Sustainability on the mountain

#heartbeatsfortomorrow

«Environmentally friendly, sustainable, authentic» - keywords that influence tourism companies in an operational, strategic and communicative way. For Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG (Lenzerheide mountain railway corporation), sustainability and ecology are not just a trend word, but have been a priority in the technical field for many years. We have anchored the issue in our strategy and are doing a great deal to make the offer efficient and sustainable for our guests. We have already implemented several milestones, a lot remain to be done.
#heartbeatsfortomorrow
  • By means of a building management system, we control and optimize heating, ventilation, lighting, kitchen infrastructure and hot water on the mountain from the village. In addition, the system evaluates these current weather data and enters the weather forecasts directly into the infrastructure control.
  • Using GPS devices in the snow groomers, we have precise data on the current snow depths in the snow sports area. This helps us to ensure efficient and resource-saving snow grooming.
  • The electricity demand of 16 houses can be generated by the photovoltaic systems of the Motta and Urdenfürggli chair lifts.
  • Our chairlifts regulate their speed according to guest volume. If the speed is throttled by 10%, we reduce 10% of the energy consumption.
  • We heat the workshop of the middle station Scharmoin with the waste heat of the drive motors of the gondola lift.
  • Arosa Lenzerheide has committed to using 100% renewable energy from its commitment to the international campaign "I AM PRO SNOW - 100% Committed".

I AM PRO SNOW

We all love winter and need the snow. But especially in recent years, one thing has become clear: the snow needs us. The winters are getting warmer, the seasons are getting shorter. If we want to continue to experience unforgettable snow sports and powder days, we have to do something about climate change.

From experienced Olympic athletes to beginners, from snow park pros to freeriders - with "I AM PRO SNOW - 100% Committed", everyone can work together to support real climate solutions. In the future, we all want to be able to enjoy perfectly prepared slopes, fresh powder snow and the first tracks in the snow. Arosa Lenzerheide is there and PRO SNOW.

With the commitment "I AM PRO SNOW - 100% Committed", the snow sports area Arosa Lenzerheide pursues the goal of contributing together to climate protection and the future securing of snow security. Electricity from 100% renewable energies (hydropower and sun) is already available to Arosa Bergbahnen AG and Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG today.

Sustainability at Arosa Bergbahnen AG

The following energy efficiency measures have already been implemented:

  • SISAG’s individual energy measuring system Sisenergy, determines the total energy requirements of the railway, which is coordinated with the higher-level load management.
  • Reduce rail speed in summer and low frequency periods.
  • Reduction of the armchairs, or avoiding the on / off garages (let hang over night).
  • For 11 out of 14 ropeway drives, the conversion «Control and drive set with asynchronous motor (ASM) with frequency converter» has already taken place.
  • Demand-dependent Control of the ropeways is implemented with manual crawl mode by the railway staff.
  • Wherever possible, the waste heat of the drives is used in the form of passive warm air for room heating of the command rooms (fire dampers) or active with air heat pumps.
  • The electricity consumption of the transport lines in 2013 per guest, (1 612 000 kWh / 5 847 420 passenger journeys) gives a value of 0.28 kWh / guest. The industry value for 2008 is 0.53 kWh / passenger.
  • The waste heat potential of compressed air generation and rail drives is already excellently used.

Detailed Information

The consumption of snow groomers has been recorded since 1970 until today. The number of snow groomers is well assessed for the terrain. So the drivers do not need to press additionally on the gas to be ready on time. This is also evident in the relatively low average consumption. All machines are in heated garages, so there are hardly any cold start losses. Each snow groomer has its own tank key for years. The long-term consumption records of the snow groomers of Arosa Bergbahnen AG show that consumption fluctuations of 1 l / h are more common than the average seasonal consumption. This reinforces the finding that model engine-based fuel economy savings of less than 2 l / h can not be translated into energy efficiency measures (e.g., SCR - Ad Blue technology).

The diesel consumption of snow groomers (process energy) in 2013 per first entry (275 800 l / 747 927 persons) gives a value of 0.37 l / first entry. The 2008 industry value is 0.65 l / first entry. Diesel consumption is well below the industry value, as was already evident in the annual average figures.

