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Green Racetrack Coming Up a Winner via Viridian

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RFP Spotlight June 2011
You wouldn’t usually think of an auto­racing track as a particularly “green” area, but the exception to that rule is Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT.

The 1.5­mile track is actually set in a park, with fans sitting on various hillsides watching the action under a canopy of trees.

“My brother Michael and I approached the Park and signed them up as an Associate,” said Viridian Associate Jeff Fitting. But officials at the track, which is owned by racing legend Skip Barber and is known as a longtime ‘green’ facility, had a better thought.

“Their idea was that the money they’d earn back by signing on new members and Associates on their own would help green the track even more,” Fitting said “They wanted to add more trees to make more shaded areas. The whole concept initially was to work together: a green company and a green track.”

The concept of sustainability is perfectly aligned with the goals and mission of the Park, according to Renea Topp, the organization’s director of marketing. “Lime Rock Park is not your typical racetrack with grandstands,” she said. “It’s literally very ‘green,’ set in Connecticut’s hill country, and people enjoy coming here, as it’s a great drive up. We pride ourselves on keeping it beautiful.” To that end, Topp saw an opportunity to keep the park’s green efforts moving forward, paid in part by utilizing Viridian’s fundraising opportunity.

“We have a total of 15 electric meters here,” Topp said. “We’ve already noticed our own huge savings at the track.” The monthly income the Park earns from signing up new customers is applied toward their ongoing greening work.

Topp added that the Fitting brothers have prompted track officials to put in even more effort toward its goals. “For example, we invite the local Boy Scout Troop to come in and recycle after an event,” she said. “After our Memorial Day weekend races, they picked up 27,000 bottles and cans.” Up next, the Park plans on adding solar energy to its buildings. “We’ve always been a green facility,” Topp said. “We’re just taking it to the next step.”

While the program has yet to be fully realized, great progress is being made toward the end vision. Jeff and Michael Fitting, along with Viridian Associates Jenna Marzullo, Terrie Walker, Michael and Patti Sinclair, and Kat Wynne­Brown, set up a booth at the track’s midway over Memorial Day, and interest was high. “Those prospects we spoke to were extremely enthusiastic,” Jeff said. “They all seemed very interested, as we discovered a lot of people are into the whole green idea.” The day was so successful that the group signed up about a dozen new customers.

The group hopes to return to Lime Rock Park for the next series of races, on July 8 & 9. That series is the American Le Mans North American Grand Prix, which is a green series. Topp explained that in the event, the racers “go the hardest they can while leaving the least amount of carbon footprint, by using ethanol fuel and other green measures during the race,” she said.

Viridian’s influence is also being felt on a more personal level. “Jeff and Mike urged us to get more involved,” Topp said. “So our employees have signed up, and we’re now encouraging fans to bring their bills to our events so they, too, can sign up on the spot.”

And Topp is already looking down the road. “We want more trees,” she said. “Some of our older trees have been around for 50 years, are near the end of their life and need replacing.” So the track’s first goal is to raise money to plant trees. “We’re talking now with local arborists,” Topp said. “We plan to start planting next year.” It would appear that with Viridian’s help, the greening of Lime Rock Park will continue for years to come.