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Aspen hits carbon-reduction goal



By Allen Best

ASPEN, Colo. – Aspen’s Canary Initiative is moving right along. Last year the town conducted an audit, inventorying all of its activities that caused emissions of greenhouse gases. In October, it held a well-regarded conference that is already prompting action from other ski towns.

But to lead, Aspen figured it must walk its talk — and first within the municipal operations. The declared goal was to reduce emissions 1 per cent below the baseline, and in the first year it succeeded and then some — a 10.5 per cent reduction.

Most of that reduction was attributed to Aspen Electric, the city-owned electrical supplier, which made wind another 16 per cent of its portfolio.

City departments also reduced their greenhouse gas emissions. Cops reported 20,600 fewer air miles. The recreation staff bought a scooter for around-town errands. The parks department installed timers on microwaves, printers, and other equipment to shut off all power between 6:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. Vending machines were similarly outfitted with devices to shut off the lights so that the candy display, for example, isn’t lit all night.

One particularly dedicated employee even takes a Greyhound bus when going to conferences in Denver, thereby eliminating use of a car.

For meeting the carbon-reduction goal, all 262 employees are getting $100 bonuses. Those within the 13 departments that individually reduced their carbon emission get another $100.

The primary focus of the program, explained Richardson, is to build efficiency into the institutional culture, so that every single project must be viewed through the lens of long-term efficiency.


Telluride protects bed base

TELLURIDE, Colo. – The ski area operator at Telluride has started a property management business. The purpose is not to take business away from existing property managers, said an executive with Telluride Ski & Golf. Instead, the company wants to staunch the erosion of the bed base by working directly with the new owners of hotel rooms that are being condominiumized, persuading them to retain the condos in a rental pool.

“We’re really just trying to get some more active bed base,” said Ken Stone, vice president for sales and marketing.

Rooms at the Peaks Hotel, Hotel Telluride, and the Ice House are being condominiumized. The Telluride area has only about 400 hotel rooms.

Stone calculated that the loss of one room from the rental pool can, based on previous winter occupancy of 68 per cent, cause a loss of $107,000 to local businesses.