High Country Conservation Center has new digs in Dillon | SummitDaily.com

High Country Conservation Center has new digs in Dillon

Eartha Steward
Ask Eartha

Dear Eartha,

I understand HC3 has moved to Dillon and the Living Classroom garden will be relocated in 2017. Can you tell me more about the changes?

— Sally, Frisco

The Eartha Steward family is now a proud member of the Dillon neighborhood. As of Nov. 1, the High Country Conservation Center (HC3) has relocated to 176 Lake Dillon Drive, the former home of the Lake Dillon Theatre Company. The community garden which was in our backyard on Frisco Main Street will be relocated to the Frisco Peninsula just east of the baseball fields. Staff and volunteers will be reconstructing the garden beds in the spring of 2017 to be ready for the growing season. We invite the community to come visit us in Dillon and check out the projects we completed to improve the efficiency and comfort of our new space. In the meantime, here's a little bit of information about what we did to reduce our impact and improve our workspace and environment.

PALLETS AS OFFICE DIVIDERS

If wooden pallets seem to be everywhere, it's not because your eyes are playing a trick on you — there are over 2 billon pallets currently in service in the U.S. Roughly 400 million new pallets are produced on an annual basis, a number that has seen a slight decline over the past decade due to recovery efforts. Today, nearly 43 out of 100 new pallets purchased are recovered for reuse. Over 300 million pallets are recovered annually for reuse as pallets while nearly 150 million are recycled into new products. Unfortunately, millions still end up in landfills where they're trashed more often than recycled. Clearly, there's a need to increase awareness about virgin pallets and better ways to reduce, reuse and recycle them. The staff at HC3 took this to heart, capturing nearly 30 pallets for reuse as office dividers and bookshelves. After deconstructing the pallets, staff reassembled them to create six individual office spaces. Although only open a few days, HC3 has received many compliments about the project which has allowed staff to educate the public about the problem of pallets in America. For a complete project description and how-to for your office space, contact Jenny Hammock.

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INSULATION, AIR SEALING AND LIGHTING

Prior to HC3's occupation of the Old Dillon Town Hall, utility bills were through the roof at over $1,500 per month. In our climate zone, it's not unusual for 40 percent of energy costs to come from heating leaky buildings. An additional 30 percent can be attributed to a lack of insulation — and before we moved in, this building had zero insulation in its attic.

HC3 staff, along with professional home improvement specialists Deeper Green Consulting, worked diligently to prevent air leakage through sealing and weather stripping, and they also insulated the attic. In addition to insulation and air sealing, we installed a programmable thermostat to help us take control of our office environment by using our heating system more efficiently. And finally, we upgraded the lighting to LEDs, reducing the building's electricity consumption by an estimated 35 percent. All of these retrofits are available to residents of Summit County through the Energy Smart Colorado and CARE programs. Energy audits, coaching, retrofit work and rebates are also available. Contact Cody Jensen for more information about the Energy Smart and CARE programs.

LOW VOC PAINT

Take a deep breath! You can be assured walking into the new building that the paint is free of many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paint. VOCs are carbon emitting compounds that vaporize in the air, causing air pollution and health issues including cancer, kidney and liver damage. Indoor VOC counts can be hundreds of times higher than that of outdoor levels, especially after a new coat of paint, although off-gassing can occur for years into the future. Enter low VOC paints which were utilized during the reconstruction of the Old Dillon Town Hall building. By using low VOC paint, HC3 helped prevent carbon emissions and maintained a healthy work environment.

LEADERS IN BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY

HC3 is looking forward to joining the new Dillon Energy Smart sustainable business program, as well. This voluntary program is designed to help local businesses save money while reducing impacts on the environment. Business programs are available in Dillon, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Frisco and Keystone. If you're a local business interested in enrolling, contact Jess Hoover.

Like what you see here? HC3 has several programs designed to engage our Summit County community in resource conservation, so contact us today and join Eartha in the sustainability revolution!

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at info@highcountryconservation.org.