Town of Vail earns ’climate leader’ certification
The town of Vail has been recognized as one of 88 cities across the globe that continue to lead on environmental action despite the pressures of tackling the COVID-19 virus.
Vail’s A list rating for 2020 has been awarded by CDP, a global environmental impact nonprofit based in London, with offices around the world. This is the first time the town has achieved the climate leader rating.
Designed to drive and support cities for their climate action initiatives and ambition, CDP’s A List is based on environmental data disclosed by hundreds of cities in 2020. Vail and the other cities, representing a combined global population of almost 125 million, reported their environmental data to the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System.
To score an A, a city must disclose and have a city-wide emissions inventory, have set an emissions reduction target and published a climate action plan. It must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment and have completed a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards now and, in the future, among other actions.
Vail’s efforts have included establishing climate reduction goals in the town’s Environmental Sustainability Strategic Plan and commitment to the goals established in the Climate Action Plan for Eagle County, including a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and 80% reduction by 2050.
Specific climate reduction measures implemented over the past several years in Vail include a 30% reduction in electricity emissions through town-wide energy efficiency upgrades; installation of solar arrays on the Vail Village, Lionshead and Red Sandstone parking structures; participation in the Holy Cross Energy PURE program ensuring 100% of electricity is renewable; providing free energy audits and double rebates through the Energy Smart Colorado program to residents and businesses; and hosting an LED light bulb swap for residents. Vail utilizes a building operating system to monitor energy usage, participates in a building benchmarking program, and has been tracking emissions data from municipal operations since 2006. The town conducted its first community wide greenhouse gas inventory in 2020.
To support reduction of transportation related emission, Town of Vail has installed 10 Level 2 and four Level 3 electric vehicle charging stations. To support the purchase of electric vehicles, the town supports the annual electric vehicle sale through regional dealerships.
In addition, Vail provides one of the largest free, year-round bus systems in the country and is transitioning four in-town buses to fully electric buses in early 2021. To reduce vehicle miles travelled, Vail hosts the annual Sole Power Green Commuting Challenge on behalf of the entire Eagle Valley encouraging human powered commuting instead of driving single occupancy vehicles and offered an electric bike share pilot program throughout town during the summer of 2020.
“We are immensely proud of the Town of Vail team for the progress we have made in tracking and reducing our carbon footprint,” Vail Environmental Sustainability Director Kristen Bertuglia said. “Addressing climate change by reducing our emissions is the single most important thing we can do for our environment, wildlife, economy and quality of life.”
CDP is a global nonprofit that drives companies, cities and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, CDP is a founding member of the We Mean Business Coalition. In response to local and regional governments calling for a simpler reporting process, the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System was launched in April 2019. For more information, go to https://cdp.net/en/cities.