Eco-Build has potential |

Eco-Build has potential

As a 14-year resident of Summit and Eagle counties, homeowner in Eagle, and advocate for the environment, I strongly believe that Eco-Build has enormous potential for improving our high-country communities.

Eco-Build is a local strategy, already proven in other communities, that begins to address what many of us consider to be humanity’s greatest challenge. Buildings account for roughly half of our energy consumption, and contribute half of our total climate change/greenhouse gas emissions – more than industry and far more than our vehicles. Every new building is essentially a new power plant that continuously converts fossil fuels into heat, electricity and pollution.

According to studies underway in Aspen, mountain resort communities consume as much as four times the resources, and contribute four times the greenhouse gas emissions, per capita, than the national average. How can this be? Well, because many of the buildings in our communities are oversized and inefficient to start with, and are continuously heated. Many structures sit unused a good portion of the year. By now, we all have shared the unnatural and eerie phenomena of walking (or skiing) through high-end resort neighborhoods lined with huge homes, and densely built village areas that are well lit, heated and ready for visitor use, but completely void of people. In regard to resource efficiency, we can all do better, and Eco-Build is a tool for getting us there.

As you are aware, other counties in the state (San Miguel, Boulder, Pitkin) have already adopted similar efficient building standards, and several others (including Summit County) are well along in that process. Eco-Build is a leadership opportunity for Eagle County, and compliments the many other proactive efforts underway in our state to make intelligent use of our community resources.

I’m hoping Eagle County Government will have the foresight to adopt this proactive tool, and begin investing in environmentally intelligent and resource efficient design and construction.

John Gitchell

Sustainable Business Solutions, Inc.

Vail, Colorado

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