Treasure Mountain Inn: An Eco-Friendly Destination for Travelers
Eight years ago, environmental activists Andy Beerman and Thea Leonard became the co-owners of Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah.
The couple had worked at the inn for years prior to purchasing the property. Beerman, who worked as a guide and has degrees in outdoor education and environmental studies, now incorporates his personal, environmental principles into the business.
Beerman’s principles have paid off. Earlier this year, the hotel was the first recipient of Park City Municipal’s new Environmental Heroes Award. The award recognizes local leaders who work to protect Park City’s environment. Treasure Mountain Inn, the area’s only green-certified, carbon-negative hotel, was also the first local hotel to start recycling in 1996.
“This is an ongoing process,” says Beerman, about the couple’s efforts to make the hotel more eco-friendly.
Treasure Mountain Inn was the first hotel in Utah to be chosen for the Eco-Orbitz travel website. The hotel is a member of the Green Hotel Association. The Inn’s website proclaims, “We are carbon-negative, earth-friendly, with sleeping rooms that meet or exceed AAA’s 4-diamond specifications.”
It is also the first hotel to join 1% for The Planet, where members donate at least one percent of their revenues to environmental organizations.
The property went carbon neutral three years ago through carbon-reducing offsets, and is now “carbon negative,” according to the company’s website. The owners also purchase Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy credits for 100 percent of the property’s electricity usage.
In 2009, the hotel installed a 4-kilowatt solar panel to produce power on-site. Beerman says that a short-term goal is to considerably expand the solar panel.
“Ultimately, we would like to generate the bulk of our power on property,” Beerman says about long-range plans, which also include becoming LEED certified in the next year or two.
Beerman and Leonard also work to “modify” their guests’ behavior. Located in the center of Park City, Treasure Mountain Inn is easily accessible by public transportation, and the owners’ encourage travelers to leave their cars at home.
The staff strives to work paperlessly, and have done so since 2003. “People were really resistant to this back then,” Beerman says about a commonplace policy in 2011. Hotel staff use electronic marketing, banking, receipts, billings, and communication and only use recycled paper when it’s absolutely necessary.
The hotel also uses water- and energy-saving, high-efficiency washers and driers to handle the high volume of laundry from guest rooms and dining facilities.
In 2006, Beerman and Leonard took an unconventional step forward and removed the wasteful, aging pool. They replaced it with a therapy spa that uses an eco-friendly salinity system.
Employees are also only hired locally. Salt Lake City is 40 miles away, and Beerman says many local businesses hire outside of the metropolis. But Treasure Mountain Inn is staffed by employees living within a five to ten mile radius and who adhere to the businesses’ strict green lifestyle.
“We don’t tolerate non-participation,” says Beerman. “We try to create some pride in it, though.”
The Inn’s housekeeping staff sorts the garbage at the end of the day to check that no recyclable items were tossed out.
In the rooms, there is a recycling bin next to the trash can. “An increasing number of people use in-room recycling. Plus, recycling bins are everywhere. Guests don’t have to walk far to find one,” Beerman explains.
Treasure Mountain Inn is a condominium hotel, so the rooms have other owners. Beerman and Leonard try to instill pride in the business’s green measures with the condominium owners, just as they’ve done with employees.
The restaurant isn’t operated by Beerman and Leonard, but maintains a similar eco-friendly attitude. About 50 to 60 percent of the food served is organic, many vegetarian dishes are served, and the chef makes an effort to purchase local foods.
An Eco-Friendly Location
The hotel owners have also made everyday changes, like using higher efficiency light bulbs, recycled paper products, and promoting public transportation.
Park City will be home to the first electric trolley in 18 months to two years. It will charge as it drives, “like an electric toothbrush stand,” Beerman says.
To make a reservation at the Treasure Mountain Inn, visit www.treasuremountaininn.com.