published Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Solar panels bring cataract of energy to Ruby Falls

by Tamara Best

* What: Ninety solar panels and a LED light transformation

* Company: Ruby Falls

* How it's green: Harnesses energy from the sun to help supply and conerve energy for the attraction

* Why do it this way? "Ruby Falls must remain a good steward of our natural resources in order to maintain the beauty of our cave and to remain competitive in the marketplace," said Hugh Morrow, president of Ruby Falls. "All of our changes have reduced our consumption, reduced our maintenance and made our park a better place to visit."

* Plans for expanding? Mr. Morrow said the attraction is looking to implement geothermal systems and irrigation systems.

* Any suggestions for others considering green initiatives? Start a project, no matter how small, Mr. Morrow said. "Most of our initiatives started when we replaced the falls show lighting with the most energy efficient LED lighting. It was something we need to do and all the other initiatives kind of grew from that success."

* Is this an essential part of the business and why? "Many studies show that 60 percent plus of all travelers expect businesses to operate in an environmentally sensitive manner," Mr. Morrow said. "Does this mean they will not visit? No, but it will enhance their experience." Mr. Morrow said the attraction saved about 9,000 gallons worth of gasoline last year, which he said is the equivalent of 600 trips to Atlanta.

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