Green ideas mean investments for Avon
Vail, CO Colorado
AVON, Colorado ” Avon is still grappling with some of the big environmental ideas, the ones that would take major investments but could also have some of the biggest pay-offs.
“These tend to cost more money up front, but in the long term, they will save money,” said Jenny Strehler, director of public works.
For instance: should the town start installing solar power systems on new or existing buildings? They cost a lot of money, and can take 25 to 30 years to pay back. But, it is a renewable source of energy, one that never runs out.
Streets in the new downtown are being designed to include solar-powered lighting, but beyond that, it’s hard to say now how extensively solar energy will be used in Avon in the future. Town planners are studying what sort of solar power, if any, would work best for the town.
The Public Works Department wants to build a “bus barn,” a covered building that would keep vehicles warm, make them more fuel efficient and help them last longer. Right now, buses and other vehicles like snow plows are parked outside overnight and take a long time to heat up in the morning.
One growing trend among town governments is requiring developers to meet certain environmental standards in their buildings. The town will require all commercial development in its downtown renewal to become certified by Leaders in Efficiency and Environmental Design, known as LEED.
Should they expand that to all parts of the town? Mayor Ron Wolfe said green building codes could be the biggest challenge on their long list of options.
And then there’s melting snow. The town council is still divided over how extensive a system they want to install to melt snow on the streets of the new downtown.
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