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Colorado Springs sustainability bicycle tour Sat. July 16

Join a free sustainability tour via bicycle from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (three stages - duck in and out for any stage) on Sat. July 16. The tour meets and finishes at Gold Hill Mesa. It?s a chance to see the great sustainability achievements already occurring. Participant will spend more time touring than bicycling - with food and beverage opportunities along the way! The tour includes traditional neighborhood development, old urbanism, chickens, a green restaurant, residential infill, urban forest, mini-murals and urban gardens. Gold Hill Mesa is hosting eco-toasting with free appetizers and refreshments at the end of the ride. If you're reluctant to chug up the hill at the end of the ride, a propane-powered sag wagon will give you a lift. Last year's ride is pictured.

 
Community invited to join the "Art of Recycling"
In 2009, the City Green Team wanted to increase single-stream recycling at City facilities, but had no funding for indoor recycling bins. Their creative solution "closes the loop" and goes one step further by incorporating reuse. You see, their bins were formerly a heavy cardboard shipping byproduct. Through a partnership with BETTR Recycling and the help of Cottonwood Center for the Arts and inspired employees, the shipping barrels were decorated and turned into recycling collection containers. Since its launch two years ago, the program has inspired three local grade schools, a college, international business, an apartment complex and others to expand or launch their own single-stream recycling programs using the barrels. When damaged or no longer needed, the barrels can be recycled. The City has received a new shipment of barrels and those interested in using some in their program may contact Sustainability Coordinator Carrie McCausland at cmccausland@springsgov.com or (719) 385-2746. Click here to learn more. The City also has a number of the barrels set up for trash, recycling, and compost collection (created by BETTR Recycling) available for use at small public events. 
 
Bicycles roll through Colorado Springs summer
  • More than 60 people turned out for the free bicycle tree tour held on World Environment Day in June (pictured) to explore our local urban forest. The tour is posted on-line for use by residents and tourists. (We're also looking for a volunteer to provide tree GPS coordinates and summer photos.)
  • This year?s Bike to Work Day event broke records with more than 1100 participants. City employees turned out to show their support in droves. The Police Department prevailed in a challenge between the fire and police employees. A challenge between government agencies? El Paso County, Colorado Springs Utilities, and the City of Colorado Springs (non-public safety) resulted in City employees doubling former participation and bringing home the "Wheels of Gold Winners Cup."  The corporate challenge winners were Palmer Land Trust, Young Life, LSI, and Atmel. LSI had over 70 riders and won the catered lunch from Chipotle.
  • Have you seen the new shared lane markings (sharrows)? After the first installation on North Tejon Street, the City has installed shared lane makings on Hancock, Pikes Peak and Colorado Avenues from Memorial Park to America the Beautiful Park. City staff are now identifying additional locations where shared lane markings can be used. Click here for more information.
  • The City of Colorado Springs, in cooperation with the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, is sponsoring a volunteer traffic count effort to record bicycle and pedestrian use on area trails and bike lanes on Wed., July 20 and Sat., July 23. Counts will be collected at 14 locations around the community. The data helps the City prioritize project needs. Click here to volunteer. 
 
Kids share "Scoop the Poop" message
Pet waste is a problem. Not only is it a nuisance, but it can also carry viruses and bacteria that are extremely harmful to humans and animals in our watershed. In addition to the risk of diseases, the organic matter and nutrients contained in pet waste can degrade our water quality. That?s why several kids in our community are sharing their artistic talents by participating in the City Stormwater Division?s pet waste poster contest and pledge (pledgers get a free pet waste bag dispenser). You can expect to see signs like this one in parks and along trails reminding all of us to do our part and pick up after our pooches. Click here to see more fun kid-created signs. Click here to learn more about the pet waste program.
 
Garden of the Gods programs feature local, natural environment
The staff and volunteers at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center strive to convey respect for our Front Range natural environment - even the less assuming animals. City employees and volunteers staff the free information center (with over 30 nature exhibits) and provide education programs. Their effort must be working because the Bat Walks, hosted every Tuesday evening, have a waiting list through the rest of the summer. Yet, there are still opportunities such as the honey ant presentations, held on some Sundays, and wildflower walks, held some Thursdays and Sundays, available. To serve the 1.7 to 2 million people who visit every year, they also host 45-minute walks every day in the Garden of the Gods Park at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Reservations are required for most programs, call (719) 219-0108. The Center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Use this link to watch a video about discovering Garden of the Gods Park and see below for more program dates and times.
 
Strategic conservation planning using a green infrastructure approach workshop
The Pikes Peak Council of Governments, in collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies, including the City of Colorado Springs, is coordinating a workshop on Green Infrastructure. It?s presented by The Conservation Fund and is particularly pertinent to those interested in land use, stormwater and parks. The Conservation Fund?s working definition of Green Infrastructure is: Strategically planned and managed networks of natural lands, working landscapes and other open spaces that conserve ecosystem values and functions and provide associated benefits to human populations. The general public workshop day is July 25. On this day participants will discuss what Green Infrastructure is and how and why to plan for it. The cost is $20 (valued at $241) and lunch is provided. Registration is required ? click here to register.
 
Clicking off computers for cost savings
Computer power management software purchased with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds is reporting baseline data from about City 1000 computers (1500 computers are not yet integrated). The data show that about 40% of employees are currently saving the City energy by turn their computers off when done for the workday and 80% turn off their monitors. The City?s estimated average computer consumption is 35 KWH per month for a monthly energy cost of about $2.50 per computer. Based on this, the City spends an estimated $73,000 per year on energy associated with computer systems. Turning computers and monitors off when not in use (by those who don?t already do so) could save the City roughly $30,000 per year.  A computer power management systems pilot project and energy conservation challenge will launch this summer to work toward this goal.
 