Benefit: energy efficiency as well as reduction of water consumption during runway preparation
Sustainable ski management, does this work?! As the first destination in Switzerland, we introduced a GPS-controlled snow height measurement system several years ago. During summer, a 3D laser scanner has measured the entire slope surfaces. The GPS-equipped snow groomers compare their current position with the summer reference measurement and thus calculate the exact snow height. Thanks to this system, snow groomer operators are able to spread the snow more efficiently and precisely on the slopes. This saves diesel in the slope preparation. At the same time, the snowmaking crews know where the snow is at any time. The results are impressive. Thanks to optimized snowmaking, we have significantly reduced our water, diesel and electricity requirements. Our guests are also happy: the quality of the slopes has improved thanks to the system.

Benefit: Reduce emissions from arrival and departure
A large part of the emissions from today's "mountain railway" product are generated when guests arrive. We have accepted this responsibility, as the following examples show.

«public transport included»
Our guests with a valid snow sports pass from Arosa Lenzerheide have the possibility to use the Postbus and the Rhaetian Railway in the area of Arosa - Chur - Lenzerheide - Tiefencastel free of charge (2nd class) in execution of winter sports.

> Information «public transport included» (pdf)

E-petrol station
In spring of 2015, an E-petrol station was put into operation at the Rothorn valley station. In addition to the «public transport included», this is another contribution to reduce the energy consumption of our guests during their journey. By the way, at our dispensing stations, the "electric refueling" is free of charge.

In 2004, the construction of the buried half-pipe at the north-east slope Tomeli ski lift was created, which reduces the energy required to produce the snow walls.

In 2008, the extension of the snowmaking equipment was approved and the construction of the natural lake and the extension of the snowmaking system was established.

Sustainability at the Lenzerheide Mountain Railways

Detailed Information

Benefit: Energy efficiency in the passenger transportation on the mountain
We want to reduce our energy consumption. This is achieved, for example, by the automatic speed control on the chairlifts. Sensors measure the number of guests between the turnstiles and the entry. If the amount of guests increases, the mountain railway will accelerate automatically. If there are fewer guests, the mountain railway runs slower. A 10% lower speed means 10% less power consumption.

Benefit: energy efficiency as well as reduction of water consumption during runway preparation
Sustainable ski management, does this work?! As the first destination in Switzerland, we introduced a GPS-controlled snow height measurement system several years ago. During summer, a 3D laser scanner has measured the entire slope surfaces. The GPS-equipped snow groomers compare their current position with the summer reference measurement and thus calculate the exact snow height. Thanks to this system, snow groomer operators are able to spread the snow more efficiently and precisely on the slopes. This saves diesel in the slope preparation. At the same time, the snowmaking crews know where the snow is at any time. The results are impressive. Thanks to optimized snowmaking, we have significantly reduced our water, diesel and electricity requirements. Our guests are also happy: the quality of the slopes has improved thanks to the system.

Benefit: Energy supply for passenger transportation on the mountain
Since the winter of 2013/14, not only our guests have been sunbathing, but also two of our chairlifts have been using solar energy. We have equipped the stations of the two 6-seater chairlifts Motta and Urdenfürggli with highly efficient photovoltaic systems. For the first time in Switzerland, a highly efficient PV system is integrated into the arched roof of the mountain railway stations. The electricity produced is directly fed into the electricity grid. The plants generate a maximum output of 60 kilowatts and produce enough solar energy to cover the annual requirement of 16 single-family houses.

Benefit: energy efficiency for restaurants, business and administrative buildings, garages with repair shops and snow groomers.
As one of the first mountain railway companies in Switzerland, we have introduced a sophisticated facility management system in our mountain restaurants, railway stations and operating buildings. This is to ensure an energetically optimal operation. We introduced the system in 2009, since then it has been continuously expanded and optimized.

How does the system work?
Restaurants, mountain railway stations and company buildings are integrated into the system and can be controlled, steered and monitored centrally. This optimizes heating, ventilation, lighting and kitchen infrastructure. A complete system was developed, which analyzes weather data, monitors oil tanks and mountain railway systems, supports the process in the gastronomy operation and optimizes as well as regulates the respective energy consumption.

The data of the connected buildings are recorded, analyzed, evaluated and measured for a more sustainable energy consumption. The analysis of the recorded data allows us to efficiently implement energy management by continuously optimizing the settings. Here are some examples.

