Steamboat Springs goes green

Council allocates $20,000 to group that focuses on conservation, recycling

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The city of Steamboat Springs is taking steps to become more environmentally friendly.

The City Council recently allocated $20,000 to the city's Green Team, which formed this fall. The team's goals include promoting renewable energy and energy conservation, recycling and reducing waste products, applying environmental practices to building design and facilitating community education and resource sharing.

The Green Team, which consists of about a dozen city employees who volunteer their time, will use the $20,000 to fund the following projects:

n $10,000 to hire an energy consulting firm to create and guide the implementation of a sustainability action plan for the city. The plan will identify specific green practices and provide a cost-benefit analysis of carrying them out, said Gavin Malia, the Green Team's chairman.

n $5,000 to purchase renewable energy to offset the electricity consumption of Centennial Hall. Team members have been talking to John Fetcher of the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District about the possibility of purchasing hydropower from the Stagecoach Dam & Reservoir.

n $5,000 for a variety of actions, including hosting seminars, creating a Web site and giving an annual award to recognize people or businesses that put effort into sustainable practices.

The team plans to start several subcommittees to address specific "green" issues.

Organizations that have shown interest in the team include the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley, Yampa Valley Construction Trades Association and Yampa Valley Recycles.

Richard Levy of the community alliance spoke at the council's recent meeting. He said he attended the Green Team meetings and that he was excited about the "synergy" that the city and other groups could create by working together.

Steamboat architect Robert Hawkins also spoke in support of the Green Team and asked the council to grant the team's request for funding.

With efficient building design, the city could meet today's needs while improving quality of life for the future, Hawkins said.

"This is one of the greatest things that has happened in our history."

--o reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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