Telluride citizens, per capita, have a larger carbon footprint than the Colorado or national average. As the winner of the Telluride Foundation’s inaugural Innovation Prize, the Pinhead Climate Institute will implement solutions to reduce this footprint, reducing the community’s fossil fuel consumption and establishing a local carbon registry. The Pinhead Climate Institute was one of three organizations that competed as finalists for the Innovation Prize on March 15th at the Elks in Telluride.
The three finalists pitched their ideas to a packed room of enthusiastic community members and a panel of judges. The other two finalist teams were: Liberty, a rural transportation start up, which came in second and was awarded $10,000 in matching funds to implement their plan; and Workahead, a start-up company based in Finland, that proposed to use employee surveys to help create fair working conditions and more inclusive workplaces.
The prize consisted of $50,000, which the Pinhead Climate Institute will use to work with local governments to apply regional and local carbon offsets to the Galloping Goose fleet of buses as well as to the airport and to destination events. In addition, they will develop a market-based carbon offset program, which will provide an opportunity to implement climate-beneficial practices on local farms and ranches.
The Innovation Prize contest was announced last October as an opportunity for local residents as well as anyone world-wide to suggest a solution for solving a real problem in the Telluride region. The Foundation created the process as a way to surface and discuss, as a community, local issues and solutions. The community was invited to comment on the three final applications for a month leading up to the final event. The winner was determined by a panel of judges as well as the audience whose vote counted for 30% of the decision. Judges included Telluride Foundation Board Members, Anne Andrew, Richard Betts, Joan May, and Jesse Johnson, as well as Foundation VP Innovations, Marc Nager.