One word for you: greasemobile. Another word, hyphenated: grease-Hummer. Snowmass is finally on the monster truck map! Last year, we bought two Humvees to move people to the zipline and other mountain activities. But these aren’t exactly eco-vehicles. As Steve Sewell said (and this is a paraphrase): “I’m not sure our guests are psyched on us rolling coal up there.” At the same time, we needed an all-terrain hog that could carry a dozen people at a time. The fix: retrofit the vehicles to run on waste grease, cutting particulates, and recycling waste oil. The guys who made it possible were Donnie Popish, of Snowmass Vehicle Maintenance, whose head didn’t explode when we proposed this, and who spent many hours doing due diligence talking to installers and the owner of a similar vehicle;  Joe Nichols, of purchasing; and mechanic Chris Hahn, who did the install. Once the first grease-mobile proves out, we’ll convert the second. The grease, by the way, come from Brian Flynn, Lisa’s husband, who retrieves it from sushi restaurants and other quality sources.


Solving climate change—meaning cutting global emissions at least 80% by 2050—is going to be a bear. Many huge barriers loom. The cement industry alone, for example, produces more CO2 emission than all the trucks in the world. (Editor’s note: even cement trucks?) And one of the beary-iest of the challenges is how we heat buildings. Think about it: we warm most of our houses and factories by combusting natural gas or oil. So how do you delete that carbon payload? The only practical approach is to electrify, and then power that structure with renewable energy, which will become more of a reality as the grid gets cleaner. There are fully electric buildings already (think baseboard resistance heat and orange-ringed stoves like at your Grandma’s house) but modern technology (using heat pumps and induction stovetops) are much more efficient and pleasant. (ASC has done this already: the Snowmass Golf Clubhouse uses electric heat pumps for heat and coolth—it’s one of the greenest buildings in the region.) But overall, this is a monumental task: hard enough even for a new structure, very expensive in retrofit. That said, ASC is moving: if approved by the town of Basalt, we’ve committed to entirely electri-fying the new Willits employee housing complex. This will make it a model for the region. And don’t be confused that it’s not “net zero.” To zero it out, you can buy clean power from the grid, which is now 40% renewable and headed, most likely, to 100% by 2030.

More on Etronification

Another part of our economy combusts fossil fuels too—transportation. And yes, we have to electrify that as well. (Same theory as buildings: electric motors are more efficient than combustion engines anyway, but if you run them on renewables you zero out the carbon entirely.) Energy manager Ryland French is now moving to increase the number of charging stations resort-wide. And partner Audi isn’t screwing around either when it comes to electrification—you may have seen all the E-trons in town during ideas fest; and the Sustainability Dept. recently sat down with Audi’s government affairs person, who is a climate scientist. (That’s how important the issue is to them.) Their chief of electrification recently spoke at Aspen U. Meanwhile, Henning Rahm, LLA GM, and his team added a whole new garage bank of Audi chargers to accommodate guest demand.

Categories: Environmental


Leave a Reply