Thursday, September 4, 2008

We Need More Risk Takers Like Jiminy Peak

One of the things that impresses me most about the lodging industry is the number of individuals willing to take risks—oftentimes huge financial risks. In green lodging I see this time and time again—entrepreneurs willing to spend a lot of money upfront, knowing that their return on their investment may be many years away. In fact, that seems to be one of the factors that separates green hotel and resort entrepreneurs from the typical developer who often has his or her eyes set on turning over the investment in just a few years. Green developers are patient.

I was struck by this when writing an article about the Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort and the recent one-year anniversary of their $4.2 million investment in a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine. It took a lot of guts to make such a groundbreaking investment, knowing that it could take seven or eight years for the system to pay for itself. It is obvious that the resort owners believed it was very important to make a strong commitment to renewable energy.

For Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, the investment has been well worth it so far. The turbine, which stands taller than the Statue of Liberty, has become a symbol of the resort's commitment to sustainability. Our industry could use a lot more Jiminy Peaks.

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