Sustainability summit begins Friday

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If you go

What: Sustainability Summit of Northwest Colorado: A Map to Green Living

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel

Cost: $50 for entire event, additional $10 for green building tour

More information: Call Angela Ashby at 819-4897 or visit www.yvsc.org.>

— Once just wasn't enough for the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

After a 2007 Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association economic summit on sustainability, the newly formed council has decided to launch its own summit, which members hope will continue annually with sustainability as its sole focus. The subject of the Chamber's summit changes each year.

"We decided to perpetuate that because it's an interesting topic," said Angela Ashby, co-chairwoman of the council and a certified "EcoBroker" with Prudential Steamboat Realty.

"The Sustainability Summit of Northwest Colorado: A Map to Green Living" is all day Friday and half a day Saturday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel. It costs $50 to attend the summit and an additional $10 to participate in a green building tour Saturday morning. Tour participants will visit three projects - one commercial site, one residential remodel and one new residential construction site - and learn about their sustainable features from builders, architects and subcontractors.

The speaker lineup includes nearly two dozen local and regional officials and businesspeople who will cover an exhaustive array of topics related to sustainability.

"It's pretty loaded," Ashby said. "It speaks to just about everybody. : It's intense."

Officials said the event also will serve as a good networking opportunity. Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush, one of the contributing local speakers, said people interested in a certain aspect of sustainability may be surprised to find out what's already happening.

"There's so much going on in Steamboat Springs," Mitsch Bush said.

Noreen Moore, business resource director for the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, agreed.

"I'm obviously very excited about this debut, so to speak," Moore said. "It doesn't matter (what your interest is). There's going to be someone there who is already doing something. It kind of gives some shape to what's going on. : Our community can start to become educated about a phenomenal opportunity."

Moore said that regardless of one's politics, sustainable management of finite resources is becoming as much an economic necessity as a feel-good endeavor.

"I'd have to say the biggest thing we need to look at is how much of this new energy economy is an economic driver," she said. "What a wonderful place to get into it where we have traditional energy production."

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