Improved energy efficiency in Alpine ski resorts

Improved energy efficiency in Alpine ski resorts
© likoper, #94280465, 2018, source:
Service sector
High cost
Annual saving:
0 - 25 % / 0 - 12000€
Resource savings: Energy:
Snow guns: If the snow for the slope can be gathered fully with snow fences, it would provide annual savings of 74 megawatt-hours in energy consumption; this means savings of € 6 300 when the price of electricity is € 85/MWh. Saving measure of lighting: e.g. automated lighting control: savings 5-20 %/a (investment/slope € 100-500), LED lighting in snowmaking use: savings 50 %/a (investment/slope ca. €5 000), introduction of part lighting for snowmaking: saving 5-10 %/a (investement/slope €200).
Total cost savings:
It is estimated that the energy-saving potential at the largest ski resorts could be hundreds of megawatt-hours, corresponding to tens of thousands of euros each year.
Size of company:
Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
One off investment:
0 - 5000€
What is in it for you:
Improving energy efficiency is sensible management of company finances, because lower energy consumption means lower running costs. Several measures are free: for example, changes in the operating times and working methods of equiment.
Descriptive information:

Ski resorts use a significant amount of energy, and purchasing this energy is a considerable expense for the companies in the sector. It is estimated that the energy-saving potential at the largest ski resorts could be hundreds of megawatt-hours, corresponding to tens of thousands of euros each year. The number of visitors to a ski resort is calculated on the basis of so-called 'skier days'. The energy consumption of a skier day is approximately 20 kilowatt-hours, which is in the same league with, for example, one day at a spa or two weeks’ energy consumption of a fridge-freezer. The energy consumption of a ski resort includes that which goes into snowmaking and maintenance of the slopes, ski lifts and lighting, as well as the maintenance and servicing of buildings in slope operations. However, the energy consumption of catering and accommodation services in connection with ski resorts has not been considered in this context.

It is sensible to adopt energy efficiency as one of the starting points when developing services, creating operating instructions, advising new staff or deciding on the acquisition and replacement of equipment at ski resorts. Improving energy efficiency starts with the metering of energy consumption. The more accurate the information available for each set of equipment, the easier it is to pinpoint appropriate areas of energy saving.

Energy is a necessary production factor for ski resorts. However, it is possible and profitable to improve its use. It is a good starting point to know how energy consumption is distributed as accurately as possible and compare it with researched information about the impacts of various technical solutions and operating methods on energy consumption.

The energy consumption of slope services at ski resorts mainly focuses on how electricity is used. The majority of electricity is taken up by lifts, lighting, and snowmaking, which usually consumes most of the electricity used for slope services. Their proportion in the total energy consumption is reduced if the ski resort is responsible for several large electrically-heated buildings. In addition to electricity use, ski resorts use a lot of fuel in slope upkeep and in the machinery and vehicles needed in maintenance work. Fuels may account for up to one-third of the total consumption of all electricity and energy used.

Key metering areas at a ski resort:

  • Electricity consumption of pumping stations
  • Electricity consumption of air compressor
  • Electricity consumption of snow cannons (according to the number of power supplies)
  • Electricity consumption of the electric heating of larger buildings
  • Volume of snowmaking water with the water meter

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