Steamboat goes for green

Employees working to make city environmentally friendly

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The city's Green Team is looking for ways to help the environment. If your business or organization uses green methods or incentives that work, call Gavin Malia at 871-8261.

— City employees hope to make Steamboat Springs a little greener.

About a dozen city employees recently joined together to form a "Green Team" to investigate environmentally sound ways to conduct business.

The team's goals include reducing energy consumption and waste production as well as researching alternative sources of energy.

Green Team members are excited about their opportunities, said chairman Gavin Malia, a geographic information system specialist with the city.

"It's a great group of people who are really interested in making some changes and seeing some positive changes take place," Malia said.

The team hopes to have a report by the end of the year detailing its short- and long-term goals, Malia said.

One of the first goals likely will be to assess the city's waste, fuel and energy consumption. Last year's information will help the team see what kind of changes need to be made, Malia said.

The city already makes some efforts to help the environment, including purchasing wind energy and providing recycling programs, Malia said. If existing efforts are combined with new ones, he said, the city would help even more and also save money.

One idea is to use green materials and construction methods when the city builds its next facility. If the city could prove that the building was cheaper to build and maintain, perhaps other businesses in town would follow suit, Malia said.

"It would curtail the energy consumption in this part of the state," he said.

The city could even set its building codes to create energy-efficient buildings, he said.

A group of residents, business owners and city officials recently met to discuss green efforts in the city, Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said.

Malia said the Green Team also is working to investigate similar groups and efforts in other communities.

Aspen is a model example, he said, because it has started an initiative to battle global warming, an issue Aspen officials say is particularly important in mountain communities.

The Green Team also is looking for advice from local companies that promote green methods, such as providing bike-to-work employee incentives.

"I would like to know what other businesses and organizations in the city are doing," Malia said. "Hopefully we can brainstorm and work with local businesses and communities."

-- To reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229 or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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