Barton Creek Resort & Spa Environmental Responsibility
Barton Creek Resort, Club & Spa is committed to reducing our impact on the environment by conserving natural resources and reducing waste. The resort sits atop the Edwards Underground Aquifer Recharge Zone, meaning that all of our drinking water filters through the Edwards Plateau, into a miles-wide aquifer. Anything that touches the ground could possibly end up in our drinking water. We are dedicated to protecting our land and keeping our water free from contamination. Careful maintenance of our landscaping and stewardship of the area wildlife is equally important. Extensive programs and practices are in place to ensure that our 4,000 acres of beauty will be available for future generations to enjoy.
In 2011, Barton Creek recycled a little over 62 tons of assorted products.
This equates to saving:
- 1,034 trees
- 425,842 gallons of water
- 23,117 gallons of oil
- Enough energy to power 30 homes for an entire year
- 4,941 cubic feet of landfill space
Barton Creek Resort & Spa is honored to have earned certification from Green Seal for our commitment to bringing a new level of environmental consciousness to the Texas Hill Country. We are passionate about conservation and continue to take steps to help make a difference.
Here is how we do it:
The laundry department utilizes an ozone treatment process that almost eliminates detergent usage and drastically reduces rinse water consumption. During the laundering, the ozone purifies and disinfects the wash water and decomposes fats, oils, and grease. The process uses cold water saving 20% to 40% in water / sewer costs. Along with that, we save 30% in natural gas usage and reduce our usage of chemicals by 20% to 30%.
Water from laundry is recycled and used to water the golf courses.
We encourage our guests to assist us in preserving our natural resources: Towels and linens are changed after the third night, unless the guest requests nightly service.
Curtains are drawn to a close in unoccupied guestrooms to maintain heat/cold temperature of the room.
Lights are turned off in all unoccupied guestrooms and the thermostat is set at room temperature of 70.
- Compact Florescent Lighting is used through out the property. These bulbs use 75% less energy and lasts 10-times longer then standard incandescent. They save an average of $30.00 over the lifetime of the bulb and put off 75% less heat which in turn helps save energy to cool the area.
- Timers: Timers are used on vent hoods, HVAC equipment, and lighting and are programmed to cycle off when systems aren't needed or in use. Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) units are installed on bigger horse-power equipment. To monitor the demand on the unit, and will increase / decrease the RPM's and voltage supplied to the motors as needed.
- 30 thermostats are installed throughout the property that can be controlled by Austin Energy, our electric company. They can cycle these units as needed, based on their peak demand needs. This helps in the summer where "brown outs" can happen due to high overall usage demand. We also pre-program to save energy during off times in the areas they serve.
- The resort is part of the Austin Electric Green Choice program which allows us to buy some of our power kilowatts from wind-generated turbines in West Texas.
- An Energy Management System allows us to program, via computer, heating and air conditioning start / stop times along with temperature control settings in various areas throughout the property.
- Garbage disposals have been replaced with "strainer baskets". A commercial disposal will use 5.0 gallons of water per minute, and two to five horse-power. These would ordinarily run from two to three hours a day in each of our four kitchens.
- All food service departments suggest the use of china and cloth napkins/linens instead of disposable paper products to every group.
- Cooking oil waste from our restaurants is collected and processed into a variety of items.
- Food items are served on plates, saucers and pitchers when appropriate to reduce the use of single-use packaged items.
- Vegan and Vegetarian menus are available.
- Guestrooms feature sink aerators and low-flow showerheads and toilets.
- Meeting spaces have dimmer switches to reduce energy use.
- Barton Creek Resort initiated a recycling program in 2001, to include cardboard, paper and aluminum recycling.
- A Resource Advisory Group has been established for Barton Creek including local arborist, naturalist, conservationist, land planners and Audubon International.
- A full-time employee is an on-site environmental assurance manager, this person is responsible for managing all programs, training, education, initiatives and reporting.
- Each department has recycling stations.
- Classified paper waste is incinerated instead of shredded, to reduce landfill.
- All landscape debris is recycled for mulching.
- Mulching is used to help maintain hydration in plant beds.
- Landscaping is designed using naturally-occurring water-frugal plants and grasses to reduce water usage.
- A series of water quality ponds have been designed to capture the runoff on property from the first 0.5" of a rain event, not only from the golf courses but also from the streets and residential areas. The water is then transferred to an irrigation pond for application onto the golf courses.
- There is a series of interconnected re-circulation water features, irrigation ponds and water quality ponds that enable water to be recycled/reused for irrigation and water quality purposes on the golf courses.
- Tail (runoff) water controls are located throughout the facility.
- Effluent water from the resort and surrounding residential communities is treated and stored on site and used as an irrigation source for the golf courses.
