Green Team plan up for adoption
Steamboat Springs City Council to see results of $10,000 study
Steamboat Springs — Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs are asking questions about the environment.
“Energy,” Gavin Malia said. “It seems like the question of our country’s future.”
Malia is supervisor for the Green Team, which was formed in 2005 to help guide the city as it investigates “green” initiatives it can implement in the future.
On Tuesday, the Green Team’s largest project, the creation of the city’s Sustaina-
bility Management Plan, comes before the Steamboat Springs City Council.
Of the Green Team’s $20,000 operating budget in its first year, approximately half went toward the creation of this nearly 60-page study.
“We are requesting they adopt the mission statement and document by resolution,” Malia said. “These are our recommendations for moving forward.”
The Green Team includes city staff, other county employees and interested members of the public. The group consulted with The Brendle Group of Fort Collins. The Front Range organization, which has conducted similar studies in the Front Range, traveled to Steamboat for a first-hand look at the city’s facilities and detailed what the city is doing to preserve energy and the environment and what improvements the city could make.
“We gave them utility bills, water bills, trash collection (numbers), recycling (numbers),” Malia said. “We gave them spreadsheet after spreadsheet. They came to town, and we held a two-hour workshop with the Green Team. It was open to the public.”
Included in the findings was the city’s purchase of $5,000 worth of renewable energy certificates for wind power to help heat and cool Centennial Hall, as well as the use of recycled materials in the construction of the city building.
As for further initiatives, the Sustainability Management Plan outlines ways to upgrade existing infrastructure such as the popular Howelsen Ice Arena and the transit center.
The design of the community center also came up. Malia said he is excited about the direction planners are taking with the new facility.
“The community center is to be an example to other buildings in town and future buildings, public or private,” he said. “The city is building buildings to be around 50, 75 or 100 years from now. Shouldn’t we be looking at energy rates as we go forward?”
The community center designs include rooflines to help shade the building during the summer but allow natural light in during the winter. The orientation of the building also will allow more natural light to come in.
These things “don’t necessarily cost more money, but you need to do it up front,” Malia said.
Though the Sustainability Management Plan is a city study, county officials are paying attention.
Construction of the new justice center is under way, and Routt County facilities manager Tim Winter said environmentally friendly designs, such as those making use of natural light, are being implemented. The wetlands, which the county is building on, are being replaced, as well.
Winter attended an Amer-
ican Solar Energy conference in Denver and is preparing a presentation for Routt County commissioners.
“As far as being interested in (alternative energy options), and working toward those goals, I think the commissioners are being supportive of it,” Winter said. “We are very interested in looking into things.”
Both Malia and Winter acknowledged the higher cost of renewable energy, particularly up front, but they consider it an investment for the future.
Interest in the Green Team has been overwhelming, Malia said, serving as an indication of the general public’s interest in the environment.
“What we were a little overwhelmed with was not only the city staff response but the public’s response,” he added. “They were expecting the Green Team to lead the charge on a valley level. (We want to) implement these policies as an institution first and then focus on the community.
“We thought we should clean our house before we tell others how to clean theirs.”
– To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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In an effort to make Steamboat Springs Transit buses safer and more accessible, solar-powered lighting in bus shelters and a GPS-triggered automatic voice system that will announce stops in English and Spanish are being implemented.