Assessment sheds light on energy plug loads
Also a result of the Pikes Peak Workforce Center youth employment program, an intern assessment of 19 City facilities revealed that 50% of employee task lighting used incandescent light bulbs, 20% used CFL light bulbs, and 30% had other bulb lighting (such as halogen or fluorescent). Through a Colorado Springs Utilities program (that residential customers can also take advantage of) 68 incandescent light bulbs (pictured) were replaced by CFL light bulbs. The effort also revealed that the average annual energy plug load cost for some electronics (radios, clock radios, fans, digital picture frames, toasters, and shredders) were very low - less than $2 per year, while the others (refrigerators, mini-refrigerators, heaters, and tea-makers) were relatively high. City staff plan to use the information in energy conservation and education efforts with employees. Read More...
Managing facility utilities through Energy Star
Using intern assistance provided through a Pikes Peak Workforce Center youth employment program, the City has entered more than 50 of its facilities into the free Energy Star Portfolio Manager on-line energy management tool. Portfolio Manager allows those who own, manage, or hold properties to track and assess energy and water consumption across their entire portfolio of buildings. City staff intend to use Portfolio Manager to set retrofit priorities, identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements and measure conservation programs. The City?s largest facility, the City Administration Building, has achieved a rating that qualifies it for Energy Star certification. The list of US cities with the greatest number of energy-efficient buildings that earned Energy Star certification in 2010 is headed by Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Chicago; New York; Atlanta; Houston; Sacramento; Detroit; Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver (with 156 buildings) in that order.
 
LED streetlights with social media and Sky Sox
LED streetlights have been shown to use up to 50 percent less energy while lasting 10 times longer than traditional streetlights. An American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grant is allowing for an LED Streetlight Pilot Program to retrofit a total of 430 streetlights throughout the community.  Recently, nearly 300 streetlights along larger roads were retrofitted. This summer, in collaboration with Colorado Springs Utilities, the program is expanding to 130 LED streetlight retrofits in residential neighborhoods. The City is using social media and events to conduct drawings from the general public to designate those locations ? 30 of the streetlights are already in place. Baseball fans at Sky Sox games on July 19 and Aug. 9 will see a LED streetlight demonstration and have the chance to win. Right now on facebook or twitter, you also have the chance to win LED streetlights for your entire neighborhood! Of course, saving energy is a winning home run in any scenario.
 
Think local ? Shop your neighborhood farmers market
It?s July and all nine Colorado Springs farmers markets are in full swing. You probably know that making purchases from local food producers contributes toward a thriving local economy. Bud did you also know that farmers markets have the ability to generate financial vitality for neighborhoods that surround them? A Project for Public Spaces study found that 60% of farmers market shoppers also visited nearby stores on the same day; of those, 60% said they visited those additional stores only on days that they visited the market. Another study found that each dollar in direct sales adds another 41.3 cents in secondary effects and 2 cents in tax revenue. The Colorado Farmers Market Association keeps a comprehensive list of farmers markets across the state. Get started by visiting the markets near your home or work to the find one(s) that suit your schedule and needs. Then, get to know your rancher or farmer (tip: not all vendors sell exclusively local produce). Finally, enjoy some of the best food Colorado (or anywhere) has to offer!
 
Denver Housing Authority shares sustainable affordable home successes: City green bag lunch-n-learn Thursday, July 28
From urban gardens to geo-thermal, Denver?s Housing Authority (DHA) is successfully weaving sustainability into their development efforts. On Thursday, July 28, DHA?s Ryan Tobin will share the sustainability components and finance mechanisms for several of their more recent affordable housing projects. Examples include the Park Avenue project (rehabilitating189 units, building 91 new units seeking LEED-ND certification at the gold level, building 89 units seeking LEED for Homes certification at the platinum level (as a pilot project) and more than 200 other mixed-income new construction units), the South Lincoln project (scheduled for $22 Million in funding to continue development with 5 phases of new construction, 90 units each, that will seek LEED-NC certification at the gold level, provide a community center and incorporate access to healthy, local food), the Hirschfeld Tower (where 209 units are served by geo-thermal heat through an energy efficiency performance contract) and a sustainability park and urban farm partnership with Denver Urban Gardens. The free lunch-n-learn runs over the noon lunch hour, from 12:11 to 12:49 p.m. at the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada Ave., in Suite 102. Attendees are encouraged to bring and enjoy their lunches during the presentation. Those who come have the opportunity to win a door prize tote bag made from recycled City banners. Click here for more information.
 
Going Greener - up-coming events:
Sat. July 16 - Garden of the Gods 9 a.m. Wildflower Walk 
Tues. July 19 ? USGBC Air Force Academy Solar Array Tour
Sun. July 24 - Garden of the Gods 11:30 a.m. Honey Ant Presentation
Mon. to Wed. July 25 to 27 ? Green Infrastructure Workshop
Wed. July 27 - Canon Teen Extreme (Pinnacle Painting)
 

Environmental Sustainability E-Newsletter from the City of Colorado Springs

Question? (719) 385-CSGN (2746) or cmccausland@springsgov.com. 
This e-newsletter funded by the State of Colorado Department of Local Affairs and City of Colorado Springs.