WSCU hired for data collection and forecast
By Mark Reaman
The town of Crested Butte has hired Western State Colorado University and Dr. Abel Chavez to gather current data needed to update the town’s Energy Action Plan (EAP).
The EAP was originally enacted in 2009 and the town is ready to modernize the plan that calls for a 20 percent reduction in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions by 2020 compared to 2005 levels and an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050.
The Crested Butte Town Council agreed in December to contract with WSCU and Chavez to begin gathering existing data starting in mid-January. A final summary report of the work is scheduled for presentation in June.
The contract calls for the development of a so-called “Energy, Material, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Footprint Baseline and Forecast” for the town. Once the accounting phase of the project is completed in early March, a forecast for the community’s greenhouse gas emissions will be predicted for year 2030.
“We estimate that some of the underlying activity ‘growth rates’ will leverage statistics from populations trends, employment growth, consumer demand, and local energy use, among others,” the Chavez proposal states. “The power of forecasting opens the possibility of assessing innovative actions toward achieving community-wide goals, thus mobilizing action across various citizen groups.”
The proposal then states that Chavez group will work with the town and other community stakeholders to “explore a menu of plausible energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction (or abatement) actions, by sector, suitable to align with Crested Butte’s greenhouse gas baseline.”
The Chavez team will come up with possible actions and then hold a meeting with key community stakeholders “to enhance the list of abatement actions.”
The Town Council will then have to decide how to utilize the data and recommendations as part of a more comprehensive and modern Energy Action Plan.
The town will pay the team $12,480 for the project.
According to the 2009 EAP, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in or attributable to the town of Crested Butte totaled 40,970 tons of CO2e in the baseline year of 2005. Almost 76 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the town come from buildings. “Buildings represent the single biggest opportunity for emissions reductions,” the EAP states. The school is the largest government building contributor but residential buildings account for 47 percent of CO2e emissions.
The Crested Butte EAP is available on the town’s website.