Hot, hot hearth | AspenTimes.com

Hot, hot hearth

Dear Editor:

Sarah Gilman’s recent story in the Aspen Daily News raises more questions than it answers:

A quick Google search turned up data that the average three-person house creates five tons of CO2 per year ” half of what CORE is quoted as saying the Mall Hearth creates. Try heating a whole house for a year with a single gas fireplace! Is the case being vastly overstated by CORE?

Maybe CORE’s time would be better spent telling us how many more tons of CO2 the police/sheriff’s SUVs burn compared to far more efficient alternative vehicles. And what about the hypocrisy of worrying ourselves to death about the mall hearth while simultaneously pretending our high profile government SUVs are not a much bigger problem.

Next bigger problem: Maybe CORE can also tell us the number of total tons of CO2 devoted to hauling thousands of truckloads of snow and then adding to that total by using non-renewable fuels to return it to the liquid state. How many thousands of mall hearths would it take to just deal with the snow issue? Are we maybe getting things a little out of perspective? Where’s the “feel good” story here?

Final bigger problem: Why are we so hell-bent on putting carbon footprint issues ahead of health issues, i.e., the danger to our respiratory systems posed by Aspen’s wood burning fireplaces and vehicle emissions. Inefficient use of energy is stupid but at least it isn’t killing people.

Regarding the “new” CORE sponsored contest: They already held one mall hearth contest about six months ago. My wife Linda and I submitted an entry to that contest. No results were announced and no acknowledgment of our entry was made, even after repeated requests.

I hope I’m wrong, but all of this raises serious questions regarding CORE’s credibility.

By the way, our contest idea was to leverage the high visibility mall hearth as a propaganda tool to focus attention on the health dangers of wood-burning fireplaces. We proposed that the city pay wood-burning fireplace owners to convert to cleaner burning gas. We felt that health vastly trumps “feel good” solutions like LED “fire,” etc. The $20,000 budgeted to CORE for the contest could be used to decommission 20 wood-burning fireplaces alone, with the attendant immediate health benefits. And in the same stroke, we could change the name from mall hearth to mall health.

Bill Lipsey and Linda Girvin

Aspen


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