A $110,000 grant to help purchase a solar photovoltaic system was the cherry on the top of the Roaring Fork Club’s construction of a new affordable-housing project.
The private golf and fishing club in Basalt was one of the winners of The Randy Udall Energy Pioneer Grants from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE). The club will use the grant to install solar panels on the garages where homeowners and guests park their vehicles.
“Give CORE credit for not looking at the club through a different lens,” said Geoffrey Hasley, general manager and chief operating officer for the club.
CORE could have balked at providing a grant for a private club where cabins sell for multi-million dollars, he acknowledged. In reality, the project might not have been pursued if not for the grant sparking incentive, Hasley said.
The club’s board of directors approved covering the remainder of the cost of the project. The total cost is estimated at $320,000, according to Teri Bruna, construction coordinator for the affordable-housing project.
The 160-kilowatt system will generate the equivalent of 63 percent of the affordable-housing complex’s demand, according to estimates from project designers.
The Roaring Fork Club recently finished construction of 41 units of affordable housing. It constructed more than was required by the town of Basalt as part of the approval of an expansion of 13 lots for free-market cabins.
“We built more than what was required. Why? Our staff is extremely important to me,” Hasley said.
Investing in the work force is a clear-cut need, especially in the Roaring Fork Valley where there are more jobs than workers to fill them, he said.
The Roaring Fork Club previously had 19 units of affordable housing. It demolished those units and built 41 one-, two- and three-bedroom rental apartments in seven buildings at a different site at the club. Some of the affordable-housing units have stunning views downvalley, even better than the multimillion-dollar neighboring cabins.
It was a “green” project from the beginning. The club made appliances, cabinets, windows, doors and any other materials that could be salvaged available to the public prior to demolition. People jumped at the opportunity. One owner of rental cabins in Glenwood Springs snared several appliances and cabinets for upgrades in his units, Bruna said.
“We did save quite a bit from going to the landfill,” she said.
A time crunch prevented the club from salving even more of the old building. The old units had to be torn down by March. New modular buildings were hauled to the site in pieces and stitched together. The housing was completed by August.
The club reserves some of the units for rent to employees of the Basalt town government. Another building is available to the Aspen Skiing Co. during the winter months, when Skico is facing a housing shortage and the golf club has less demand for units.
Hasley estimated that the club has 100 full-time equivalent employees during summers and somewhere in the 80s during winters. He tries to keep people employed year-round so they have career opportunities. He also wants employees to put down roots, if they desire. The demand has grown among employees to return to the campus, he said.
Bruna said she hopes the solar PV project is a first step for renewable energy for the club.
The Randy Udall grants are named in memory of CORE’s founder and first executive director. The grants in his name are CORE’s largest and most competitive program. The annual awards provide funding to public agencies, affordable housing, schools, nonprofits and businesses for projects that use energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation to reduce carbon emissions. Grants are offered between $20,000 and $200,000.
“We’re proud to recognize these innovative projects that are supporting clean air, smart energy and will contribute toward a stable climate,” Mona Newton, executive director of CORE, said in a statement. “By using less energy, we can have the biggest impact on lowering carbon emissions and building a safer, healthier community.”