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Idea Fair

Sustainable Practices

How has this idea enhanced your club's operation, etc.?

At VGCC, we have established an inspired lifestyle benefiting both people and planet.

The Green Movement. Sustainability. Resiliency. Regardless of the term, all businesses are being impacted by this societal shift, and our clubs are no exception. In its simplest form, environmental sustainability is about balancing member needs and wants, budgets, and the impact on the environment. Take all three factors into consideration when making decisions, and you may be surprised at how much of an impact you can make. We certainly were.

Running a club is complex, and we are forever constrained by operating budgets and conflicting priorities for membership programming. Clubs face strategic, operational, and political challenges every day. With so many competing demands, it's easy to believe there's not enough time to institute environmental business practices, or that the necessary funds are best budgeted elsewhere. But it is possible, and The Venice Golf and County Club is proof.

Starting Small
The Venice Golf and Country Club is a small, private, member-owned club recognized as a leader of sustainable environmental business practices and praised for our environmentally sustainable, green initiatives. But it didn't happen overnight.

The cumulative impact of many small, medium, and some large decisions has been tremendous for VGCC. We have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars while helping the environment at the same time. The key is to slow down the consumption of resources and make incremental improvements, even one percent at a time.

Sustainable Practices, Reduced Expenses
It isn't always about the environment or climate change. Many of our members are very passionate about these issues, while others are not. How do we satisfy both groups? It really is quite simple. Sustainable practices save money. Lots of money. And that's a benefit everyone appreciates.

Since 2006, we have reduced our Club's electric expenses by more than $400,000 with numerous small improvements. The capital expenditures required for these savings were minimal. Most improved technologies and efficiencies occurred when an older asset was replaced, since much of today's technology delivers superior results with less power or fuel.

In addition to reducing expenses, sustainable practices elevate the membership experience. Our members can take in all that nature has to offer while relaxing on their lanai or enjoying a game of golf. An errant shot is often a great opportunity to see nature up close and personal (your bad shot was a good shot!). Who wouldn't love to see an eagle flying overhead, or an osprey dive-bombing the water for dinner? During nesting season, members delight in watching baby osprey on our website via our embedded nest camera.

How was this idea implemented, and what have been the club members' reactions?

Our sustainability initiatives have been implemented gradually over time. Members and prospective members like are impressed by our commitment to the environment, and appreciate the beauty and nature that surrounds them here on our grounds.

About the author

Kelly Grabowsky

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