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Environmental Sustainability

Ruby Falls is committed to protecting and preserving the natural wonders of the cave and the resources of the earth for the education, wellbeing and enjoyment of generations to come.

To meet these goals, our conservation initiatives are centered on five environmental focuses.

  • Land use planning
  • Production of Renewable Energy
  • Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Waste Reduction
  • Water Conservation

As the first attraction in the United States to earn certification from Green Globe, the respected worldwide standard for sustainability, Ruby Falls is a leader in tourism sustainability and environmentally-sensitive business practices.

The Ruby Falls 2019 Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Report will be available March 30, 2019. 

 

Building Green at Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls is committed to make our operations more sustainable.  The construction of our new venues and offices are a huge opportunity to incorporating green building techniques, place the new venues sensitively on the land to protect natural habitats, maximize the amount of vegetated open space and utilize storm water management strategies to control the amount of runoff from the site.  

These projects are just a sample of notable works implement in the new venues by Ruby Falls to further the company’s commitment to advancing environment solutions. Our mission to inspire extraordinary connections to nature through wonder and adventure is dependent not just on our ability to protect the precious resources of the Ruby Falls Cave but also the earth’s resources for generations to come. 

  • Rainwater is captured and filtered in giant tanks under the Village Plaza.  This water is used instead of potable water for irrigation at Ruby Falls, this saves more than 16,000 gallons of water annually!
  • Water conserving plumbing fixtures are installed in all of the new bathrooms and team breakrooms. These fixtures improve indoor water consumption by about 38,287 gallons per year, giving us over 39% water use savings compared to a similar conventional building.  That’s about the same volume of about 7 typical swimming pools. 
  • Buildings are the single largest consumer of energy in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), building usage accounts for 50-75% of all electricity produced nationwide. Much of this energy is wasted due to inefficiencies and typical human behavior. Special attention to energy performance and was prioritized in the design strategies of our new venues. The building was modeled to protect energy performance based on the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 standard and is expected to be more than 24% more energy efficient compared to conventional construction. The energy-efficient envelope, low-E windows, and LED lighting and controls, efficient HVAC system and building automation system all contributed to this performance.  
  • To verify the energy-efficient design met our project requirements and was effectively implemented, a third-party commissioning authority was engaged. The commissioning authority reviewed the design and coordinated systems installation and testing with the contractors, verified training of the building operators, and ensured that systems were functioning as designed. 
  • The refrigerants used in the cooling and refrigeration systems are not CFC-based which negatively impact our ozone. 
  • Recycling bins are made available for paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastic waste throughout the facility. 
  • Alternative forms of transportation are encouraged through carpooling of Ruby Falls team members, nearby access to bike paths and electric vehicle charging stations for guests and the team.  Public transit route maps and schedules are accessible with stops just over a half-a-mile away from Ruby Falls. 
  • Materials and resources were tracked closely during design and construction. More than 75% of all construction waste was recycled rather than sent to the landfill. More than 10% of the materials used to construct the building contain recycled content, and more than 20% of materials were manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the building. Recycled content and regionally sourced materials lessen the greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing and transporting materials. Examples of materials that contain recycled content are steel, concrete, insulation, drywall, access flooring, carpet, acoustic ceiling, tile flooring, and countertops. Examples of regional materials include carpeting, drywall, precast concrete, metal roofing, and acoustic ceiling tile.  
  • According to the EPA, people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, where contaminants can be up to 10 times higher than outdoors. We paid close attention to the quality of building materials to optimize the health of building occupants. Heightened ventilation performance was included in the design of the venues by installing a dedicated outside air system with CO2 sensors to monitor the airflow in densely occupied spaces. Also, during construction indoor air quality management practices were implemented to minimize dust and protect against moisture.
  • Low-emitting paints, sealants, and flooring were used to protect the health and well-being of occupants from the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are typically found in these products, which negatively affect respiration. These products were carefully tracked for compliance with strict VOC limits. Interior finishes have been selected for their durability, but also healthy indoor air quality properties. The floor finishes are a mix of low-emitting carpeting and resilient flooring with ceramic tile in the restrooms. Resilient flooring was selected in many spaces for healthy cleaning purposes.    
  • Ruby Falls strictly prohibits smoking within 25’ from venue entrances. 
  • Healthy cleaning practices are employed to clean effectively without harmful chemicals.