Yampa Valley Green Business Program Debuts, Offers Business Incentives

Brianna Bruyere, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council Energy Intern. right, works with manager Brian Erhart at Aspen Tree Service in Steamboat Springs on current and future energy implementations.
Yampa Valley Sustainability Council / Courtesy Photo

When Aspen Tree Service in Carbondale expanded to add an office in Steamboat Springs last year, the management team wanted to present themselves to the Yampa Valley in a way as green as the spring color of the leaves of its homonymous tree.

Aspen Tree Service, which merged with Steamboat Lightscapes to form Aspen Tree Service & Lightscapes in February 2021, is the first participant in the Yampa Valley Green Business program which officially started this month.

“Our main focus is to try and move the industry forward in the best possible practices and reduce waste to landfill, upcycle and upcycle as much as possible, keep wiring and copper out of landfill and… ‘use 100% LED lighting,” said Dan Franz, Aspen Tree Service’s sustainability coordinator.

“Right now, we’re really close to 100% keeping wood waste out of the landfill,” Franz said, noting that people can make an appointment to visit the business yard at 2645 Jacob Circle to pick up. free wood chips after 9am. am on Friday. “It ends up saving the company money on the cost of dumping, and ethically, wood chips with stored carbon should remain in the Yampa Valley.

Franz, who holds a degree in environmental resources from Virginia Tech, said the company is working to evolve its fleet to be more fuel efficient and recently purchased an all-electric Nissan Leaf with more on order. . They are also hoping to receive several out-of-stock Ford 150 Lightning all-electric pickup trucks.

The Yampa Valley Green Business program is not the first iteration of such a program locally, but it now includes the partnership and support tools of the state’s Colorado Green Business Network at CDPHE.colorado.gov/co -green-businesswhich is under the auspices of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The Colorado Green Business Network is a voluntary program that “encourages, supports, and rewards superior environmental performers who go beyond the requirements of environmental regulations and move toward the goal of true operational sustainability,” according to the Colorado Green Business Network’s website. program.

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“Our goal is to help organizations across the state at all levels of implementation increase the effectiveness and sustainability of their operations by assessing opportunities for growth, recognizing success, and providing connections with like-minded businesses across the state,” according to the website.

Paul Bony, Director of Energy and Transportation at the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, and Brianna Bruyere, YVSC Energy Intern, explained the rollout of the Yampa Valley Green Business program at the July 13 YVSC Community Meeting. Leaders from Steamboat Springs Chamber, Colorado Mountain College-Steamboat, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Big Agnes have also spoken out in support of the program.

Randy Rudasics, director of the CMC Yampa Valley Entrepreneurship Center for 16 years, stressed the importance for businesses to include a sustainability plan in the company’s initial business plan.

Rudasics said social and political demands for companies to reduce their carbon footprint are growing and customers are increasingly evaluating suppliers based on proactive solutions to environmental challenges. He said climate and environmental issues can sometimes take precedence over the day-to-day challenges of running a small business, so local and state assistance is helpful in those efforts.

When businesses join the Green Business Program for free, they receive assistance with completing a baseline assessment and use the state’s Greenbiz Tracker to store information about their sustainable practices. After the assessment, companies can receive technical support and possibly a grant.

Program results can include reductions in business expenses such as disposal costs, utilities and more. Increasing corporate sustainability can increase corporate performance, corporate reputation with customers, product differentiation, and worker satisfaction and retention.

“Green businesses are becoming an important part of the solution to climate change,” Bruyere said. “According to the 2021 Routt County Climate Action Plan, one of the biggest contributors to Routt County’s greenhouse gas emissions was commercial buildings.”

“Our owners have a vision for sustainability,” said Franz. “Obviously, working towards this vision requires a lot of support, so we are very grateful to partner with the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council on this goal.”


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