August Green Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

August’s Green Team Tip of the Month encourages you to have a reusable water bottle and coffee mug with you during your daily life and travels.

This reduces your personal environmental impact and helps prevent single-use waste from entering our landfills.

Some studies estimate that 50 billion water bottles are sold in the U.S. each year and only 23 percent are recycled. An article from TreeTribe.com reports that this produces more than $1 billion in wasted plastic each year, which is the equivalent to 192 million gallons of oil.

And any plastic water bottle that ends up in a landfill is estimated to take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

Many Mountain Village merchants sell glass or insulated reusable water bottles.

To take the tip one step further, you can also purchase reusable utensils and straws to reduce your environmental impact.

 

Mountain Village incentivizing composting units throughout the community

compost-incentive

Words by Kathrine Warren / Environment

As part of its goal to be zero waste by 2025, the Town of Mountain Village is offering homeowners associations, hotels and multi-unit facilities rebates of up to $5,000 toward the cost of purchasing and installing an on-site composting unit. 

“Approximately 30 percent of our region’s waste is compostable material,” said Town of Mountain Village Community Engagement & Business Development Coordinator Zoe Dohnal. “We recognize there is room for improvement and we hope to encourage Mountain Village residents to start composting with this incentive.”

A portion of the $5,000 rebate can be used for equipment to mix compost, a scale to weight composted material or signage/educational material. 

“Our goal is to make the process simple and mitigate costs for residents,” Dohnal said. “Composting is vital to reducing landfill waste where it simply takes up space and releases methane, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.”

All composting units must submit the appropriate design review applications to the Town of Mountain Village’s Planning and Development Services Department for staff review to ensure town building and design codes are met.

In order to install a composting system on an existed structure, a licensed contractor will need to obtain a building permit through the town’s building department. In some cases, an associated electrical permit will also be required. The composting structure must also be bear-proof and approved by the town’s planning department. 

Once work is approved and completed, a composting rebate incentive program application may be submitted to Dohnal along with the project’s building permit, copies of all receipts for the purchase of the unit, HOA consent allowing the installation of the unit and photos of a completed composting setup, and eligible applicants can receive up to $5,000 of the cost of the system. 

In turn, the participating properties can then use their composted materials on landscaping and gardens, or provide to the town for landscaping public facilities throughout Mountain Village. 

“Diverting compostable waste simultaneously reduces greenhouse gas emissions while also producing a reusable asset that offsets soil depletion,” said Town Council Member Patrick Berry, who also sits on the town’s Green Team. “The Mountain Village composting incentive is an important first step toward building a culture that supports this effort.” 

For more information please contact Dohnal or please visit our website.

Mountain Village offers property owners deep savings when installing solar panels

Solar Energy Rebate Program

Words by Kathrine Warren / Community, Environment

The Town of Mountain Village is encouraging Mountain Village residents and businesses owners to harness the power of the sun and take advantage of significant savings when they install solar panels on their homes or businesses in Mountain Village.

As part of its robust incentive program, Mountain Village is offering a 40 cent per watt rebate when property owners install solar panels on their homes. There is a $2,000 maximum rebate per meter for residents (5,000 watts maximum) and $4,000 maximum rebate per meter for business owners (10,000 watts maximum).

The average home will install a 4,000-watt system which equates to a $1,600 rebate from the Town of Mountain Village.

Mountain Village Building Official Drew Harrington points out that property owners can benefit twice on their energy savings if they install solar on any project to offset exterior energy use, like a snowmelted driveway.

“For example, if you install a 2,000-watt solar photovoltaic system on your home, then there would be no renewable energy mitigation program fee paid to the town for installation of a 2,000 square foot snow melted driveway,” Harrington said. “One thousand square feet is exempt, and the two-kilowatt system would entirely offset the $7,700 fee for the additional 1,000 square foot driveway typically paid to the town. That is an additional $7,777 savings under this scenario,” Harrington continued. So in addition to the rebates, you can also save on the renewable energy mitigation fee payment associated with exterior energy use.

In Mountain Village, outdoor energy use like snowmelts, hot tubs or pools with new construction projects or building permits are charged a fee for their use to offset energy and carbon consumption. The fee goes into a restricted fund that the town uses for renewable energy projects.

Owners can also combine this with San Miguel Power Association’s solar rebate of $.25 per watt and the Solar Investment Tax Credit which allows property owners to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. This applies to both residential and commercial systems and there is no cap on its value.