- "No Treat Zones" have been established to filter potential runoff water around water bodies.
- Native vegetation has been established at the perimeter of water bodies to promote wildlife habitat corridors as well as a natural buffer to filter potential impurities resulting from rain.
- Hand-removal of algae from water features instead of chemical controls.
- Turf areas aide in flood control during heavy rain by slowing the flow of water across the ground.
- Turf grasses are used throughout the property. Grass is natures best water filter due its extensively root system being able to filter impurities from water.
- Effluent Water - Sub-tertiary treatment is used to irrigate the golf courses.
- On-site effluent storage capacity is 166 acre-feet (54 million gallons) far exceeding industry standards.
- Storm Water Runoff - from on-site water quality ponds.
- Raw Water - from Lake Austin.
- Computerized irrigation control systems are in place.
- All irrigation pump controls have been converted to VFD (variable frequency drive) resulting in lower electric requirements and fewer leaks in the piping system.
- On-site weather stations are used to calculate daily evapo-transpiration (ET) rates to accurately predict supplemental irrigation requirements.
- Daily scouting and monitoring for dry/wet areas allow for appropriate adjustments in the scheduling and set-up of the irrigation system.
- A full-time Irrigation Technician is assigned to each golf course to troubleshoot and repair the system on a daily basis.
- Rain sensors are utilized to interrupt an irrigation cycle immediately following 0.1" of rainfall.
- Irrigation pump station controls are used to detect low-pressure conditions in the event main water lines were to fail.
- Several pump stations are on a program to encourage use during periods of non-peak electric demand.
- Irrigation usages are recorded daily and compared to computer-calculated quantities.
- Although only 298.7 acres are required by permit for effluent irrigation, the resort has a total of 388.1 acres committed and permitted for effluent irrigation use.
- Daily pest scouting and monitoring.
- A combination of cultural, physical, biological and chemical control strategies are coordinated.
- All nutrient programs are based on soil, water and tissue test analysis and coordinated with field conditions.
- Liquid spoon feeding on greens allows immediate nutrient intake.
- Environmentally sensitive fertilizers with slow-release organic products are selected when available.
- Low rates and more frequent applications are utilized for fast release water soluble products.
- Weed Controls - pre & post emergent herbicides, hand removals, broadcast vs. spot applications.
- Insect Controls - scouting, non-chemical controls and spot treatments, fire ant controls with insect growth regulators are used to interrupt reproductive cycles.
- Disease Controls - scouting, record-keeping, preventive (longer re-treatment intervals, low rates and more frequent applications are utilized for fast release water soluble products.) vs. curative.
- All products are applied in accordance with the label under the direction of a TDA licensed applicator.
- All application equipment is carefully calibrated for accurate application and stored for security.
- All mixing and loading of product is done in a contained area with adequate ventilation.
- Applications are not mixed if they are not needed. Only areas needing treatment are treated.
- Abide by established "No Treat Zones" around water bodies to avoid contamination.
- On-site weather stations and live weather radar are used to predict short-term weather events and are taken into consideration when determining the timing of applications.
- Selection of product is based on environmental sensitivities, including the amount of AI/ac required, toxicity levels, leaching ability, longevity, retreat intervals and formulation.
- All product storage and container disposal is in accordance with the law and kept locked and secured.
- All products are EPA registered and state & county approved.
- All four courses are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries and follow the philosophies of Audubon International.
- Supplemental wildlife habitat and feeding programs are utilized throughout the property.
- Preservation, re-establishment and utilization of native and naturalized vegetation areas are always considered.
- Dedicated on-site Nature Trail used for environmental tours as well as providing preserved wildlife habitat.
- 95% of all landscape plant material is native perennial and incorporated into the natural landscape to enhance wildlife cover and forage.
- Nesting houses are scattered throughout the property to ensure a healthy bird population.
- Shrubs and plants are designed to offer natural feeding for seed-eating and berry-eating birds.
- Due to the large number of deer on the property and in the area, only non-poisonous plants and vegetation are used in our landscaping.
- Tree snags are left in place in native areas for predatory birds to nest.
- The marketing department seeks out vendors that are respectful of our environment.
- Sales and marketing materials are printed on recycled paper stock.
- Paper stock is chosen based upon the approval of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
- Soy-based inks are used on all brochures and folders.
- For machinery where soy-based inks cannot be used, the imaging fluids are recycled.
- All in-house printing cartridges are recycled.
- To reduce the amount of paper used for collateral, electronic versions are created for mass distribution.
- Staff is asked to conserve printed copies and to direct inquiries to our Web site for download.
“We had driven for six hours and [reservations] had arranged for room service to arrive 10 minutes after we got to our room.”