Rocky Mountain Institute

Your Morning News - December 17th, 2014

Dec 17, 2014

Aspen Still Debating Mark Hunt Plans

Aspen planning officials could not come to an agreement last night about whether to recommend a possible new lodge. It's one of two similar lodges proposed by Chicago developer and Aspen transplant Mark Hunt.

The meeting was already a continuation of a discussion earlier this month. Last night, Hunt and planner Mitch Haas presented the proposal again: a three story lodge with rooms under 200 square feet, to fill Aspen’s affordable lodging gap. Called Base 1 it would Include a rooftop terrace and basement amenities like a bowling alley open to all. It would be located across from City Market and Hunt explains why he sees that as a good spot.

“We have our busiest retailer across the street. There’s a gym, there are offices, there are condominium buildings that actually operate like hotels. And yeah, there are residences there. But I think it’s a very eclectic part of Aspen.”

Of about a dozen public comments, the vast majority were in favor of the proposal. But concerns about design and requested exceptions led commissioners to hang up the towel for the evening. Stan Gibbs is Commission Vice Chair, and feels the building does not fit the commercial guidelines for the lot.

“There’s a lot of residential and affordable housing around there, and I think a big building has compatibility issues.”

Hunt and Haas did not comment afterwards, but were visibly frustrated during the meeting. Commissioners will take up the issue again at the beginning of January. A city planner at the meeting last night said the proposal would still be on track to go before City Council later next month. That’s when Council will also consider a similar lodge by Hunt, called Base 2.

Marci Krivonen

A second groundbreaking in Basalt this week marked the start of construction on Rocky Mountain Institute’s “Innovation Center.” The non profit is building a $15 million highly energy efficient building near the Roaring Fork River in Old Town. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Rocky Mountain Institute

The non profit Rocky Mountain Institute is moving forward with plans to build an “Innovation Center” in downtown Basalt. The organization submitted a sketch plan to Town Council last month and if council supports it, construction could start in the fall. RMI specializes in sustainability and energy efficiency and the structure near the Roaring Fork River, will be highly efficient. The $15 million building will be double the size of the group’s current headquarters in Old Snowmass.

Rocky Mountain Institute

A new report on non-profit organizations shows charities in the Mountain West have the among the lowest pay for high level staff among nonprofits across the country.   The survey by Charity Navigator found one standout here.  The top official at the environmental non-profit, Rocky Mountain Institute, was recently paid much more than counterparts at other non-profits, in fact, many times more.  (You can read the entire Charity Navigator report here.)

Mountain Edition - June 27th, 2013

Jun 27, 2013

In a matter of days, it’ll be illegal to give family or friends a gun... without having them getting a  background check. Today we’ll hear about confusion over details of the new transfer law.

That and other new Colorado laws have frustrated local enforcement officials--enough that they’ve filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. We’ll talk with a Roaring Fork Valley sheriff about why he signed on with that effort.

Our science reporter delves into the tricky question of how air quality is monitored... even when pollution is coming from hundreds of miles away.

A major group of wildfires continues to burn in southwestern Colorado. That’s as Stage One fire restrictions kick into place for parts of the Roaring Fork Valley. We’ll find out why many in Pitkin County are at risk if a wildfire does break out nearby.

We’ll take a tour of one of the most energy efficient houses in the world. Amory Lovins is Chief Scientist for Rocky Mountain Institute. He takes us on a tour of his Old Snowmass home... spoiler alert, it has bananas, too.

Marci Krivonen

There’s a house in Old Snowmass unlike any other home in the Roaring Fork Valley, or in the world for that matter. The home Amory Lovins shares with his wife doesn’t have a furnace and it creates more energy than it uses.

Lovins is a scientist who founded Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy and environmental think tank. He’s become one of the world’s foremost thinkers on energy efficiency. And, he gets some of that inspiration from what he calls the “Banana Farm." Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.