Operational Energy Consumption
The buildings are well built with thickly insulated walls including the floor system. The orientation and building design have incorporated passive solar heating with several double pane glazed windows facing south/west, the doors for the sleeping rooms have been aligned with the windows to maximize solar heat from the windows into the rooms while also allowing natural light to flood into the upstairs area.
Currently, the lodge facilities use a gas generator for lighting and other small electrical requirements such as re-charging electronics and projector use. Cooking and refrigeration utilizes propane appliances including the production of hot water. Phase 2 of the development will switch the operation to renewable energy sources including a micro-hydro appliance installation below that utilizes the strong consistent flow of the North Blue river and solar panels reducing long-term fossil fuel requirements.
2014-2015 will bring the Pheonix Composting toilet into use, these toilets are used by other operators such as Wells Gray Adventures in Wells Gray Park, Saskatchewan Provincial Parks and Parks Canada in Pacific Rim National Park. At a cost of several thousands dollars, they are highly efficient, large, and produce very little residue.
All organic kitchen waste is collected and deposited in our home garden composting bins. Garbage is carefully separated onsite including; cardboard, paper, glass, metal and plastic it is brought out with each group and deposited at the local recycling station. Beverage containers are returned for refund.
Wastewater is processed through a professionally engineered waste water system. This system serves the shower, hand washing and kitchen sink. Natural biodegradable detergents including dishwashing soap and personal care products are used and we encourage our guests to do the same.
With a largely intact inland rainforest ecosystem in the North Blue River valley, the area supports a variety of animals. A range of habitat types are represented here ranging from harvested areas to old growth forest and the alpine tundra zone. Detailed data is collected and recorded daily and regularly occurring species include endangered Mountain Caribou, Wolverines, Wolves, Northern Hawk Owls, Golden Eagles and Grizzly Bears. Some of our sightings are documented in full color by a high definition remote trail camera! And this is done with no disturbance to the animals. Our company goal is to exist in harmony with the local wildlife populations, to be stewards in the care of the environment that we all depend on and to help educate guests about the wildlife and habitat that we share. Strategies to mitigate disturbance to local wildlife include, vacating a specific area or wait for animals to move on their own time before continuing our intended trip and avoidance of travel paths during times when animals are likely to be using them. Our philosophy is to treat all wildlife with respect and work to learn more about their habitat use and needs each year.
Social Economic Sustainability
The majority of products and services used in our development have come from local communities. Menu ingredients are sourced from local certified producers including beef, lamb and chicken. Produce is grown in our home garden (potatoes, onions and carrots) and purchased from local farmers (garlic, greens and herbs). Certified organic fruit from the Okanagan and BC artisan cheese are also sourced for the Snowy Mountain menu.
Labor is obtained locally when possible including construction, carpentry, trail builders and cooks. Specialized services such as certified guides and engineers were more difficult to hire locally.