Basalt ‘Green Team’ making a mark | AspenTimes.com

Basalt ‘Green Team’ making a mark

BASALT ” A group of residents aims to make sure Basalt looks more “green” in the new year.

The group with a core of 10 people was formed this year and is pressing for several civic projects to make a more environmentally-friendly town. It’s dubbed itself the Green Team.

“We definitely wanted to see what we could do with the town of Basalt and we decided the town government was the best place to start,” said Gerry Terwilliger, a founding member.

One of the first big initiatives was to hire Dan Richardson of the engineering firm of Schmueser, Gordon and Meyer to perform an energy audit of three key town government buildings ” Town Hall, the police station and the public works shop. Richardson is the former director of the city of Aspen’s Canary Initiative, a program that examined Aspen’s carbon emissions and plotted a way to reduce them.

Richardson’s exam of Basalt facilities looked at everything from light bulbs to water usage and heating systems. He recommended about $60,000 in improvements. The Town Council has budgeted $20,000 over each of the next three years to implement the improvements, according to Town Manager and Green Team member Bill Efting.

The Green Team is taking the initiative to find funding for a couple of other projects. It received an $8,000 grant from the Aspen Skiing Co. employee Environment Foundation to install a solar hot water system large enough to provide half the heat needed for the Basalt municipal pool. It also is seeking a grant from Eagle County to purchase 10 bear-proof recycling bins that would be spread around the town. The latter project was championed after Green Team members saw a need for receptacles at popular areas around town.

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“One thing nice about this Green Team is we’ve got a lot more eyes and ears watching what’s going on,” said Terwilliger. “We have no shortage of ideas.”

Efting agreed. “We’ve got people that are doers. It’s not just [people] sitting around in an office telling town staff you do this and you do this,” he said.

Basalt residents are welcome to join the Green Team. It meets on the third Tuesday of the month at noon in Basalt Town Hall. The group also hopes to enlist community help in nominating green businesses or individuals of the month. The Green Team tries to give recognition each month for environmental accomplishments, in hopes that it will inspire others to follow the model. Nominations can be sent to Bill Efting at bille@basalt.net or to Gerry Terwilliger at grterwilliger@sopris.net.

scondon@aspentimes.com