Local environmental Green Star program recognized by state
Patsy Batchelder says making your home environmentally friendly isn’t very hard at all – you can recycle (just about anything), buy some wind power and not drive as often, among other things.
Batchelder’s home in Vail’s Potato Patch neighborhood has been certified by a local conservation group as one of the most environmentally friendly homes in the valley. And those certifications, called the “Green Star” program, have now been recognized by the state health department.
“I think it’s something any household can achieve easily,” Batchelder says. “I would definitely like to encourage others to do it.”
The “Green Star” program is spearheaded by the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, which has been awarded an Environmental Achievement Award by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Environmental Leadership Program. The organization received the award at a ceremony Oct. 7 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
“Every year, I look forward to learning about these exciting and innovative projects undertaken by businesses and organizations throughout Colorado,” siad Douglas Benevento, executive director of the Health Department. “It is a privilege to recognize them for their commitment to business practices that improve air and water quality, reduce energy use and waste streams, and provide benefit for dozens of communities.”
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The local Green Star program is a points-based program that encourages Eagle County homeowner to reduce wasteand improve energy efficiency at home on a points basis, says Adam Palmer, of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.
Enrollees must meet 12 of 17 requirements and they receive technical assistance, an energy audit, a video tape of a walkthrough with an infra-red camera that pinpoints heat loss areas in the home, a certificate and decals for a $50 enrollment fee. The goal of the program is for homeowners to become more aware of the how their homes and lifestyles affect the environment – and also save money, Palmer says.
“In the households we’ve certified so far, we’ve found some unexpected sources of energy loss,” Palmer says. “It provides a foundation on which to guide future conservation actions, rather than wasting time and money on something that may not provide a significant return.”
Matt Scherr, who owns a home in Minturn, says he joined the program because he was frequently angered by the lax environmental policies of governments and large businesses.
“I first have to commit myself to things I’m wanting from others,” says Scherr, whose home is going through the certification process.
The Green Star program runs the gamut from installing better insulation and windows to re-using plastic bags.
“We’re avid Ziploc bag washers,” Scherr says. “We also re-use plastic water bottles. I bought a case and have been using the bottles for the last year.”
Scherr says he is installing additional insulation in his attic and putting in double-paned windows. He also closes off rooms he dosen’t use very often and only turn on heat in those rooms when-he is going to use them.
One of the Green Star program requirements is that the home get part of its energy needs from renewable sources. Residents can take part in the Wind Power Pioneers program available from Holy Cross Energy to meet the requirement, Palmer says.-
“For as little as $2.50 per month, you can get part of your energy from the wind and keep thousands of pounds of pollution out of the air each year,”- says Palmer.-
Eagle resident John Gitchell, who is a member of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability’s board, is also getting his home Green Star certified.
“The practical piece of it is we’er going to improve our energy efficiency this year,” Gitchell says. “But this is kind of a lifestyle audit in a way.”
The Green Star program also measures how much a family drives and flies, what conservations call an “ecological footprint.”
“Both my and I work and live in the same town, so we got some points for points for that,” Gitchell says. –
Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AT A GLANCE
For the complete Green Star Residential standards and more info, go http://www.eaglevalleyalliance.org or contact the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability at 479-2440.