City joins green program |

City joins green program

Brandon Gee

Steamboat Springs City Planner and Green Team coordinator Bob Keenan sits with the community cell phone and battery recycling containers located at City Hall.

— The city of Steamboat Springs has joined the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Sustainable Business Program, with two public buildings earning certification for green practices.

City Hall earned a silver certification from the program, and Centennial Hall earned bronze.

“City officials, along with the city’s Green Team, have made great strides in adopting and implementing sustainable practices, said Lyn Halliday, president of Environmental Solutions Unlimited, the Chamber’s sustainability consultant.

City Hall bested Centennial Hall, despite that it is a much older building. Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said the city retrofitted the building with more energy efficient lighting and has a recycling program that is “pretty much mandatory.” Other features include a public drop-off for used batteries.

“It’s as well as that older building can perform,” DuBord said of City Hall. “It took a long time for us to get to this point where we were able to obtain it.”

While City Hall’s efficiency might be maxed out, officials will look to make improvements across 10th Street at Centennial Hall, possibly earning it a higher certification in the future.

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“It takes into account energy conservation, employee programs, recycling and waste reduction,” said City Planner Bob Keenan. In Centennial Hall, “we have offset 100 percent of the energy used with wind power.”

But DuBord noted Centennial Hall is a bigger building with a bigger footprint, and there also are challenges posed by the presence of a commercial kitchen in Sharon’s at the City Cafe.

“There’s more room for improvement that we can do with this building,” said Keenan, who also noted the high amount of energy used by Centennial’s computer network facility.

City spokeswoman Lauren Mooney said the city will work toward certifying additional city facilities.

“It’s a pretty tough program,” Mooney said. “These were the first two shots. This will be a long process.”

Businesses in the Chamber program set goals for reducing their energy use, water use and waste. Chamber members pay $50 to $500, depending on their size, to participate in the program. Nonmembers must pay an additional $200. The fees pay for Halliday’s expertise in tailoring a sustainability plan for each business, or, in this case, governmental entity.

Certification levels are green, bronze, silver or gold and are based on sustainability goals. To achieve green certification, for example, companies must reduce their annual landfill waste by 15 percent. To achieve gold, they must cut it by 50 percent. In March, Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall said, the Chamber was developing a platinum level.

More than 47 businesses have joined the Chamber’s green business program since March 2007. For more information on the Sustainable Business Program, visit


Participation in the city’s summer alternative transportation program increased by 12 percent since last year. Known as Tran-Spur-Tation, the program encourages city employees to walk, bike, carpool or take a bus to work or to run errands during the day, or both. The city’s total participation was 12.9 percent. An average of 88 employees used alternative transportation each week of the summer, and over the course of the summer, city employees took 2,870 trips using alternative modes of transportation.