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TELLURIDE, Colo. – Glenwood Springs-based Alpine Banks has banks in many of Colorado’s ski towns, including Snowmass Village. Several years ago, banking chain vice president Dave Scruby visited the Snowmass bank to meet with employees. Asking if there were any questions, one of the employees asked, “Why aren’t we more environmentally minded?”
And so, according to a story in ColoradoBiz Magazine published in March, began some soul-searching, some fumbling, but ultimately some significant changes in how Alpine Banks is doing business. That process has now led to the expected certification of its bank in Telluride under the LEED program.
LEED stands for Leadership in Environment and Energy Design.
The bank building earned points for its location in downtown Telluride, where it is easily accessible to both pedestrians and public transportation. It also has a lighting system that is projected to save 35 per cent of electrical power without compromising lighting quality. All appliances are Energy Star rated, and boilers are 90 per cent-plus efficient.
As well, paints and carpets with low volatile organic compounds have been used, minimizing the formaldehyde and other chemicals that can create “sick” buildings.
Alpine Bank also has LEED-certified buildings planned at Ridgway, which has become something of a Telluride suburb, and in Rifle, one of Aspen’s suburbs.
Aspen buys housing stock
BASALT, Colo.—The Aspen Skiing Co. has purchased a 62-unit apartment complex in the El Jebel area, 20 miles downvalley from Aspen. The company plans to use the apartments as affordable housing for year-round employees. Rents for the two-bedroom apartments currently go for about $1,300. The company has also purchased vacant lots in nearby Basalt and a low-end tourist complex in Carbondale.
Green council ups ante
WASHINGTON D.C. – Before, it was possible for a building to be LEED-certified, but with no direct upgrades to reduce energy use. That is no longer the case.
The U.S. Green Building Council now requires projects to achieve at least two energy points. The new requirement will improve the energy performance of all LEED-certified buildings by 14 per cent for new construction and 7 per cent for existing buildings.
Driving the change is growing concern about greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. Emissions of carbon dioxide have increased 18 per cent since 1990, due to increased energy use.
The new LEED standards also require a 50 per cent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions for commercial projects. This figure includes how people commute to the building and how the building materials were transported.