SustainAbility: Rifle roundtable
On May 26, I attended the 2010 Alliance for Sustainable Colorado Regional Sustainability Roundtable in Rifle. Grand Junction was well represented with 17 of the 65 event participants hailing from the Grand Valley.
You may not be aware that Rifle is on the cutting edge of sustainability measures. The area will soon have a biofuels plant, which will turn grass and other materials into fuel for transportation.
One of four pilot communities, Rifle was selected to take part in Colorado’s Sustainable Main Streets Initiative. Rifle also is home to Rocky Mountain Alternative Fueling, a company working on compressed natural gas stations.
Just to refresh your memory, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is housed in a rehabilitated historic Denver building constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. The group’s motto is “Advancing sustainability through collaboration.”
The alliance subscribes to the African proverb, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”
Kelly Landau, who works on outreach and education for the organization, epitomizes this philosophy. She takes great pride in making collaboration simple by handling meeting details and essential follow-up data dissemination.
Once again, the roundtable was conducted in a sustainable fashion and was very productive. Facilitators stressed the Triple Bottom Line for business. This perspective looks at any action through the prism of this question: Does this benefit people, planet and profit?
We were informed about the latest in progress around the state.
An exciting development is that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) has hired a new sustainability director and recently adopted seven principles of sustainability. For all the details, go to dola.colorado.gov/sustainability/docs/SustainabilityPrinciples.pdf.
Local Housing Resources of Western Colorado shared information about a state legislation effort (House Bill 1328) that creates a Colorado new energy improvement district to provide a potential funding source for clean energy projects.
H.B. 1328 promotes Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE programs.
According to the Colorado House Democrats website, “these are convenient finance programs that raise funds for residential and commercial projects that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy and remove the upfront obstacle of obtaining funds to finance the project. PACE payments are made through individual property assessments from those who voluntarily choose to participate.”
Roundtable participants spent a great deal of time brainstorming about local food and water issues, as well as transportation. Numerous ideas were discussed, prioritized and presented to the group.
The entire assembly then decided what items were ripe for development. Details about the session can be found at the alliance website: sustainablecolorado.org.
By the end of the session, I realized I had learned quite a bit since the 2009 roundtable during which I remember feeling amazed at how much was going on in Colorado that was new to me.
Since then, I have researched many ideas for this column, attended the Energy Management Symposium at Mesa State College and several energy briefings and the gas rig tour through the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.
To create continuity of progress, a Sustainability Council is being formed for the Grand Junction area that will coordinate with a regional group through the alliance.
It is hoped that many of the great ideas from the roundtable will soon be put into action locally.
Next week, I plan to share information about two intriguing new ventures I discovered at the roundtable.
In last week’s column, a name was misspelled and reader Judith Hopper wanted to correct that error. According to Judith, Cullen Purser is a Fruita handyman who does lovely woodwork.