Community invited to debate future of local energy policy

Zero waste and free beer part of the deal

A two-day seminar on local energy use will be held Wednesday and Thursday, September 10 and 11 in Crested Butte and Gunnison. For those who want to engage in the process of lowering the community’s energy output or simply want to learn more about clean energy, this seminar is the perfect opportunity.



Sponsored by the Office for Resource Efficiency (ORE), the Gunnison Valley Energy Summit begins Wednesday evening with a keynote address at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts and then spills into a day of work sessions in Gunnison.
“This is a chance for anyone in the community to engage in planning with the local governments,” explained ORE’s program assistant Kendall Kahl. “The focus is to decrease energy use, improve efficiency and work toward developing renewable energy sources in the valley.”
In essence, the program is geared to help reduce energy bills and make local homes, businesses and governments more cost-effective, while reducing the local contribution of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
According to the ORE, the keynote presentation will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts. The keynote speech will be given by Dan Richardson, a senior energy consultant, speaking on “Meeting the Energy Challenge through Investing in a Clean Energy Economy.”
The meat of the summit will start 8:30 a.m. on Thursday at the Aspinall-Wilson Center in Gunnison. “The Energy Summit will engage experts, community leaders and community members to brainstorm ideas on energy use reduction during a day of work sessions,” the ORE website states. “This event will build off of the Upper Gunnison River Watershed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory report … a recently completed calculation of emissions in the valley. Experts will be available to assist everyone with their ideas and to prioritize low-hanging-fruit actions that present quick return on investment. Breakout groups will focus on buildings, transportation, sustainable living and renewable energy production.”
“It is free and it is open to everybody,” said Kahl. “Each of the work sessions on Thursday will be facilitated so the conversation can stay productive. The number of work sessions we have depends on the number of people who attend. It is our first summit and we are hoping people pre-register so we can have an idea of how many people to expect.”
According to the website, “These work sessions will provide the foundation for the creation of coordinated Energy Action Plans for each valley government. The four local governments, Gunnison County, Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte and the City of Gunnison, are leading the process after signing the historic Intergovernmental Energy Efficiency Resolution in September 2007. ORE has been contracted by the Intergovernmental Temporary Energy Task Force to coordinate this planning process. We need dynamic people to strategize on how to save millions of dollars from flowing out of our valley in energy costs.”
Kahl said the program comes with perks. “This is a free program open to everyone,” she said. “We want you to bring your ideas and share them. There will be free food and beer at the summit as well.”
The summit organizing committee is trying to follow in the footsteps of the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival and Gunnison Car Show and make this a “zero-waste event.” Nothing should be thrown away during the summit.
You can download the Emissions Inventory at and register for the summit in advance by calling ORE at 349-9673.

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