People living in the cities see what the countryside is like, people living in the tropics experience winter for the first time. It is not surprising perhaps that there is a demand by some to replicate what has been experienced abroad, back home where they live – giving rise to artificial landscapes such as indoor ski slopes, where even people in the hot deserts can enjoy the cool air and ski. Contentious in nature, ski slopes like under artificial landscapes require powerful cooling and snow-making systems and therefore constantly flanked for their energy consumption. But how much energy do indoor ski slopes really consume? Contrary to popular belief, ski slopes can be energy efficient and once planned well with proper insulated walls in the compound, can translate to both significant environmental and financial cost savings.
Efficient Snow Making Systems
Snow making for ski slopes is a complicated procedure which converts water into snow through the use of air-water snow guns. With advances in technology, modern snow guns being tested in market now have shown to be able to save compressed air energy by up to 50%, helping companies to cut energy output and cost significantly upon investing in new technology.
Efficient Cooling Systems
With science advancements, Ammonia has been discovered to have natural refrigerant properties and have started to be used more and more in cooling systems. One main advantage of using ammonia is that not only is it safe for the environment compared to Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) which were used in the past, it also is 10% more efficient a refrigerant than CFCs and HCFCs. Ammonia is also significantly less expensive than both CFCs and HCFCs, allowing owners of ski slopes to add cost savings as an added incentive to make the switch.
On-Site Renewable Energy
The ski industry has faced increased scrutiny across the years for the energy consumption and has led the pack in investment in alternative sources of energy for their operation needs. Some sources like wind, solar or hydroelectric power can be harnessed on the same plot of land as these ski slopes and used to power day-to-day activities such as the onsite cafés, lighting and payment systems.
In summary, indoor ski slopes now do have available technological options to ensure that the systems and infrastructure they put in place are energy and cost efficient. Technological upgrades across the years are inevitable and might be expensive at first, will go on benefit the company in the future.