Congratulations to Tom Mullen, Owner of West Vail Liquor Mart, along with his staff for winning Actively Green Business of the Year! West Vail Liquor Mart is a certified Actively Green business and below are some of his favorite parts about the program. Don’t forget, there is one more set of Actively Green business trainings on August 24th and 31st. You can visit www.walkingmountains.org/ag to register today.
Favorite Green Practice
Our team is conscious about recycling efforts and the use of chemicals. Because of our business model, we deal with a lot of cardboard and are very accountable when it comes to recycling practices. We are also conscious of our use of chemicals and minimize their use. These practices are at the top of the staff’s minds.
Impact of Actively Green Certification
One major impact of certification was to give staff the opportunity to take the lead on a project that is relevant to our business and goes beyond retail beverage sale. The recycle and energy conservation programs has offered our staff a chance to see a behind the scenes aspect of the business and to experience how they can make a difference.
Our staff has become more aware of sustainability practices, which saves the business money. For example, our team walks around and turns off lights and appliances that are not being used and this has saved an estimated 3-5% on our energy bill. Changing our attitude about energy use has led to a positive change in our business culture.
From an economic point of view, the energy saving practices we implemented have saved us close to 30% on the electric bill month over month. For example, with the help of EnergySmart Colorado and Walking Mountains Science Center, we switched all perimeter lights to LED and implemented energy efficient cooler fan blades in our coolers. We were able to break even on our investments within 12 to 24 months. Now that these practices have been in place for over a year, we are experiencing very real savings on our energy bills.
Tips for businesses
- Actively Green training and certification is an opportunity to engage your staff in other parts of your business. It allows staff to step out of traditional roles and engage your business in ways that will reduce expenses.
- At first the program can seem daunting. My advice is to pick the lowest hanging fruit and start with that. For example, use of energy efficient LED lights and turning off unused lights and appliances are usually easy ways to quickly start saving energy costs. Also, reduce the amounts of harsh chemicals used in your business. From there, start with logical next steps and it will not be overwhelming.
Vision for Eagle County
I would like to see many more small business owners implement energy saving and environmentally friendly practices. One of the things that makes living in the Valley great is the number of small businesses. If you think about it, there are only a handful of national retailers in our area. Supporting small businesses allows independent owners to do more for the community. One of the positive ways an owner of a small business can help themselves, customers, and the community is to establish green practices.