Editorial: Eagle Co.’s cutting-edge airport | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Eagle Co.’s cutting-edge airport

Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Now, there may be a reason aside from tremendous convenience for flying in and out of the Eagle County airport.

The county is looking into converting the whole facility to solar power. That means the “carbon footprint” of the getting-patted-down-by-security part of your trip will be around zero.

Watching the baggage carousel go around and around while your suitcase sits on the tarmac in Pittsburgh ” though infuriating ” would no longer contribute to global warming.

The cost could be about $6 million to $7 million, but that would be spent by the energy company that runs the solar panels. The county would buy the power and even though it would be a bit more expensive, we think that’s a decent use of taxpayer money.

The airport is not the county’s only green plan, so it can’t be accused of spending a lot of money to make a big splash at the airport.

Officials are also planning to solar-power the county building in Eagle and use geothermal heating for the expansion of the county jail and courts. The county already owns a fleet of Prius hybrids.

Reducing the energy use at the airport clearly benefits a resort community that depends on its clear blue skies and winter snow. It also makes a powerful statement to arriving visitors that we are trying to take care of our corner of the planet.

And it isn’t a bad marketing angle, either ” as long as the brochures are printed on recycled paper.

Eagle County’s green airport could be an example for tourists from all over the world. Maybe a few of them will even go back home and demand that their elected officials convert their airports and other major facilities to solar, wind or geothermal power.

That’s also a benefit to the county, because our climate will only remain ideal for skiing if people elsewhere in the world take care of the environment, too.

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