Adventure and Sustainability, A Colorado Guide Company Using Solar and Wind Power
Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Paired with Adventure in the Great Outdoors
– What could be a better combination?
After cruising through the twisting, turning 24/285 highway, as a driver heads toward the ‘Highway of the 14ers’ (referring to the mountain peaks over 14,000 feet) and descends down a final stretch of the San Isabel National Forest to face the towering peaks of Mt. Princeton, Mt. Antero and Mt. Shavano, just off to the north before getting to the junction is Wilderness Aware.
Wilderness Aware can be easily identified by the two gleaming solar panels and the wind turbine that sit to the northern edge of the property.
In speaking with co-owner Joe Greiner, it quickly becomes clear that what makes this company unique is that he has combined his love of the environment with a the mindset required to build a successful business enterprise. “Participation in the outdoor industry offers the opportunity to be a good steward of the outdoors.” he says with a smile.
Wilderness Aware has been voted Colorado Company of the Year and has been in operation since 1976.
They offer rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking and jeep tours.
There are two large solar panels and a wind turbine that both supplement the company’s energy needs. These sustainable energy implementations were among the first to be installed in the Buena Vista area.
The electricity from the wind generator and solar panels together provide approximately 1/3 of the company’s energy needs.
It works out well for this business because during the summer when business is at its annual height, solar and wind generated electricity power help to power the lights, the refrigerators, freezers and the pumps; that keep the clients food cool, offers a inviting inside atmosphere, inflates the rafts used to float the river and in general, provides the electricity to power the business.
The building process for the alternative energy implements took place over a year, first starting with the solar panels, then followed by the windmill.
Because they are located on the northern section of the property – where there are no potential solar obstructions, a long trench needed to be dug to house the wiring back toward the building and into the grid.
The net meter that keeps track of the electricity generated by the solar panels and wind turbine monitors the overall levels of electricity that the business both generates and uses from the surrounding electricity grid.
The combination of energy sustainability and a safe, long established and award winning adventure company make Wilderness Aware a company to check out if you are in the Buena Vista valley.