Ruby Falls has been recertified by Green Globe International, Inc. Just two years ago, Green Globe announced Ruby Falls as the first U.S. attraction to receive this certification for tourism businesses.
Dobbin Callahan with Skye Con, a third party environmental consulting company working with Ruby Falls said, “It has been especially satisfying to watch Ruby Falls as it has wholeheartedly embraced its commitment to sustainability, making real changes leading to this prestigious and well-deserved recognition.”
The Green Globe Standard is a structured assessment of the sustainability performance of travel and tourism businesses, in which they can monitor improvements and document achievements. The Green Globe Standards is a collection of 337 compliance indicators applied to 41 individual sustainability criteria.
There is a very detailed auditing process in order to be recertified, in which Ruby Falls voluntarily undergoes. “It is rigorous and specific, requiring intentional follow-up and follow through,” said Kara Van Brunt, senior director of operations for Ruby Falls. Four key standard criteria cover sustainable management, social economics, cultural heritage and environmental categories. Some of the qualifications include waste reduction, water treatment and chemical management in reducing pollution and harmful substances, greenhouse gas emissions and power reduction. In addition to the environmental category, employee training, customer satisfaction, accurate promotional materials, safety, community development, land and site conservation are among the criteria.
Ruby Falls has installed new UV water technology to eliminate algae growth in the Lookout Mountain fountain, has added water consumption and sprinkler system monitoring, has installed more efficient LED fixtures and even offers carpooling perks to employees.
Ruby Falls also purchased a hybrid vehicle to use in brochure distribution, as well as becoming one of Chattanooga’s first host sites in the installments of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations. The tourist destination is known across the region for its solar panel installation and LEDs throughout the cave, and is included in the curriculum for the UT Center for Sustainable Business and Tourism. It has also become a case study for the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development’s Sustainable Toolbox.
“Since 1928, when Ruby Falls recycled the limestone excavated from the cave to build the Ruby Falls building, until today as we focus on renewable energy, reductions in emissions, lowering our waste and continuing land conservation, Ruby Falls is committed to another 83 years of offering one of the most unique natural attractions in the world,” said Hugh Morrow, president of Ruby Falls.
Green Globe International and Green Certifications, Inc. have established a co-branding relationship under which they deliver a dual certification to identify compliance with internationally accepted green, sustainability standards to tourism properties and businesses.
Ruby Falls is home to America’s deepest commercial cave and largest underground waterfall open for public viewing. It features a 145-foot waterfall located 1,120 feet beneath the surface of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. Go to www.rubyfalls.com