Glenwood’s top 10 incentive list includes solar, geothermal heat

Rebate incentives part of plan to reduce energy, climate impact

Offering rebate incentives for solar energy installations and tapping Glenwood Springs’ geothermal heat are among a top-10 list of recommendations for reducing the city’s energy use and climate impact.

After nearly two years of work, a committee presented its draft of a 23-page energy and climate action plan to City Council at a work session Thursday.

The group has come up with 172 recommendations for boosting the sustainability of city government and the community as a whole.

“The health of our economy and our environment depends on our community taking the deliberate steps spelled out in this plan,” the report says.

It singles out “10 Best Bets” that the committee considers the most important priorities to pursue.

Among them are expanding the city’s in-town bus service and creating an outdoor lighting conservation program.

The plan also calls for the city’s electric utility to provide rebates to offset part of the costs of photovoltaic and solar hot water systems installed by residents and businesses.

The utility also should buy more electricity from solar, geothermal, wind, hydroelectric or biomass sources, the draft report suggests.

In addition, the city should look into the feasibility of tapping geothermal energy for heating and cooling systems and for power generation, according to the committee.

It encourages studying the potential of creating a geothermal energy district to heat and cool groups of commercial and/or residential buildings.

The City Council already has appointed a task force to look into geothermal opportunities in a town whose very name is linked to its hot springs.

However, it’s an area in which the city is likely to move cautiously, as the owners of the city’s historic Hot Springs Pool in the past have sought to prevent any actions that might harm the aquifer that feeds the tourist attraction.

Some of the committee’s lower-priority recommendations also hold the potential for controversy.

They include reducing the city’s holiday lighting to 30 days per year, requiring additional building fees for large homes or ones that will use more energy, banning plastic shopping bags and requiring retailers to make available reusable bags, splitting the city into service territories to avoid multiple trash haulers in the same neighborhoods, and allowing clean-burning wood stoves.

City Council has resisted calls to loosen its ban on wood stoves.


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