Through sustainable business practices, iTrip Vacations Vail-Beaver Creek has earned a spot as finalist for Actively Green Business of the Year for 2016. Actively Green, located in Eagle County, Colorado, focuses on businesses creating an action plan for sustainability. As a member, iTrip Vacations Vail-Beaver Creek has implemented ways to engage guests and homeowners to participate in sustainability. Due to these efforts, the company has attracted several local organizations and companies that help propel the nomination.
“With the efforts and commitments that iTrip Vacations Vail-Beaver Creek has made as a community business, it is an honor to be nominated for the 2016 Actively Green Business of the Year Award,” says Steve Hatley, owner iTrip Vacations Vail-Beaver Creek.
iTrip Vacations Vail-Beaver Creek provides a full-service vacation rental management program to owners and guests in Eagle County, Colorado. Owned and managed by Steve Hatley, the company has grown from eight properties in 2012 to a staff of five, managing more than 55 properties and growing.
Hatley’s philosophy was to build a company that not only prospered but gave back to the community by implementing sustainable practices. This core value is now the baseline for the operation’s office, employees, properties and visiting guests.
Day-to-Day Green Business Practices in Vail
To establish a sustainable business, Hatley first addressed his business’s greatest energy impact: transportation. Their business model allows for two full-time employees to work at home and eliminate the need for commuting to a central office. In addition, field managers who visit properties frequently to assist guests and conduct inspections drive company-owned energy-efficient vehicles. To further reduce transportation activity and pollution, unnecessary travel is eliminated by a planned daily schedule.
iTrip Vacations Vail-Beaver Creek also operates online using digital applications and processes, nearly eliminating office supply waste and paper usage. Paper products are purchased responsibly by selecting recycled materials. Employees also participate in recycling efforts, and recycle bins are provided for employee use.
Vail Vacation Rental Management Sustainability Practices
Green business practices don’t stop at the office. Hatley’s team also works to reduce waste and lessen the energy impact of the residential properties they manage. Properties are inspected immediately following guest departure to lower thermostats and turn off lights and appliances. The team also ensures properties are secured, making sure all windows and doors are closed.
One of the largest efforts iTrip Vacations Vail-Beaver Creek has implemented is an LED lamp conversion plan to all 55-plus homeowner clients. After assessing the necessary inventory for each home, the team researched high-quality new-generation LED lamps at a bulk purchase price. Each homeowner was then contacted explaining the material cost, energy savings and environmental benefits.
Working with Energy Smart Colorado and Holy Cross Electric, the team received a full energy analysis, helpful information and reduced energy usage rebates. Phase 1 included 18 homeowners who joined the energy-saving program for the winter 2017 initial phase. This project involved 1,322 bulbs that were installed at no labor cost to the homeowner and will save over 40,000 estimated kwh each year. In spring 2017, Phase 2 will go into effect for the next group of properties. When completed, the company will have replaced over 2,700 bulbs and saved a combined 87,000 estimated kwh per year.
“I admire this innovative program where a property manager – having a variety of homes and condos located in Eagle county – took the initiative to lower energy usage by engaging homeowners to convert to LED lamps,” says Mary Wiener, Energy Efficiency Program Administrator for Holy Cross Electric. “This is a great model for other property management companies to learn from and implement.”
How Guests Can Help
With energy usage on the rise and more eco-minded travelers, guests want to do their part to help. To enhance guest experience and participation, Hatley and his team help guests engage in the company’s sustainability efforts.
For example, guests are encouraged to recycle all waste, and each home is equipped with a recycling bins. In their iTrip Vacations Welcome Book, guests also find an informational page on how to recycle in the Vail Valley. In addition, the book promotes local bus services and provides a property-specific bus stop map to encourage public transportation in an effort to decrease vehicle emissions. To further educate guests about the company’s commitment, an separate page describes the Actively Green membership and program, which operates a community organization focused on businesses creating an action plan for sustainability.
Hatley and his team also offer a fun way for guests to become involved. They created a ‘Give Back to our Community’ option that supplies a mason jar to recycle their wine corks. The corks are repurposed through ReCORK, the largest natural wine cork recycling program in North America.
“Making a continued difference in setting a high standard and implementing green practices is important to our company,” Hatley says. “As Colorado residents and business owners, preserving and protecting our precious mountain lifestyles is one of our highest priorities.”