Reducing carbon emissions in Vail |

Reducing carbon emissions in Vail

Cassie Pence
Vail CO, Colorado

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles highlighting the 2009 Healthy Home Fair and Tour, happening June 20 at Nottingham Park in Avon. The event is a fundraiser for the Eagle Valley Alliance and the Vail Symposium. For more information, visit or

Look out Kermit – the Governor’s Energy Office has made it easy for Coloradans to be green.

Colorado Carbon Fund, or Project C, helps Colorado residents reduce their carbon footprint by following a simple three-step process on the fund’s Web site,

First, they ask us to think about how our daily activities affect the environment. To get a more realistic picture, we plug in our household energy use, how often we fly and how many miles we drive a year into a carbon calculator. The calculator estimates our annual CO2 emissions in metric tons. It also evaluates the amount of money you could give to clean energy and greenhouse gas mitigation projects to offset your carbon footprint.

Second, they ask us to act to reduce our emissions through energy efficiency, renewable energy and simple everyday choices. The Web site lists many ideas that help both the earth and your wallet, like tips on how to make your home more energy efficient. It also spells out how you might be eligible for money back through the Insulate Colorado Program when you do make energy improvements to your home.

You’ve calculated your carbon footprint, you’ve learned about how to reduce it, and now they ask you to offset those unavoidable emissions by donating to the state’s green projects through the Colorado Carbon Fund. For me to offset my annual energy use, the calculator suggested I give $500.

“The Colorado Carbon Fund is unique because it supports new, verifiable greenhouse gas reduction projects that are developed right here in Colorado,” writes Susan Innis, the Colorado Carbon Fund Program Manager. “In this way, consumers can see firsthand the benefits of new clean energy projects in their communities.”

The types of projects that could be supported include:

• Increasing energy efficiency in schools, buildings or transportation

• Generating energy from renewable sources, like biomass or solar water heating.

• Capturing methane from animal waste and using it to generate energy at farms.

“There will also be an effort to direct money for some projects specifically toward communities where support and partnerships with the Colorado Carbon Fund have been strong,” Tom Hartman says, media relations manager for the Governor’s Energy Office.

The Colorado Carbon Fund is just one of the programs and sustainable initiatives people can learn about at the Healthy Home Fair and Tour June 20 at Nottingham Park in Avon. The event showcases ideas, products, services and homes that are shaping the green revolution.

Cassie Pence is a freelance writer based in Vail. She volunteers for the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability and the Healthy Home Fair and Tour.

To help reduce my carbon footprint – and to help increase the amount of renewable energy in our supply mix – I recently signed up for Holy Cross Energy’s Wind Power Pioneers Program.

The local energy company gives consumers the option to purchase wind power at $2.50 per 100 kilowatt block. The process is simple.

1. Call up Holy Cross Energy and tell them you want to enroll in the Wind Power Pioneers Program.

2. They check out your account to give you the average amount of kilowatts you use in energy a month. For me, it was about 1600 kilowatts per month. They take that number and divide it by the 100 kilowatt block of wind energy. In this case, it’s 16, and then they multiply that number by the extra cost of $2.50, which is $40.

3. Then, Holy Cross gives you an estimate of how much extra it would cost to source your electricity from wind power. It will cost me an extra $40 on top of my normal monthly bill. A number I am happy to fit into my budget.

But if that kind of increase does not fit into your monthly expense account, you can buy as much or as little wind power as you want. Maybe you want to source only half your energy use from wind power. That’s Ok, too.

For more information, visit or call 970-945-5491.

What: Healthy Home Fair and Tour

When: Saturday June 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: Nottingham Park in Avon

Cost: Free

Information: Fair showcases the ideas, products and services that are shaping the green revolution. Shuttles from Nottingham Park will take festival-goers to tour two, sustainable homes in Edwards.

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