Yampa Valley Partners rolls out regional energy education plan | CraigDailyPress.com

Yampa Valley Partners rolls out regional energy education plan

Kate Nowak

Kate Nowak, a Steamboat Springs resident and executive director of Yampa Valley Partners, said Craig’s recycling center isn’t always convenient for families.

“If you’re a busy household and you both work and you have a family, sometimes you don’t get over there,” Nowak said.

For that reason, the Northwest Colorado Energy Steering Committee will soon be exploring the feasibility of curbside recycling in both Moffat and Rio Blanco counties as one of the action items on its regional energy education plan released last month.

The committee, which is overseen by YVP, includes 22 city, town and county representatives from Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties.

The plan is based around four goals: lowering building energy use, increasing use of multi-modal transportation systems and alternative fuels, waste minimization (through recycling and composting), and educating homeowners on energy sources so residents can make informed decisions.

Each goal has specific actions YVP and committee members will take to achieve the goal. Each of the 30 total actions has a deadline ranging from the end of this year to three years, according to the plan.

“It’s a three-county regional effort,” Nowak said. “Each county is determining what they want to focus on and what they want to prioritize first.”

The largest section of the plan is to reduce energy consumption by segment per capita.

“Buildings are big energy users,” Nowak said. “We’re feeling that if we can make a difference with residential, commercial, industrial and government buildings, that’s one of our first places to make an impact.”

Actions for the goal include identifying teachers interested in using energy and sustainability in education in hopes students will pass the information on at home.

Other strategies include informing the public about rebate money being offered by the governor’s energy office.

“The bottom line is people want more comfortable homes to keep them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter,” Nowak said.

Nowak said currently the governor’s energy office has rebate funds set aside for rural Coloradans to make their homes more energy efficient. There are rebate funds for processes including air sealing, duct sealing, insulation and home energy audits. Information on the rebates can be found at http://www.rechargecolorado.com.

The goal to help increase use of multi-modal transportation includes possibly building a website to encourage carpooling.

Nowak said the website would not look to replace any initiatives with similar concepts, but would look to enhance services. As an example, she brought up the idea of Criag and Steamboat Springs residents carpooling to Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Nowak said the plan is in the process of being rolled out to cities, towns and counties in the area.

She said the Moffat County Commission approved the plan, but she will not present to the Craig City Council until next month.

Nowak said she is hoping to gather public input on the plan at the June 9 5:05 Drinks program hosted by YVP.

“There’s a lot of strategies and a lot of stuff to do,” Nowak said. “I want the public to tell us where they see us focusing first.”

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