Town of Snowmass Village wants input on possible energy project
By the numbers
• Town Hall used as much electricity as 8.8 average homes.
• Town snowmelt systems used as much natural gas as approximately 828 water heaters, at a cost of $254,701.
• The town spent $441,528
• Town-owned facilities emitted 2,733.7 pounds of carbon dioxide — the equivalent of 536
Town of Snowmass Village
SNOWMASS VILLAGE — After approving funding for a process to find a cost-effective solution for reducing energy use in municipal buildings, the town of Snowmass Village is looking for input from residents about what goals and parameters should be set for the project.
The Town Council has set a goal to reduce carbon emissions in Snowmass Village by 20 percent by 2020 over a 2009 baseline. To reach that goal, the town wants to start with municipal buildings, and on March 18 the council approved the use of Holy Cross Community Enhancement Fund resources to cover the cost of developing a request for proposals for possible energy solutions.
The Community Office for Resource Efficiency and a selected steering committee are working together to write the request and distribute it to potential contractors. Interested companies will have to propose a project that addresses certain goals and criteria.
Feedback from the community is important in developing the request to make sure that the set of criteria given to potential contractors “aligns with the values of the community,” said Kelly Vaughn, town director of communications.
On April 10, the committee hosted an open house at Town Hall to hear full- and part-time residents’ views. About 20 people showed up, many of them interested in responding to the request.
Some people would like to see the town go farther than just reducing energy use by 20 percent.
“I’d like to see Snowmass Village strive toward net-zero for the town’s energy consumption and production,” said Charlie Eckart, owner and founder of Aspen Thermo. “It is exciting that (the town) is setting an example for all towns or communities to seek and procure energy-efficiency and renewable-energy solutions.”
Some respondents are debating the merits of energy efficiency versus renewable energy sources.
“I am of the school of thought that the most cost-effective approaches to energy-use reduction are through conservation measures versus reduction,” said part-time resident Richard C.R. Williams. Williams is president of Arthaus, a green-building company in California.
“That is a generalization, of course, as there is low-hanging fruit and then eventually more costly options when it comes to implementing energy-efficiency changes,” Williams said. “Eventually, you reach a tipping point where cost and/or practicality favor energy production in addition to efficiency.”
The committee also is looking for what residents don’t want in an environmental project. For example, if people don’t want to see solar panels from the ski slopes, that will be specified upfront, Vaughn said.
“We will still collect feedback throughout the process,” Vaughn said.
The committee will review the request-for-proposals document with the Town Council and expects to distribute it in late June.
Once proposals start coming in, the committee will narrow them down to three finalists, who will be asked to pitch their ideas in a public setting.
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