Sustainability group has local roots

Council sprouted from Green Team to expand leadership


2009 board of directors

Mark Andersen, vice-chair

Angela Ashby, chair

Jeremy D. Behling, treasurer

Kyleigh DeMicco

Sarah Fox, secretary

Greg Gunn

Kim Hornsby

Andrea Jehn Kennedy

Liz Wahl

— The Yampa Valley Sustainability Council evolved out of a citizen committee known as the Green Team, established by the city of Steamboat Springs in 2005.

The Green Team was comprised of city employees and citizens with a passion to learn more about sustainable and green topics, but the focus was limited to how these principles applied to Steamboat's public buildings. As interest in sustainability grew, the limited focus of the citizen committee could not meet demands for environmental leadership the community sought. Thus, the Green Team returned to its roots of developing sustainable practices specifically geared toward city government offices and operations. The citizen aspect of the group went on to form the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

The mission of the YVSC is to provide leadership to advance environmental, economic, and social sustainability for current and future generations through education, programs and building collaboration among individuals, organizations, businesses and government.

Since its inception, membership already has grown to about 300. Topics include green building, clean renewable energy, energy efficiency, multi-modal transportation, zero waste, land use, collaboration and room to grow as the organization and needs grow within the community. Until YVSC receives its 501(c)(3) designation, it operates under the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

In the past year, YVSC has launched three programs from the Governor's Energy Office: ENERGY STAR for New Homes, Insulate Colorado and the Colorado Carbon Fund. ENERGY STAR for New Homes is a joint program with the city of Steamboat Springs and Mountain Energy Consultants and is geared toward educating builders, Realtors, appraisers, architects, trades, developers and public. Insulate Colorado is a homeowner rebate program that encourages energy efficiency via improved insulation in existing homes. The Colorado Carbon Fund is a statewide program established to offset greenhouse gas emissions by funding clean renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Colorado. Twenty percent of carbon fund monies received from this area will be reinvested in smaller-scale, local projects.

In addition to public monthly meetings where members discuss new projects, events and opportunities, YVSC is focused on collaboration. Last year, a "collaborative roundtable" meeting brought more than 30 groups together to encourage discussion, projects and funding opportunities to help increase the education and awareness among the various groups focused on sustainability initiatives. A similar meeting was held in fall 2008 to discuss possible funding mechanisms for the community.

YVSC again will host the widely popular Sustainability Summit on Sept. 25 and 26. The focus is on the new energy economy, solutions and ideas for our region. Previous events have proven the need by welcoming nearly 200 participants to the plethora of presenters, booths and workshops that this event offers. Coupled with a green building tour, the summit brings local enthusiasts and local businesses together with experts in their fields.

Future plans of YVSC include collaboration with local entities on topics such as our local trail system, zero-waste efforts, resource usage, energy savings, raising funds for solar rebate programs, joint fundraising efforts, student programs, identifying funding opportunities, education and outreach. Stay tuned for the new Web site


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