Ventilation and heating regulation
High energy saving potentials are offered mainly by ventilation and heating regulation, as well as lighting control, which play a central role in the pipe system. Exciting projects to optimize energy consumption have already been implemented.
  • Our system already actions the night before – if the weather security is stable (minimum 80%) for the next day, the heating power in the mountain restaurant Scharmoin is automatically reduced.
  • In the mountain restaurant Scharmoin, heating and ventilation control are combined, whereby the temperatures of the particular rooms are individually controlled by means of the current sunshine (weather), air quality and room temperature. The aim of this regulation is to never produce more heat than is actually necessary.
  • The heating in the difficult accessible mountain restaurants Motta Hütte, Scalottas, Rothorn and Lavoz are controlled in the valley. All electrical heaters and gutter heaters are controlled based on the outside temperature depending on the requirements. This means that the heaters cut back, for example, at night or in the non-operating mid-season. On cold days, only minimal heat is required to avoid frost. The heating is automatically switched off at temperatures above zero degrees celsius.
Waste heat utilization
To heat the repair shop at the Scharmoin center station, we use the waste heat of the drive engines of the mountain railway systems. The waste heat is transported into the rooms by ventilation.

Illumination-, shutter- and shading- control
Intelligent light control has been set up in the mountain restaurant Scharmoin, which operates according to the parameters "presence", "light intensity" and "time". The light intensity of the rooms is determined by the current sunshine. Basic values for the brightness are defined in the control system. When the lamps are switched on, the system regulates the light intensity according to the defined values. The light switches off automatically at fixed times - but only when the staff is absent.

Pellet heating
  • Energy measurement: A Belimo energy measuring valve, which has been used for the first time in Switzerland, measures the energy required at the mountain restaurant Scharmoin on the heating beam. This value is passed on to the pellet heating system. Thus, only as much energy is generated as is being consumed. This in turn has a positive effect on the duty cycle of the pellet heating system. We reach longer firing times and avoid the inefficient starting as well as the uncontrolled burn-out. In the first winter, the new restaurant could be heated with a third of the calculated amount of pellets. Furthermore, the valve continuously measures consumption. So it is easy to make an exact statement about the energy consumption at the end of the heating period.
  • Heat distribution: The entire heating beam in the restaurant Scharmoin is controlled and regulated via the control system of Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG. All relevant parameters such as outside temperature, weather forecast, room temperature etc. are taken into account for the control. The difference from the set point to the actual temperature is normally one to two tenths of a degree. This is essential for a comfortable climate.
  • Single room regulation: In the mountain restaurant Scharmoin it is possible to regulate each room seperately and individually. Thus, the energy is generated efficiently and consumed extremely sustainable. The parameter’s actual and nominal temperature, sunshine and light, weather, weather forecast as well as the expected heat production (for example humans, computers) are taken into account in the individual room regulation.

Cooling system
All cooling systems of the LBB are equipped with temperature sensors. The temperature profile of all cooling cells can be recorded. The quality of the cooling as well as the defrosting times can be monitored.

A functioning and individual control system offers the potential to reduce the energy consumption of the buildings involved in the system by 10 to 20 percent. This is only possible, if the results are evaluated regularly and the settings are optimized. The success of the system, the possible energy saving potential, is the active adaptation to the prevailing, individual events. This is our goal. We are working on it. Every day.

Benefit: Reduce emissions from arrival and departure
A large part of the emissions from today's "mountain railway" product are generated when guests arrive. We have accepted this responsibility, as the following examples show.

«public transport included»
Our guests with a valid snow sports pass from Arosa Lenzerheide have the possibility to use the Postbus and the Rhaetian Railway in the area of Arosa - Chur - Lenzerheide - Tiefencastel free of charge (2nd class) in execution of winter sports.

> Information «public transport included» (pdf)

E-petrol station
In spring of 2015, an E-petrol station was put into operation at the Rothorn valley station. In addition to the «public transport included», this is another contribution to reduce the energy consumption of our guests during their journey.

Benefits: Reduce water consumption in restaurants
The «Swiss Eco Tap acqua saver» valves are equipped with a special discharge valve, whereby the water consumption is reduced by 90% compared to a conventional valve. In addition, the valves are not exposed to hot water, which means that the energy requirement drops to zero. The spray technology ensures an optimal cleanliness feeling when washing hands and feels comfortable on the skin. Due to the spray technique, the cold water is not felt as unpleasant.

We have already installed the Swiss Eco Line valves in various restaurants, as well as at the valley and mountain station of the new panorama cable car Heidbüel - new ones will gradually be added.

