Maine’s Mt. Abram Ski Area has taken delivery of a “D” Energy Box from Maine Energy Systems that will heat the 5500 square foot base lodge using renewable and locally sourced wood pellets. The installation will result in Mt. Abram no longer requiring 12,000 gallons of #2 heating oil per year. The wood pellets originate from Maine grown sources which are certified as sustainably harvested by a third-party agency and will be delivered from a distribution facility six miles from Mt. Abram.
“We’ve made it clear that environmental leadership is a priority at Mt. Abram. Satisfying our heating needs off the grid and off fossil fuels is a significant step that we’re proud of,” said General Manager Kevin Rosenberg. “Working with two Maine based businesses in the process has been a pleasure and it shows just how much modern ingenuity there is here in Maine.”
The “D” Energy Box at Mt. Abram represents the first ski area installation for Maine Energy Systems, the renewable-heating company founded by ski industry pioneer Les Otten in 2008.
“Our systems are not only beneficial to the environment, but to our customers wallets as well,” said Otten. “Eighty percent of Maine heats with oil, which can be double the cost of heating with pellets. It will be a pleasure to see our systems in use in the ski industry here in Maine. The skiing community has much at stake in energy and environmental evolution.”
The lodge structure in place for the coming season is a temporary building produced by the Maine based Rubb Group. The structure is 5500 square feet and will house the Loose Boots Lounge & Restaurant, café, general seating, lockers and other resort amenities.
Mt. Abram’s previous base lodge burned down after being struck by lightning on July 6, 2011. The “D” Energy Box will be a district heat system, designed to heat multiple buildings as conditions warrant, including the next permanent structure base lodge.
Erin Bragg named sustainability director
As Mt. Abram progresses towards the goal of a net negative power usage future, the ski area has recently created the new role of sustainability director and welcomed Erin Bragg to the team. Bragg earned her B.A. from Bates College and a M.S. in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Bragg is also a consultant within the sustainability-focused Mountain Riders Alliance (MRA).
Mt. Abram received a Sustainable Slopes environmental grant from the National Ski Areas Association in 2010 for their snowmaking efficiency and is also working towards the installation of a solar panel array to generate power for ski area operations.
Through on-site renewable energy generation, energy efficient systems, carbon neutral fuel sources, and smart transportation practices Mt. Abram aims to set the mark for what is possible within the winter sports industry.
These practices aim to insulate the ski area from the impact of escalating fossil fuel based costs, grow skier visits and sales base of outdoor enthusiasts, collaborate with other like minded businesses and entities, and allow for snowier winters through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Opening day for the 2011-2012 season is slated for Saturday, Dec. 17 and more information is available at www.mtabram.com.
“D” Energy Box details are available: www.maineenergysystems.com/Energy-Boxes.htm