I’m glad that Fred Malo addressed climate change in his most recent column (“God said, ‘The fire, not a flood next time.'”), but I was disappointed that he offered few suggestions for how individuals can make a difference.
There are many ways that each of us can reduce the greenhouse gases we emit from our homes and vehicles — and many of them save money, too! Various rebates and tax credits are also available, and Garfield Clean Energy (which is supported in part by your tax dollars) can help you maximize your savings. (Disclosure: I work for CLEER, which runs GCE’s programs.)
But individual action is never going to be enough to fully address climate change. For that, we need government leadership, and this is where individuals can have outsized influence.
I urge everyone to use the power that they have as constituents to demand that their elected representatives take strong action on climate. Call or email your state legislators, Gov. Polis, and especially your members of Congress. Over and over.
Don’t do it alone, though. Join with others via one of the state or national organizations that have real lobbying power. One that I can recommend personally is Citizens’ Climate Lobby, whose Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) will soon be reintroduced in the new Congress.
Response to Frosty
I am writing this as a followup to Frosty Merriott’s column last week titled: “Too Late for a Moratorium on Highway 133?” Frosty has long been a steward for the Town of Carbondale regarding environmental issues and we are fortunate to have him as part of the community.
I would like to clarify a few of the items that he mentioned regarding building codes. Biospaces Energy Consulting, through funding from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE), has been updating over the last few years the Residential and Commercial Green Construction Codes for the Town of Carbondale. We have ensured that they are following the direction set by the town’s 2017 Climate Action Plan, which calls for all buildings to have zero emissions by 2050. More recently, the 2019 Net Zero for New Construction report by CORE, CLEER and Biospaces Energy Consulting, maps out a path for getting to net zero for new construction by 2030 and calls for the adoption of new energy codes every three years.
Last summer, a revision to the Carbondale Residential Efficient Building Program went into effect, requiring all new homes 2000 square feet and over in Carbondale to install solar or other renewables and have a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating. Homes less than 2,000 square feet have the option of installing solar or doing a HERS rating. A HERS rating ensures that homes will be built to a higher standard of efficiency. Implementing new building codes is always a lengthy process, as it is important to ensure that the new codes have been ‘fleshed out’ (generally by larger communities) and that we have elicited and received input from the building department and the building community. We need to ensure that our environmental goals are met while also making sure that the ability to build affordable housing in Carbondale is not made unattainable.
We are currently working with the town to update the Commercial Green Construction Code that also increases renewable requirements and keeps buildings up-to-date with current building techniques. The 2021 Energy Code (IECC) and 2021 Green Construction Code (IGCC) published by the International Code Council are both expected to be published in early 2021 and we are positioning the town to be able to adopt both in 2021. Another important component that is coming in this arena is Smart Building Electrification which is slated to be included in the upcoming adoptions. This encourages cold climate heat pumps for heating and is a major step toward reducing carbon emissions.
Our next big hurdle, and the most difficult part of achieving net zero emissions, is addressing the existing building stock. There is still much to do in this area and CLEER is working toward an approach for tackling this important piece of the puzzle. As always, this will require a balance of working towards our emission reduction goals while considering the financial impact to the town and the community. CORE, CLEER and the Town of Carbondale have consistently worked to achieve this balance while supporting the implementation of the updated Commercial and Residential Green codes. Biospaces Energy Consulting has been proud to play a part in these efforts.
Biospaces Energy Consulting, President
Re: In defense of Lauren
January is School Board Recognition Month and Roaring Fork Schools wants to thank our board of education members for their commitment and contributions to our schools. Our board members volunteer countless hours to learn about big and small issues so that they can make critical decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect our entire school community. The board is charged with an important and incredibly tough job — a job that doesn’t come with any compensation. Their decisions directly impact our 5,300 students and 1,000 staff members.
The current board has faced unique challenges as they have had to navigate the pandemic. Our three new board members had only been in the role for a few short months before Roaring Fork Schools had to respond to COVID. Each board member has found herself facing unprecedented challenges, forced to make decisions as school community members called for contradicting actions — all the while, facing the same challenges personally as parents, family members and community members. They handled these challenges with grace, diplomacy, wisdom and compassion.
Being a board member is never easy, and it certainly wasn’t in 2020. We appreciate our board members for stepping up; we are grateful for their service and leadership. If you see a board member, please remember to thank them for all that they do for our school community.
The Roaring Fork Schools Executive Team
A glimmer of hope
A new beginning
Fresh as overnight snowfall
A better way?
I got on Garfield County’s COVID vaccine list early, and I was pleased — not to mention grateful — when I received a call on Jan. 19, telling me to come in at noon the next day and roll up my sleeve.
When I arrived at Valley View Hospital, the scene was well-organized and orderly. Helpful volunteers and staff members got the crowd of masked inoculation candidates socially distanced in a long line extending down one hall and then another.
Finally, we were admitted to a large room filled with registration tables and nurses with needles. Everything proceeded smoothly and, after I got my shot and a Tweety Bird Band-Aid, I was directed to a waiting area at the far end of the room for 30 minutes of “observation.” And it was at this moment that it hit me: I was in a room full of people, in the middle of a pandemic. I didn’t want to catch the virus while I was getting a vaccination for it.
I stepped outside onto a patio and sat down in the warm sunshine, reflecting that it would have been possible to conduct this whole exercise outdoors. While COVID numbers are down somewhat locally, new cases and deaths nationwide continue to increase at an alarming rate as new, more infectious variants emerge. My group was mainly seniors, which is to say, individuals at a greater risk from the virus. Why would you administer these vaccinations inside a closed building?
Maybe there’s a better way.
To those who pay taxes
While there seems to be such a widespread feeling of relief and general positive attitude in the country as a whole, now that we have a new administration at the head of our federal government, I think sufficient time and energy needs to be applied to hold Donnald Trump accountable for, to put it mildly, his gross lack of diligence in the performance of the duties he swore to perform in the office to which he was elected. Aside from whatever state or federal charges he may or may not face, I as a taxpayer and rationally-thinking citizen, fail to see any reason to contribute financially to this poor excuse for a man, for the rest of his life (read: pension), as is normally provided to former presidents. Something along the lines of an expense-paid stay at the state facility down in Pueblo would be much more appropriate.
For periodic outdoor activity, he could be escorted to the nearby melon fields and other such farms to perform manual weed removal; surely it would benefit his small, soft hands and also help to reign in his oversized and hyperly arrogant attitude (ego). We, as the taxpayers, need to demand serious consideration by those who make these decisions, regarding any financial support for such a dishonorable, criminal character named Donald Trump.