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Delta Lodge going greener with new program

Situated as it is in a pristine mountain setting, it’s understandable Delta Lodge at Kananaskis staff are fully embracing a newly-launched corporate greening program.

Situated as it is in a pristine mountain setting, it’s understandable Delta Lodge at Kananaskis staff are fully embracing a newly-launched corporate greening program.

Recently kicked off by Delta Hotels and Resorts, the Delta Greens program is a nation-wide sustainability program which touches on every aspect of the hotel business: from guest services to construction to maintenance to suppliers and employees.

Delta Greens encompasses the chain’s 46 properties across Canada and at the heart of the program is a Green Trio, which, in Kananaskis’ case, includes General Manager Dan DeSantis, Executive Chef Ian Riddick and Chief Engineer Randy Fleet.

Recycling is a large part of the Delta Greens program. As much as possible is gathered for recycling on site.

“We have 412 rooms, three restaurants, two bars and a deli,” said DeSantis. “A lot can be collected. In all, we also have 30,000 square feet of meeting space.”

In the kitchen area, abuzz with activity at almost any time of day, multiple recycling bins await filling with both refundable and non-refundable products. As well, the employee’s dining area features bins. Cardboard is bundled with an on-site baler.

“We have a lot of infrastructure to deal with,” said Riddick. “We deal with what a small town in Alberta would cope with.” That includes kitchen leavings from coffee grounds to veggie peelings to meat products (“anything alive”) to large tomato and fruit cans – all of which is kept out of the landfill stream in favour of recycling.

Being that Kananaskis Country has no landfill, all waste from the Delta is hauled to Calgary. The volume of waste and recycling is tracked on a monthly basis, with numbers sent to the head office. In April, for example, more than 20,000 kilograms of compost was collected; for recycling, rather than landfill.

Those numbers are also made available to the public on a website. “Delta Greens allows us to be transparent with what we’re doing to customers,” said DeSantis, who added, increasingly, conference bookings in particular are being made by corporate groups looking for a venue that is embracing environmental awareness.

“We want to show people that we’re moving toward our goals.”

Those same people, said DeSantis, are also being encouraged to embrace a green philosophy. To that end, the Lodge has removed water bottles from rooms (chain-wide, this should eliminate four million plastic bottles from the waste stream annually), has eliminated paper guest receipts and is encouraging clients to re-use towels, for example, as a means to reducing laundry water usage.

Along with reduction of plastic bottles, less fuel is used in not having tons of water trucked to the hotel.

Other ways Delta Kananaskis has worked toward reducing waste and energy usage is with efficient kitchen lighting, encouraging turning off lights, upgrading food cooling systems and, in the case of upgrading 350 televisions, in rebuilding armoires the televisions were housed in.

Televisions were housed in large armoires in the rooms. New LCD TVs, though, wouldn’t fit the armoires, but, rather than replace them and send old units to the landfill, the armoires were cut in half so a TV would fit and the excess wood sent to a recycling facility in Calgary.

The armoire rebuild is an example of a finer focus on capital projects. Rather than simply plan for replacements, planning is done backward from the final product to see what can be done with items in place.

Still with the kitchen, older fluorescent lights have been replaced with more energy efficient models which will save 75 per cent of the energy required to run them. Throughout Delta Lodge, dimmers and compact fluorescent bulbs are replacing older incandescent bulbs and employees are encouraged to turn lights off when not necessary.

“Switch on, switch off is an education process,” said DeSantis, “we’re getting staff to turn lights off in rooms, in offices, wherever they’re not really needed to be on, and become part of the environmental culture.”

“And we’re relying on our employees to make those decisions,” said Riddick “There are a lot of decisions and we’re saying ‘you’re the expert in your area’.”

For the refrigeration systems, which includes eight walk-in kitchen coolers and three in a storage room, old 1980s water-cooled coolers have been replaced with an air system that can take advantage of cooler outdoors temperates (at times abundant in K-Country).

“That’s cool and unique,” said Riddick. “It’s old technology replaced with new systems. It harnesses cold air and can save up to 25 per cent (of power). With the old technology, cooled water made one circuit and then it was out, not very efficient.”

Chain purchasing has also come under the green microscope as Delta procurement of products, fish for example, is being looked at from a sustainable point of view. According to Riddick, a lot of fish comes in styrofoam and Delta as a chain is looking to align itself with producers who have common visions in reduction of packaging.

In keeping with reduced waste, Delta has created an email system where every employee has an address; which leads to fewer printed materials, even meeting minutes, being circulated. And each Delta property has a designated green space for its employees.

In the case of the Delta greenspace, though, there is no water feature, xeriscape plantings or outdoor seating. Rather, within the building environmental information, Delta Greens target goals, key messages and employee information is all posted on a specific, leaf-green painted wall.

Finally, environmentally friendly purchasing is also taking place in regard to facility construction. When the pool’s cedar shake roof needed replacing, Enviroshakes, composed largely of recycled tire material, were used. The product costs more at the outset, but is a recycled material and has a longer life than the shakes they replaced.

Outdoors, at the urging of Delta employees, garbage and recycling bins have been placed around the property. “Our employees are pretty passionate about being environmentally friendly,” said DeSantis.

For more on the Delta Greens program, visit

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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