Environmental Advisory Board recommends deliberate, critical action to reduce carbon emissions | AspenTimes.com

Environmental Advisory Board recommends deliberate, critical action to reduce carbon emissions

“Creativity, collaboration and innovation” will bolster Snowmass sustainability efforts

A drone image of solar panels in place at Town Hall in Snowmass Village. The use of solar energy is part of a large-scale effort to reduce the town’s carbon emissions.
Travis Elliott, Town of Snowmass Village/Courtesy Photo

When it comes to sustainability, the town of Snowmass Village is (mostly) on track to meet the goals it set in 2009, according to a Sustainability and Resiliency Plan Update presented by the Environmental Advisory Board at a Dec. 14 Town Council meeting.

Across 10 sectors of town life and environmental conservation — covering everything from affordable housing to wildlife habitat — 57 individual goals are on track, 29 need some attention, and six are currently unaddressed or missed, the report indicates. An update in early 2021 will evaluate whether the town has officially reached its “20 by 20” goal to reduce carbon emissions by 20% from a 2009 baseline by the end of 2020.

The board recommended deliberate, critical action to reduce carbon emissions and emphasized a need to evolve the town’s sustainability efforts to continue pursuing “aggressive” emissions reduction goals, board chair Andrew Wickes told council.

“These reductions are definitely going to take a substantial amount of creativity, collaboration and innovation,” Wickes said. “There’s just a lot of spokes on this wheel.”

That collaboration could involve teamwork with a number of local agencies and officials to bolster the town’s sustainability efforts, from energy providers such as Holy Cross Energy to coalitions like the Colorado Communities for Climate Action (CC4CA) organization.

Holy Cross, which provides power to a number of Roaring Fork Valley communities, announced earlier this week a plan to use 100% renewable energy sources by 2030, with support from the state of Colorado. That statewide commitment will certainly help the town achieve the board-recommended, “aggressive” goal to reduce carbon emissions by 50% from the town’s 2009 baseline within the next 10 years; the board also recommends an 80% reduction by 2050.

Earlier this year, Snowmass Village also completed a four-building solar panel project to provide more renewable energy to the town.

But electricity isn’t the whole ball game when it comes to reducing emissions, Wickes said. Buildings are responsible for nearly three quarters of the town’s emissions; electricity is responsible 55% of those building emissions, but the other 45% comes from natural gas.

“Not as much (is) happening in natural gas, but doesn’t mean that the opportunities aren’t there,” Wickes said.

Other emissions-reductions efforts include an emphasis on alternate modes of transportation and collaboration with board-recommended community coalitions like Colorado Communities for Climate Action.

Town Council plans to take the next step by entering that coalition; a resolution to join is on the draft agenda for a Jan. 19 regular meeting.

Council members embraced the board’s recommendations Monday night and brought their suggestions to improve sustainability efforts, mostly related to waste management programs like recycling, composting and hazardous waste disposal. Town officials will continue to collaborate with the board and support their work in the coming months and years.

“I think that you and the E.A.B. team really needs to be congratulated,” Councilman Bob Sirkus said. “What you guys have put together is a serious piece of work that the council would never have an opportunity really to deal with without a board like E.A.B.”



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