Green team grows

Staff reviews goals, community service

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— The popularity of the city of Steamboat Springs' Green Team has grown to the point that city staff has asked the City Council for direction about how to handle all of the inquiries.

The Green Team began as an effort by city staff volunteers to promote environmentally friendly practices in day-to-day city operations. About a dozen city staff members have regularly participated in Green Team meetings.

Gavin Malia, the team's chairman, also put out a call to the community to participate and share ideas. Groups including Yampa Valley Recycles and the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley have taken an interest in the Green Team.

Malia told City Council members this week that he didn't know whether the team should focus only on the city or whether the city staff members -- who work for the Green Team on a voluntary basis -- also should meet requests for projects outside of city limits.

Community members have been calling and expressing interest in various programs and projects from across the county, said Suzanne Bott, city planner and member of the Green Team.

"Steamboat is becoming more sophisticated, and people want to see those kinds of programs here," Bott said.

The council asked Interim City Manager Wendy DuBord to figure out what would be best for her staff. The council suggested that the city staff members should focus only on city efforts and that an organization such as the Community Alliance of the Yampa Valley could focus on other requests.

Either way, Bott is pleased to see the interest in the team.

"I am delighted and thrilled and motivated to see how we can harness all of this interest into some real tangible steps that people can incorporate into their daily lives," she said.

Council members also congratulated the Green Team for its accomplishments and said it was a positive sign that the team was spurring community interest. The team, which has been in place since fall, already has accomplished half of the goals the City Council approved for it. The others are in progress.

Goals that have been accomplished include:

Approved a request for proposal language for city projects that gives preference to firms that have sustainable design experience.

Directed staff members to implement sustainable design criteria for the construction or remodel of public buildings.

Directed staff to host education seminars about "green" topics for contractors, firms and the public.

Directed staff to create a Green Team logo and offer team information on the city's Web site, www.steamboatsprings.net.

Directed staff to pursue education or attend seminars about green topics.

Continue to support the efforts of Yampa Valley Recycles.

Directed staff to research and implement the reuse of existing materials and the use of recycled materials in city operations.

Added a discussion about alternative fuel options for city transit and fleet vehicles to a City Council agenda.

Goals that are in progress include:

Hire a consulting firm to work with the team to create and implement a sustainability management plan. The city has put out a request for proposals, which closed this week. Two firms turned in proposals.

Purchase shares of renewable wind energy to offset electricity needs for Centennial Hall.

Direct staff to pursue grant money that could be used to help the Green Team meet its goals.

Direct staff and propose new building code language that provides incentives for sustainable building design.

Direct staff to propose new language that allows for sustainable design or voluntary use of a national green building rating system to be cited as a public benefit for the planning process.

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