“One of the most important factors in preserving the beauty of our corner of the world is reducing the use of fossil fuels,” said Mountain Village Mayor Pro Tem Dan Caton. “This program makes that economical as well! Depending on your situation, the combination of these rebates and incentives can move us past the tipping point and make it possible to help ourselves while we help others.”

For more information please contact Drew Harrington or please visit our website at townofmountainvillage.com/solar-energy.

July Green Tip of the Month

Green Tips

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

July’s Green Tip of the Month encourages people to wash their cars in the car wash, instead of at home.

According to Southwest Car Wash Alliance, rinsing your car off with a garden hose at home can use 100 or more gallons of water. A standard garden hose can expel about 11 gallons of water per minute.

Self-service car wash stations limit you to around 17 or 18 gallons of water, and according to a study from the 2018 International Carwash Association, most full-service car wash stations average 30-45 gallons of water per car. And many carwashes recycle and reuse water.

Additionally, washing your car at home can wash dirt, oil, soap and other chemicals into a storm drain and into nearby rivers and lakes. Carwashes are designed to collect water to reuse and then send water to wastewater treatment plants to filter out pollutants.

Town of Mountain Village offers residents smart irrigation control incentive

Smart Irrigation Controls

Words by Kathrine Warren / Development, Environment

As part of its effort to encourage environmentally friendly measures in the home and beyond, the Town of Mountain Village is offering a rebate to homeowners when they take measures to increase the efficiency of their irrigation systems.

The goal is simple: to help residents use only the water they need to achieve the desired results on their property. As water becomes an increasingly precious resource worldwide, water conservation efforts are critical for helping reduce water consumption.

When Mountain Village property owners replace their outdated irrigation control system with a WaterSense product, which includes weather sensing capabilities, the Town will offer a rebate of up to $500.

“These controllers are really a win-win for our residents,” said J.D. Wise, Mountain Village’s plaza services manager. “In addition to being a great water conservation tool, their ability to react and adjust to real-time weather conditions can truly have positive impacts on the overall health of a landscape. It’s exciting to see this technology continue to be embraced and improved on by a number of manufacturers. “

WaterSense is a certified smart irrigation control product sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency which helps homes meet the EPA’s criteria for efficiency. These controllers use real-time local weather data, including humidity, wind speed, air temperature, soil moisture, solar radiation and rainfall to calculate evapotranspiration rates and automatically adjust irrigation watering accordingly.

Most smart irrigation controllers either connect to the Internet for weather data or collect real-time weather data from an on-site station on the property. Some of these controllers can be monitored over the Internet and the settings controlled remotely, while others can be linked to other “smart” devices in your home. With a smart irrigation controller, your plants and lawn get the water they need, without being over or under watered.

“Gone are the days when a rain sensor was the only option to automatically turn the water on or off,” Wise added. “Now, a number of these systems can adjust your daily run-times so that on a cool, cloudy day, your landscape is receiving less water than on a hot, dry day.  Not only does this conserve water, but it also improves irrigation efficiency, and helps to achieve optimal plant health.”

Residents are encouraged to consult with their landscaping professional to choose the best WaterSense rated controller and submit the Smart Irrigation Controls Program application to receive a rebate of up to $500 for the cost of the controller. (Please note, this program does not cover the cost of installation).

This incentive program is open until funds are exhausted and is for residents of Mountain Village, Ski Ranches and West Meadows.

For more information please contact J.D. Wise at (970) 369-8235 or please visit townofmountainvillage.com/smart-irrigation.

June Green Tip of the Month

June Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

June’s Green Team Tip of the Month encourages you to eat less meat. Eating less meat (especially red meat) can have a significant impact on reducing your carbon footprint even if it’s just for two or three days per week.

GreenAmerica.org reports that global meat production is responsible for 18 percent of global warming emissions, based on a report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

VIsit Green America’s website on best practices for meat eaters in selecting products with a smaller environmental impact.

Bloomberg also recently reported on the issue, stating, “Ultimately, if people worldwide who heavily rely on meat switch to a more plant-based diet, they could potentially decrease food-related greenhouse-gas emissions by almost half by 2050.”

May Green Tip of the Month

May Green Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

May’s Green Team Tip of the Month helps reduce single-use waste in the kitchen.

Instead of using plastic wrap or tinfoil to keep leftovers fresh, simply turn a clean plate upside down and put it over your plate of leftovers. This will keep food fresh in the fridge for your next meal.

Other plastic-free food storage options include beeswax cloth, mason jars and reusable snack bags.

