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Aspen City Council to consider

Aspen Times Staff Report

The Aspen City Council today will consider a list of new and expanded projects to be funded from the city’s Renewable Energy Mitigation Program, known as the REMP.

High on the list are a number of energy efficiency improvements proposed for the planned Iselin Park Rec Center and the expansion of Aspen High School, and a wind turbine or wind generator to provide “green” power for those buildings.

The projects are being proposed by CORE, Aspen’s Community Office for Resource Efficiency, which has raised more than $500,000 since it began last December.

“It looks like we’ll be able to put a good-sized chunk of that money into those two buildings to make them better than they would otherwise be,” said Randy Udall, CORE executive director.

CORE will look at projections for energy use by the two new buildings to see if the purchase of a wind turbine is warranted. A wind generator would be located at an existing wind farm elsewhere in the state and would cost about $750,000, Udall said.

Aspen’s electric utility already buys all the electricity generated by one wind turbine. Among 2,000 communities in the state, Aspen is ranked second, percentage-wise, for use of energy generated by wind power.

Aspen’s City Council has said it would like to see local use of wind-generated electricity increase, Udall said. Aspen now uses about 50 to 55 percent renewable energy, including wind and hydroelectric power, and council members have said they’d like to get to 75 percent renewable.

“I’d like to get there within five to ten years,” Udall said. “Realistically, it’ll take at least five years.”

Improvements requested for the rec center, with its ice rink and pool, include more and better boilers for the heating system and higher-quality pumps and variable-speed motors for the ice-making system. This equipment would not only save energy, it would result in better ice, Udall said.

“The goal is to have the best ice in Colorado,” he said.

Also being considered is the installation of natural gas-powered microturbines to produce electricity on site. The waste heat from combustion would be used to heat the pool area.

The environmental gains from such systems would be considerable, Udall said. With these improvements to the rec center, the release of more than a half-million pounds of carbon dioxide could be avoided annually, and perhaps as much as one million pounds. The annual savings in gas and electric utility costs could reach $30,000.

Innovative ways to heat, cool, ventilate and light the planned addition to the high school are also on the wish list.

REMP funds come from fees assessed on construction in the city and county. People building new houses can pay REMP fees in lieu of installing renewable energy systems. If developers of new houses want to build energy-using amenities such as hot tubs, heated pools or snow-melt driveways, they may mitigate the energy loss either by installing renewable-energy-producing devices on site or by paying cash to the city and county.


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