Camping may seem like one of the greenest possible ways to travel. You’re close to nature, bringing only what you need, and leaving only footprints behind. But as it turns out, the managers of campsites across the country are attempting to make the camping experience even greener, and are rolling out new methods of cutting the energy costs of running their sites. It’s all part of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) green parks initiative, called “Plan-it Green.”
“A lot of parks were already doing things that helped the environment and I think a lot more of them are embracing the concept,” says Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of ARVC, which represents the more than 8,000 private campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the United States. Sites have been installing geothermal heating and cooling systems, low-flow shower heads, and efficient lightbulbs and hand-dryers, switching from chlorine-based pool cleaning systems to salt water treatments and even encouraging their staffs to use bikes instead of cars to travel the grounds.
As part of the initiative, ARVC has launched a competition which awards parks with the most outstanding forward-thinking practices. Last year’s Green Award winner was the Grand Haven Resort in Kimbolton, Ohio. What put them over the edge? Among their eco-efforts was the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system for its customer service and fitness centers. The result? The site’s heating and cooling costs drop from over $12,000 per year to just over $1,200. That’s a big chunk of change. And that kind of change is a good thing.