A Radium Hot Springs couple has been taking significant steps to make the motel they own as environmentally friendly as possible.

Silvia and Bjorn Fahrion have been running the Crescent Motel in Radium for six years and this past July they installed 39 solar panels on their building. They then followed that up by putting in an electric car charging station this month.

The solar panels and car charger we put in because we wanted to do something for future generations, Mrs. Fahrion told The Pioneer. We have always tried to do things as ‘green’ as possible. For instance, by making sure we use only natural cleaning products, and by putting only organic, biodegradable shampoos in the rooms. This seems a logical next step for us to take.

The solar panels were put in by Virtuoso Electrical Ltd. (the same company also did the wiring for the car charger) and the Fahrions have been impressed with the panels so far.

They seem to be producing quite a lot of power. Even though we have been pretty much full at the motel (since the solar panels were installed), we have been producing more power than we need, said Mrs. Fahrion, adding they wouldn’t know for certain until the end of the year, but she estimates that the solar panels will provide as much as a third of the motel’s year-round energy needs.

We estimate we will recoup our costs on the panels in 10 years, she said, adding the couple decided to put in the electric car charger because there wasn’t another one that they were aware of in Radium.

There is nothing for charging electric cars in Radium. People who have electric cars aren’t bringing them here. We thought, ‘Somebody has to start’, she said.

The limited range of fully electric cars (most can only go 80 kilometres to 130 kilometres without a charge-up) is a problem in trying to attract them to the valley, said Mrs. Fahrion.

There’s one in Banff, but to make it through the park from Banff to Radium, you can’t really do that. There needs to be a car charger in the park, she said, adding that fully electric cars with longer ranges (which will soon be on the market) as well as hybrids, could overcome this problem.

Mrs. Fahrion said she’s seen a few electric cars in the valley, but none have yet stopped by the motel’s charging station for a zap up.

We are still waiting for our first customer, she said, but added that she and Bjorn could soon be making use of their own charging station, since they are considering buying an electric car.

We will look at them in the fall, when we’re not as busy. We want to look and see if there is something that could work for us, she said.

To learn more, find then on Facebook at Crescent Motel or call 250-347-9570.