For the fourth year running, the City of Aspen has done better than its internal greenhouse gas reduction goals.
The City has reduced its overall greenhouse gas emissions, the pollutants that cause global warming, 21 percent from its baseline emissions. The baseline was established in 2004-05 and is the standard to which the City government compares its year-to-year emissions for its internal operations.
The baseline helps City officials know how much of Aspen’s emissions come from transportation, building heating and cooling, and other sources. The baseline and subsequent audits target where the City is succeeding or failing at making meaningful CO2 reductions. The current report includes emissions from October 1, 2008, to September 30, 2009.
Despite meeting its reduction goal for the 2008-2009 budget year, on paper the City of Aspen increased its emissions roughly 4 percent from the 2007-2008 budget year.
“The reason emissions increased from last year’s audit to this year is, in large part, a result of Holy Cross Energy’s recalculation of its carbon factor,” explained Kim Peterson, director of the City’s Canary Initiative. “Holy Cross has provided the City with additional information correcting some assumptions about the 2007 carbon factor. The 2007 carbon factor was revised due to availability of more accurate data. Electricity consumption in City facilities that are on Holy Cross actually decreased by 4.1 percent.”
There are opportunities for City buildings to decrease their carbon intensity in 2010 through energy performance contracting and potentially switching some city buildings from Holy Cross Energy to the City of Aspen’s electric grid. Aspen Electric is continuing to “green” its power supply and to use non-carbon sources for more than 75 percent of its electricity.