Groups can now purchase wind credits at Crystal

THOMPSONVILLE – It's not easy being green, but Crystal Mountain, already recognized as a state leader in renewable choice energy, has taken another step forward.

The Benzie County resort is now offering conference, meeting and social groups the option to offset the "carbon footprint" created during their event by purchasing wind energy credits.

"One of our core values it to be good stewards of the environment," said Crystal's president and general manager Jim MacInnes. "We're hoping that others within the Michigan travel industry will join us in this critical effort.

"Our guests tell us how much they appreciate our commitment to the environment and that it reinforces their positive feelings about us."

Crystal is the first resort in the state to offer the program, which features three different options based on the number of people attending a conference, meeting wedding or golf outing.

Groups can purchase $250 (100 people), $500 (100-200 people) or $750 (200-plus people) of wind energy credits through Renewable Choice Energy to offset the electricity consumed during events and emissions generated through travel. The certificate each participating group receives will confirm their purchase and commitment.

"It's like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for being green," said Bob Swanson, director of the state's Labor & Economic Growth.

Crystal was the first ski resort in Michigan to commit to renewable energy by powering the high-speed Crystal Clipper chairlift with renewable wind credits. It was the first step toward Crystal's goal of eventually powering the entire resort using alternative energy.

"Although wind power is more expensive, we believe it's worth the expense to combat global warming and reduce dependency on foreign oil," said MacInnes.

Crystal's environmental efforts have been recognized by the state with a Steward Certification from Green Lodging Michigan. Those efforts have included environmental initiatives at their facility that includes programmable thermostats and landscaping with native plants and trees

The purchase of wind energy credits makes it possible for Renewable Choice Energy to expand its capacity for wind power. As a result, clean sources of electricity will be added to the power grid to replace those produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

Crystal Mountain is one of three northern Michigan businesses to earn the Green Lodging Michigan certification. The others are Bayshore Resort in Traverse City and Neahtawanta Inn on Old Mission Peninsula. BN