2009 Biomass Heat for Colorado Salvation Army Camp

I was on a small mission. Find places in the Rocky Mountains that could benefit by using rescent avances in wood-burning boiler technology to both save money and reduces their fossil carbon footprint. The US Forest Service had some seed money to invest, but it had to make economic sense (at least it did if I was going to get involved).

So I set off to find a small but meaningful location that used a lot of propane (a relatively high-priced fossil fuel that wood could potentially compete with) and they had to be cool with sharing their story with the world.

I guess people find the silly grin on my face disarming enough to at least humor my questions. My first stop was Estes Park city hall. Certainly their GIS/data folks would know where the natural gas (a relatively  low-cost fossil fuel) grid ended. Right?

Well, if the world was that well-run, my services wouldn’t be needed. No. Of course they didn’t know. That data is proprietary and they don’t have access – and it doesn’t really matter to them. But they were super nice and also thought it was a pretty good question, so they said, “You know who might know? [of course I didn’t, that’s why I was there] The real estate agent across the street. She’s super well respected and very nice. Why don’t you go over there?”

Ok. I went there. She was super nice. But super busy. “Let’s look at the map… then I have to go.” Thanks, much appreciated. The world famous (really) YMCA camp was off the gas grid. Nice. And I had a new name.

Rats! YMCA had just completely redone their cabin heating systems. Great for them. Bad for me. But they, too, thought it was a good question.

“Now that you mention it, the Salvation Army Camp director and I were just chatting about the cost of heating the other day. And they are on propane. Let me make a call….”

Ninety-minutes into my quest, there I was. Knocking on the door of the Salvation Army’s High Peak Camp.

What a wonderful world it is. Open the above document to see how it turned out.