 

 

Celebrating Earth Day in Mountain Village and Telluride

Earth Day Blog

Words by Kathrine Warren / Environment

Every April 22 since 1970, more than 193 countries celebrate Earth Day with various measures to support environmental protection. Here in Mountain Village, every day is Earth Day as our staff and volunteers on the Green Team Committee work tirelessly to implement green, environmentally friendly measures throughout the community and we encourage homeowners to reduce their environmental footprint through a number of incentives.

Several organizations are celebrating Earth Day in the region today, so there are opportunities aplenty to celebrate Mother Earth.

Telluride Earth Guardians, Pinhead Institute, Ah Haa, Carbon Neutral Coalition, EcoAction Partners, Sheep Mountain Alliance, and friends will gather on Elks Park from 3:30-5 p.m. to celebrate Earth Day on Monday. For more information on the gathering, please visit their Facebook event.

The Wilkinson Public Library is encouraging middle and high school students to help clean up trash in Telluride from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Kids can check in at 3:30 p.m. to pick up equipment and head out to pick up trash. At 5:30 p.m. report back to the library for pizza and awards for Best of Trash! For more info, visit the library’s website.

Additionally, the Telluride Mountain School will host a free, community-wide slide show presentation and book signing with nationally renowned, Colorado Landscape Photographer John Fielder on Monday evening.

John is an avid outdoor enthusiast, conservationist and a wonderfully talented landscape photographer. For the past 38 years, he has dedicated his time and passion to capture the serene and breathtaking moments of Colorado’s most majestic landscapes. John will be on hand before and after the show to sell and sign all of his popular Colorado coffee table books, guide books, and children’s books, including his new book Colorado Black on White. 30% of sales to benefit the Outdoor Education Program at Telluride Mountain School.

Every month, a committee of volunteers and Mountain Village staff convenes as the Gream Team to advise Mountain Village Town Council on environmentally friendly measures. In March, the Green Team started a monthly Green Tip of the month. These tips are ideas for residents to improve their impact on the environment in their home.

March’s green tip focuses on tips for more water efficient techniques for dishwashing, and April’s tip takes a look at cooking with excess fats, oils and grease. To learn more about the Green Team and its work, please visit our website.

The Town of Mountain Village also recently announced its Smart Building Incentive Program offering significant building permit fees if owners take measures to increase renewable energy use, reduce exterior energy use on homes and more. Visit our Smart Building web page for more information.

 

April Green Tip of the Month-Cooking with excess fats, oils and greases

Green Tip of the Month

Words by Zoe Dohnal / Environment

April’s Green Team Tip of the Month will come in handy in the kitchen.

Excess fats, oils & grease (FOG) are a problem in our sewage collection and treatment system. The proper disposal of FOG is very important.

Improper disposal of FOG can create a hazard for wastewater operators and increase the risk of a sewer backup in both your home and overflow at the wasterwater plant.

Please take the time to follow these simple rules:

  • Dry wipe pots, pans and dishware with a paper towel prior to dishwashing
  • Do not put food waste down the drain
  • Recycle cooking oil or pour it onto a paper towel or newspaper
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows how to dispose of FOG properly

Source: Town of Telluride. 

 

Living with coyotes

Coyote

Words by Kathrine Warren / Communications, Environment

The Town of Mountain Village Police Department has been receiving increased reports of coyote sightings throughout Mountain Village and would like to remind residents and visitors of several helpful tips for keeping local coyotes afraid of humans.

Coyote breeding occurs between January and March and pups are born from April to mid-May. People should never approach pups and should be aware that female coyotes are extremely protective of their young.  If you see pups unattended, their parents are not very far away and could become aggressive if they perceive a threat to their young.

Coyotes are inherently afraid of humans, but they can lose their fear. If you encounter a coyote on a trail or ski run and the coyote lingers or begins to approach, “hazing” is appropriate to scare them away. This helps keep the coyote afraid of humans. If they lose their fear, they become more aggressive to pets and begin hunting them. That can include any of the following tactics:

  • Be as loud and big as possible and do not run or turn your back.
  • Wave your arms, clap your hands and shout in an authoritative way.
  • Make noise by banging post or pans.
  • Throw small stones, sticks or tennis balls at them, but remember the intent is to scare them off, not injure them.

Do not allow your pets to roam, especially at night and do not allow dogs to run with coyotes. Don’t leave pet food outside and keep your garbage in a storage facility or tightly sealed container. Keep garbage cans and recycling bins clean with hot water and bleach to reduce residual odors that can attract animals.

 

For more information about living with coyotes, visit the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.

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