Carbondale could be a green model |

Carbondale could be a green model

John Stroud
Carbondale, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colorado – The town of Carbondale could become a “green” model for other communities around the country to follow, through a new federal grant program.

The intergovernmental Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) applied this week for a $300,000 EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grant on behalf of the town.

The grant would help further some of the town’s already extensive efforts to cut down on its carbon footprint through the Carbondale Energy and Climate Protection Plan.

“Carbondale is well-positioned for this program due to a wide variety of policies, projects and actions already in place,” Alice Laird, executive director of CLEER, wrote in a memo to the Carbondale Board of Trustees explaining the grant program.

“If selected, it would add a valuable and inspiring rural model to the EPA’s portfolio of examples,” she said.

The goal of the program is to create models of community programs, projects and other approaches that produce measurable reductions in emissions that can be replicated in other communities.

“The Showcase Communities program is looking for communities around the country to learn from and implement,” Laird wrote in her memo.

Grant applications require a 50 percent local match, for which Laird said she would seek out private contributors. The town also included as an in-kind contribution its current energy efficiency audit of the wastewater treatment plant.

Carbondale’s energy plan includes an energy efficient building code for new residential construction, and also contains a variety of measures such as public education and outreach programs that have been developed.

The town has also installed solar photovoltaic systems on numerous public facilities, including the recreation center, the new Third Street Center for nonprofits and the picnic shelter in Sopris Park, powering public events such as this weekend’s Mountain Fair.

The town was also a partner in the solar farm project on the nearby Colorado Rocky Mountain School campus, and is exploring the possibility of building a micro-hydro electric plant on Nettle Creek.

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