How Breckenridge Embodies Sustainability

In the breathtaking town of Breckenridge, Colorado, the term ‘sustainability’ isn’t merely a buzzword – it’s a commitment. The town’s audacious strides towards sustainability, including initiatives in clean energy, waste management, and conservation, provide a noteworthy blueprint for other communities worldwide, with goals to reduce waste up to 75% by 2030 as well as power the entire town with renewable energy by 2035.

Sustainable Breck

two people hiking toward snowy peak

These goals derive from Breckenridge’s SustainableBreck Plan, an initiative developed in 2011 to increase sustainable practices in the community. Since then, Breckenridge has made significant improvements in the areas of renewable energy and transportation, with focus still needed on waste management and water consumption. The town was also awarded a Mountain IDEAL sustainable destination certificate by the Global Sustainability Tourism Council and was recognized as a top 100 green destination.

hanging plants

Breckenridge’s sustainable journey begins with its impressive feats in clean energy. The town is home to two solar gardens, offering opportunities and incentives for residents to subscribe to a community solar garden, while enjoying a direct reduction in their electricity bills. Through the Solarize Summit Program, the town additionally offers a limited number of $1500 rebates per year for those hoping to add solar panels to their home or private property.

solar garden

Furthermore, in a bid to encourage electric vehicle (EV) use, Breckenridge currently hosts 48 public EV charging stations across town. This step signifies the town’s push for cleaner transportation— an integral measure to achieving its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035. The town additionally runs 5 electric free ride shuttles, with multiple shared shuttle options for your ride to the mountains.

EV charging station

In the realm of waste management, Breckenridge introduced the Zero Waste program, aiming to divert 40% of waste from the landfill through recycling and composting. This program was born from a unique collaboration between the High Country Conservation Center (HC3) and the town.

Breckenridge now boasts a state-of-the-art recycling center, operating under a “pay as you throw” model, incentivizing residents to reduce waste. Community-wide composting initiatives are also prevalent, with free food scrap composting offered at several locations, used to replenish local garden soils.

composting

This focus on composting seeks to close the loop on waste and providing a model for sustainable living. Breckenridge additionally promotes initiatives to bring your own bag, bottles, and reusable cups when shopping and dining.

woman filling up reusable water bottle

In terms of water conservation, Breckenridge’s efforts are no less commendable. The WaterSmart program uses an online portal to help residents understand their water usage and provides tips to conserve water. The town has additionally been working on watershed restoration projects, improving the health of local rivers and ensuring a stable water supply for the community and downstream users.

River running

The preservation of natural spaces has been another cornerstone of Breckenridge’s sustainability approach. The Open Space and Trails Program has preserved more than 4,500 acres of land for recreation and wildlife habitat.

Colorado mountains

Breckenridge additionally hosts the SustainableBreck Business Program, where local businesses can earn sustainability certifications. The program provides businesses with resources to minimize waste, conserve energy, and reduce their overall environmental footprint; this initiative not only promotes sustainable business practices but also fosters a greener local economy, fostering sustainability and attracting sustainably conscious consumers.

sustainable coffee shop

Breckenridge’s approach to sustainability is a multifaceted, community-driven journey, with a focus on change and education. The town seeks to implement innovative strategies to meet these goals, as well as educate its residents and visitors. From clean energy and waste management to water conservation and  education, Breckenridge sets a precedent for green initiatives within mountain communities and the sustainable tourism industry.

Written by Rosa Canales, Marketing Specialist