26 Feb Eco-Friendly Hot Springs
At Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, we are devoted to sustainable green practices that support the environment, fully utilize our geothermal resource and enhance the hot springs experience for our guests.
As guardians of a rare geothermal resource, Iron Mountain Hot Springs relies on Mother Nature to supply the soothing, warm, mineral-rich waters that fill our 16 soaking pools and attract visitors from all around the world. The hot springs are an amazing natural gift and one this Colorado business doesn’t take for granted. Since opening in 2015, Iron Mountain Hot Springs has been leading the way in implementing sustainable practices property-wide.
We caught up with Maintenance Manager Landon Langer who shares how Iron Mountain Hot Springs is a green leader in the community and a role model for hot springs businesses in general.
How does Iron Mountain embrace green practices?
Being green is crazy important to us. It’s a top priority to manage the natural resources responsibly. After the water leaves the property, it returns to the river. We follow, in fact we exceed, regulations for discharging water back into the river. Our water is professionally tested every week for a variety of water quality standards. We make adjustments accordingly, as well as store that data as part of our record-keeping processes.
Besides heating the soaking pools, how is the geothermal energy used?
The geothermal resource is impressive. We have multiple springs that supply water at a rate of over 300 gallons per minute and range in temperature from 102°F to 120°F (39°C to 49°C). We use heat exchangers to pull out some of the heat energy which we can then use to heat the sidewalks in winter, preheat the water for showers in the bathhouse and preheat the water for the freshwater family pool.
Any guesses as to how much energy Iron Mountain saves by using the geothermal heat?
Actually, we don’t have to guess. A while back we started tracking data about the energy we save by preheating the family pool. On average we save 450,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy per hour. (For comparison according to this source, if you live in a 2,500 square foot home with a climate zone heating factor of 40 BTUs per square foot, you would need a furnace with an output of 100,000 BTUs. Translation: Iron Mountain Hot Springs can heat four average sized homes round the clock thanks to the geothermal resource.) That’s pretty awesome!
Tell us about other green practices at Iron Mountain?
We are moving toward all renewable products which are compostable, recyclable or renewable recyclables. For example, as we place new orders for supplies in the Sopris Café, our flatware will be plant-based; drinking straws will be made from recycled paper. On the mechanical side, the vast majority of our water pumps are variable-need pumps which self-monitor according to demand. Since opening we have also replaced florescent and incandescent lighting with energy efficient LED or low voltage lighting. This includes lighting everywhere on the property including in the bathhouse, on pool handrails which are illuminated at night and even in employee-only areas.
Anything else we should know about?
Yes, totally! We are incorporating more landscaping for beautification and to support the environment around the property. Last fall we started planting trees across the river partly to conceal the rail yard there, but also to prevent erosion of the riverbank and keep sediment out of the river. In addition to providing shade and beauty, trees have the added benefit being natural air filters. We’ll be planting more trees in the future.
Implementing green initiatives, helping the environment and safeguarding the integrity of the water is certainly rewarding. It almost feels as good as soaking in our geothermal soaking pools. Learn more at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.