Killington purchased 400 new energy-efficient snow guns as a
part of Efficiency Vermont’s Great Snow Gun Roundup in 2014, an investment of
snow guns valued at over $2 million, which required that for every five
energy-efficient snow guns purchased, four less efficient snow guns be
scrapped. Killington retired 317 snow guns in a variety of styles and added 396
new guns to its fleet.
Killington added 150 new tower bases for these more efficient
snow guns and mounting guns on towers allows for more “hang time” in
snowmaking, adding to efficiency and output while reducing noise for skiers and
providing a more authentic snowfall experience. Dave Lacombe, snow surfaces
manager for Killington Resort commented, “Modern, energy-efficient snow guns
require up to 85 percent less energy to operate than older snow gun models, and
the new snow guns represent the most advanced, energy-efficient technology
One standard diesel-powered air compressor used for snowmaking
produces 1600 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM). Older snow guns use 600 CFM
while new energy-efficient guns use 8-26 CFM, allowing for far more snow guns
to be powered by a single compressor. To further improve sustainability, all
Killington diesel compressors have Tier 4 engines that use cleaner burning fuel
and have increased energy efficiency overall.
Killington projected direct savings for the season associated
with the new snow guns totaled 1,453,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, 84,000
gallons of diesel fuel, 3,452,000 pounds of carbon emissions and roughly
$470,000 - and that’s a return on investment in about a year and a half.