Pitkin County likes Energy Action Plan | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County likes Energy Action Plan

John Colson
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Not to be left behind in the environmental-action policy rush, Pitkin County is crafting its own Energy Action Plan, or EAP.

Currently in draft form, the plan was unveiled by energy program manager Dylan Hoffman on Tuesday during the county commissioners’ work session.

With this plan, the county joins a growing list of regional governments that are making energy efficiency, global warming and climate change a formal, documented part of their thinking and policymaking.

Hoffman, who began working for the county in early March, has drafted a 16-page document that is meant to “promote a sustainable future in Pitkin County by improving energy efficiency and reducing resource consumption,” according the Energy Management Department’s mission statement.

The EAP is funded through a $100,000 Renewable Energy Mitigation Program grant from the Community Office of Resource Efficiency, Hoffman said. The CORE grant pays Hoffman’s salary and department costs, and will pay for any initial projects that arise as a result of Hoffman’s work.

Hoffman noted that governments across Colorado ” from the state level to municipalities like Aspen ” have been working to increase energy efficiency in their facilities as well as among the general public.

“We’re not behind,” Hoffman said of Pitkin County’s program, “but we’re not leading this effort.”

Pitkin County’s plan identifies seven categories of goals: transportation, buildings, waste reduction, water use, renewables, education and energy policy.

In the transportation section, for example, the plan calls for a reduction of the “employee vehicle miles traveled in fleet vehicles,” through incentives for employees to use “pedestrian, bicycle, transit and carpool options.”

Other transportation goals include establishing “minimum fuel efficiency standards” for the county’s fleet of vehicles, as well as the development of rideshare opportunities for employees and the creation of thumbing stations to encourage hitchhiking as an alternative to the personal car. Hoffman noted that in San Francisco, a program urging drivers to pick up hitchhikers advises that hitchhikers not speak unless spoken to, which is intended to reassure drivers they will be spared the nuisance of listening to a chatterbox in the passenger seat.

The building section calls for improvements in the energy efficiency of county properties and projects. It also suggests the removal of “obstacles” that might get in the way of energy efficient construction in the private sector, such as regulations that prohibit the use of wind turbines to generate electricity for private users or the installation of solar collection devices on roofs.

As for the section titled energy policy, the EAP has a variety of suggestions, including the setting of a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with government buildings, and the promotion of sustainable funding for resource conservation programs within the county.

Compared to the city of Aspen’s Canary Initiative, the county’s EAP is more internally directed and less oriented toward the “broader picture,” Hoffman said.

The commissioners, minus Jack Hatfield, who was absent, endorsed the EAP. They urged Hoffman to make a few changes and bring it back as a proposed resolution for adoption at a future meeting.


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