Mountain News 

Houstonians leave heat in waves for Steamboat

Compiled by Allen Best

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- The busiest July in five years was recorded at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, with planes typically being three-quarters full.

Much of this business seems to be a result of daily flights from Houston, for which the business community posted $200,000 in minimum revenue guarantees, noted The Steamboat Pilot. Andy Wirth, marketing executive for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. told The Steamboat Pilot he's seen enough to reassure him that the Houston flight will return next summer.

Trophy home of another kind

TELLURIDE, Colo. — At 2,500 square feet, the new Cutler Bench house overlooking the San Miguel River about 10 miles west of Telluride isn’t what most people would consider a "trophy" house. Nice? Yes, but not sprawling big.

But it is quite a trophy in another way, explains The Telluride Watch. From start to finish, the builder tried to use the least environmentally impactful techniques and materials, a concept labelled "sustainable."

For starters, contractors Glen Harcourt and Stephen Jallad erected two-kilowatt solar panels to give them the electricity they needed to power their tools. For backup, they set up a generator to be powered by biodiesel. However, the backup generator ran only 133 hours during the 13 months of construction.

Builders solicited wood guaranteed to be not part of clear cuts, and when possible they used wood recycled from other sources, such as old bridges. All of this added 10 to 15 per cent to the project’s cost. No mention of the buyer in the article.

Aspen buying ‘clean’ energy

ASPEN, Colo. — About 1991, Aspen chose to return to the practice of when it was a silver-mining town, tapping local creeks and rivers for hydroelectric power. Now, the city gets 57 per cent of its electricity from hydro or wind generation, with the balance of 43 per cent coming from conventional coal-fired power plants.

Now, the city is getting ready to push the percentage of "clean" energy to 80 per cent, even if the alternatives cost a smidgeon more. Although it’s not a done deal, a report in The Aspen Times suggests that electrical rates, now unchanged for 12 years, will be increased to pay for the added purchase from alternative sources. The city is one of the several thousand municipalities in the United States that is also an electrical utility.

The city is also looking at encouraging conservation by charging those residential customers who use the most power to pay the highest incremental cost. Currently, all residential consumers pay the same rate.

The underlying premise for all this is to reduce Aspen’s part in creating greenhouse gases. Emissions from coal-fired plants have also been implicated in such unpleasantries as acid rain and has been implicated in reduced snowfall.

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