New HC3 program aims to improve sustainability for Dillon businesses | SummitDaily.com

New HC3 program aims to improve sustainability for Dillon businesses

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

A recent sustainable business program launched in Dillon earlier this year is already helping alter local energy consumption practices.

The initiative, a joint effort between the town of Dillon and the High Country Conservation Center (HC3) called the Energy Smart Dillon Business Program, helps local businesses make responsible energy choices. It does so by recognizing and supporting those businesses making strides in environmentally-friendly efforts, and five Dillon companies are already on track to be certified in the program's first year.

The program is free for participating businesses, and the first step is to contact HC3 to schedule a sustainability and energy assessment. This no-charge evaluation includes a comprehensive overview of the business's energy and water usage, waste diversion, purchasing policies and transportation practices. These assessments often provide measurable actions that have cost-saving benefits.

"We have found that in our other business programs, the economic benefit is substantial, not only for the businesses, but also for local contractors doing the upgrades," Marty James Johnson, energy programs coordinator at HC3, said in a news release. "Lighting and energy costs are always something that business leaders want to reduce and we have found that these types of upgrades often provide a payback in less than three years. We help them take a comprehensive look at the whole supply chain."

HC3 first introduced this business program in the town of Frisco in 2011. It expanded the energy-conscious effort to Breckenridge, Silverthorne and now Dillon after recognizing other area businesses wanted to become environmentally-focused, but weren't sure how. More than 95 businesses have now been certified countywide, helping reduce each company's ecological footprint through purchasing policies, especially aspects such as paper products and cleaners.

Each business that participates in the Energy Smart Dillon program receives a baseline score associated with its current environmental initiatives. These businesses then commit to completing at least one recommended improvement to become certified.

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As an added incentive for this initial improvement, each business can receive up to $400 to put toward the project. A business already certified can continue to improve its score and be recognized with bronze, silver and gold certification levels.

"We're really pleased with the strong interest in our Dillon Energy Smart business certification," Dillon town planner Ned West said in the release. "The early success of this program demonstrates our communities' commitment to sustainability."

HC3's mission is to promote practical solutions to waste reduction and resource conservation in the mountain community. To schedule a free business sustainability and energy assessment, contact the organization at (970) 668-5703, or visit their website: http://www.highcountryconservation.org.

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