Benefits: Recycling
The waste on the mountain, which accumulates over the winter and summer season, is collected and disposed centrally. In the gastronomic business there is also a great deal of recycling. Our recycling rooms are also available to our guests at the most important places to dispose of their own waste properly.

Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG provides substitute measures according law of the protection of nature and the landscape for their ski resort projects (snowmaking, new transport equipment, ski slope corrections, etc.). These projects are implemented in consultation with the office for nature and environment, specialists, as well as in cooperation with environmental engineers and landscape planners. The renaturation measures are also discussed with the landowners. Following there are two examples of renaturation:

Upland moor Usserberg
The upland moor Usserberg was drained in the 1950s - a promise was then given to a fertile agricultural country. Because of the soil conditions, this hope has not been met, because today, the upland moor is neither manageable nor fruitful. The valuable and very rare upland moor land in Switzerland is strongly affected by the drainage.

The aim of a moor renaturation is a growing, peat forming moor with a highly moor typical plant composition. The requirement for this is that the regularly dying plant material does not rot completely, but that it is continuously deposited in the soil because of the low oxygen content and thus enriches organic material in the moor. For this process, a permanently high groundwater level is required, which secures the oxygen deficiency in the soil and thus enables the growth of the moor and the moor-type plants.

It is therefore important for the peat re-evaluation that the supply and discharge lines of water are interrupted. The underground drains are clogged and the above-ground trenches are jammed with wood slabs, filled with sawdust and covered again with grass sods and peat.

The highland moor Usserberg is a highland moor of national importance. With the measures for renaturation and regeneration realized in the summer of 2015, the highland moor could be saved and significantly revaluated by a further degeneration.

Regeneration Riedboden
Before the regeneration measures, the highland moor area Riedboden-Beeriwald had a long moat in Parpan, which deprived the area of water. As a result, large trees could be grown, which removed additional water from the moor and displaced the rare and endangered species of moorland animals and plants.

In order to preserve the natural value of the area with its specialized plants and animals in the long term, but also to increase the water retention capacity of the moorland, the moor was renatured in 2009 by order of Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG.

The aim of the restoration: In order to restore the highland moor to its original form, it was important for the Riedboden to have a groundwater level as low as possible, as little as possible, as well as no or only a sparse tree population.

Measures: The trench, which removed the water of the highland moor, was stowed with 40 wooden boards and then filled with peat and sawdust. The existing ground vegetation was first removed and returned after filling. The trees on the marsh surface were also removed in two stages. Now an annual spread in the marginal areas and a maintenance of the high-moor surfaces are carried out as required.

Further topics and information

Eco Friendly Ski Resort
Report by «Ride Greener» about the test in Arosa Lenzerheide: test report

HTR Nomination - Honesty for Facility Management
As one of two Swiss tourism projects, we were nominated for the prestigious Milestone Award of Switzerland Tourism in the field of sustainability. Although we didn’t win, the nomination is a great distinction and recognition for our work.

Anchored energy efficiency target

In cooperation with the Energie-Agentur der Wirtschaft (EnAW),  we have recorded and analyzed the entire energy consumption of Lenzerheide Bergbahnen AG and Arosa Bergbahnen AG since autumn 2014. Now we know every energy consumer from the engine of the snow groomer, the drive of the chairlift, the refrigerator in the mountain restaurant to every lamp. We know the energy consumption and the condition of each device, and we know how much energy (electricity, heating oil, fuel or pellets) is consumed. 31% for slope preparation, 23% for railway facilities, 18% for buildings (mountain and valley stations, workshops, offices), 16% for snowmaking and 12% for our mountain restaurants.

In addition, we have worked together with EnAW to identify opportunities to increase efficiency and to define measures to reduce energy consumption over the next 10 years. A small example: For the purpose of space heating and frost protection, electric heating systems are installed in various command rooms. In the future, we will extend these with time switches, which switch off the heaters in the evening and work with a frost temperature control at night. This conversion of 50 electric heaters reduces the annual operating time by 370 hours, or 18,500 hours overall, resulting in a saving of around 40,700 kWh. With the saved electricity we can run the chair lift Obertor (east-west connection) during about 127 business days, thus a whole winter season.

We want to increase the energy efficiency of the company by a further 5.9% over the next 10 years and to reduce CO 2 emissions by around 10%. In an agreement with the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, we have firmly anchored these goals. Progress is reviewed annually.