klammer Lodge.
Its employees or colleagues have been encouraged to fill reusable bottles with tap water rather than drinking bottled water in its “Turn the Tap Not the Cap” challenge.
It also sponsors a highway cleanup of Keystone Hill, is looking into adopting a wetlands in Mountain Village where it would help eradicate invasive species, and held a green transportation challenge encouraging employees to commute to work via carpooling, biking and walking.
The property also recycles towels that are no longer fit for five-star service for dog beds in its pet-friendly residences and is working to make sure the packing materials it receives get reused.
“We try and keep stuff out of the waste cycle,” said Beth Gaudet, Nelson’s co-Eco Champion.
It is also working on a program designed to encourage owners and guests to turn off lights and fireplaces when not in use by offering rewards such as discounts on spa services as incentive for good green behavior. The program will rollout this summer.
“There’s a lot of education we’re trying to do with the owners and guests as well,” said Gaudet.
Last fall Fairmont Hotels and Resorts also committed its portfolio of properties in the United States to becoming members of the Green Key Eco-Rating Program that evaluates hotels, resorts and motels throughout North America.
It uses a comprehensive 140-question audit that is self-administered by the staff at participating properties and covers a broad range of operational areas and sustainable practices to award properties a ranking of one to five keys.
In February the Franz Klammer Lodge receive a ranking of four keys for its “national industry leadership and commitment to protecting the environment through wide ranging policies and practices,” making it the second lodging establishment in Colorado with a Green Key Rating. (The other is the four-key Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs in Ouray).
Upon completion of the program and being awarded their Green Key Rating, an on-site inspection may be conducted to confirm the rating.
“Obviously we would like to get to five keys,” said Gaudet. But, “It gave us a really good starting point.”
For more information about the Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge’s Earth Hour 2010 celebration contact Nelson or Gaudet at 970/728-3318.