Natural Hot Springs Used To Heat The Floors, Rooms, Sidewalks, And Water At This Popular Resort!

Categories: Energy

Steeped in history, Glenwood Hot Springs has attracted millions of visitors to swim, soak and enjoy a spa since it first opened on July 4, 1888.

Today, the beautiful red sandstone complex continues to make history as a green building.

In fact, the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge ranks as the largest geothermally heated building in Colorado! A series of titanium heat exchangers submerged in the nearby Yampah Spring make it possible to heat the entire 107-room lodge, plus some of the surrounding sidewalks and rooflines, using water heated by the earth’s core.

Flowing at an incredible rate of 3.5 million gallons of water per day, at a sizzling temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the hot springs resource in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, has always been considered priceless, an abundant gift from nature. Throughout history people have sought to harness its power in one way or another. The Ute Indians, who originally inhabited the area, used the mineral-rich water for healing and spiritual purposes; the town's founding fathers envisioned a European-style resort frequented by the world's rich and famous; for a short time the hot springs water was bottled and sold as a tonic to cure innumerable ills; and the U.S. Navy found the springs therapeutic for the rehabilitation of injured war veterans during World War II. Gradually, over the years, the resort was transformed into a family-friendly destination that now includes a 107-room lodge, a full-service spa, a retail shop, a restaurant and a miniature golf course. As Glenwood Hot Springs expanded, the owners became increasingly aware of the possibilities for environmentally friendly growth and of their responsibility to act as stewards of this precious natural resource long before such ideas were fashionably mainstream.

Gary Bosco, our longtime facilities manager, explains Glenwood Hot Springs' commitment to pursue green practices, "We are blessed with an unusual energy source here. The hot spring not only drives our business, it offers us an immense opportunity to harness its geothermal output. At the same time, it's imperative we act as responsible stewards so that this clean, renewable energy source continues to benefit our guests, employees and the community long into the future."

Sustainability in Action

Nearly every day of the year Glenwood Hot Springs hosts guests who come to enjoy the resort's main attraction: two mineral hot springs pools. Aside from the obvious, they often don't immediately recognize the many ways in which the geothermal spring potentially impacts their visit. A typical day for our guests may start with arriving at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, the largest building in Colorado heated by geothermal energy. Even on the coldest winter day, there's conspicuously no snow on the lodge sidewalks, the bridge connecting the lodge to the back parking lot or the roofline on the north side of the building. If it's particularly chilly, guests may linger in the smaller therapy pool, which is actually cooled down from a starting temperature of 122 degrees Fahrenheit to a still-toasty 104. They may then decide to head over to the large pool, which is cooled down even further to bathwater-warm 93 degrees Fahrenheit. After time spent in the pools, guests take showers in the locker rooms with water that has been preheated geothermally. Their stay may include shopping in our retail store, which is heated, along with other buildings on the property, by a network of gravity-fed in-floor pipes. Many guests include a treatment at the Spa of Rockies with their stay; they often don't realize the water for their baths is geothermally pre-heated by the hot springs, as is the water used for washing towels and linens at our on-site laundry facility after guests depart the resort.

"Helping people feel better is our mission," said Bosco. "In the short term we provide a one-of-a-kind hot springs experience. In the long term we are making sure we take care of the hot springs resource specifically, and the environment in general, for future generations."

In addition to the use of geothermal resources, the message of sustainability and Glenwood Hot Springs' commitment to green practices is reinforced property-wide through ongoing green initiatives. All the lighting fixtures at the lodge, bathhouse, athletic club and Spa of the Rockies have been replaced with energy-saving compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. In non-public areas, new T-8 fluorescents provide a brighter, flicker-free work environment for employees. Glenwood Hot Springs has also been methodically replacing outdated appliances with more energy-efficient models. A high-efficiency chiller keeps things cool at the lodge; three on-demand hot water heaters for the athletic club showers are 97 percent efficient, previously 67 percent; and blue LED tree lights dazzle visitors year-round on the cluster of pines at the western entrance without throwing any breakers, as they did before the switch to LED. At the Spa of the Rockies, all the products in the spa boutique are sourced from ethical companies whose business models feature environmental sustainability as a high-priority goal. The Grill at Glenwood Hot Springs is eco-conscious as well, using disposable tableware that is made from corn and sugarcane, renewable resources that are 100 percent compostable and

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