Green Gondola Project
A Green Machine
Opened in December 1996, the Mountain Village Telluride Gondola, or “G”, that operates between “uptown” (Mountain Village) and “downtown” (Telluride) is a green-leaning machine.
By hauling roughly 2.5 million passengers each year for free, it keeps cars off the road and prevents an estimated 45,000 tons of carbon dioxide in vehicle emissions from entering the environment annually. (The drive between Mountain Village and Telluride is 8 miles.)
What’s more, the gondola’s very existence is in keeping with the vision of the founders that Mountain Village one day becomes a pedestrian-friendly community where guests can leave their cars behind and access the surrounding mountains by a free and environmentally-friendly public transportation system. But the gondola, a solution, also became part of the problem: it takes energy a lot of energy – approximately two million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year or nearly half of the Mountain Village government’s total electricity demands – to run the popular people-moving machine.
Enter the Green Gondola Project, which for the past four years has further assisted with the reduction of emissions from the gondola as it allowed the town to raise money from gondola riders to offset the large amount of electricity that is needed to power the gondola with alternative energy sources.
To date, funds collected through the Green Gondola Project have opened the door for significant solar panel installation on gondola terminals: 160 solar panels at Station St. Sophia and Station Village Parking, bringing the total amount of clean green energy generated annually by the sun to about 60,000 kilowatt hours, or about three percent of the gondola’s electricity. Count the zeroes. That’s a significant amount of energy.
But we’re not stopping there. To meet our climate change action goals, we intend to generate at least 20 percent of the gondola’s energy from the sun with solar panels installed onsite in Mountain Village.
And as we have since 2007, the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association continues to offset 100 percent of the gondola’s remaining traditional electricity needs with renewable energy Green Blocks purchased from its electricity provider and partner, San Miguel Power Association, which support energy efficiency and renewable energy programs throughout the region.
If the gondola is part of your mountain lifestyle, please find room in your annual budget to help us meet our goal by donating to the Green Gondola Project. For questions on the program, please contact Zoe Dohnal by email or (970) 369-8236.
LED bulbs make a world of difference:
After we replaced all gondola station lighting with LED lighting, electricity usage for lighting the gondola was reduced by 70 percent and overall carbon emissions by another 100 tons annually.
As do solar panels:
We installed 160 solar panels on gondola station rooftops and purchased solar panels at the SMPA Community Solar Array, which together supplies approximately 3 percent of the gondola’s overall electricity use. We are proud of this accomplishment and know that it couldn’t have happened without your support.