Cascade Smartscape Challenge: Seeking regional talent to create beautiful & sustainable Streetscape Solution for Cascade median

The City of Colorado Springs is seeking regional talent to compete in the Cascade SmartScape Challenge sponsored by Xerox. Led by City Councilmember Brandy Williams and Mayor Bach’s Streetscape Solutions Team Leader Dave Munger, the competition seeks to recruit local professionals to help create a streetscape design concept for the future.  The demonstration’s goal is to enhance our community and beautify a central location in downtown Colorado Springs while demonstrating environmental and financial sustainability.  The median on Cascade Avenue between Pikes Peak Avenue and Colorado Avenue will be redesigned as a result of this community competition. The winning retrofit will incorporate beautiful cutting-edge design and concepts such as permeable surfaces, native and xeric plants, recycled materials, local materials and low maintenance materials.

Green Cities Coalition Annual Meeting Thurs. Jan. 26

The City of Colorado Springs is hosting the Green Cities Coalition’s fourth annual meeting at the Gold Hill Police Station Community Room, 955 West Moreno Avenue, on Thurs., Jan. 26. (This location is a site of some of the City’s latest energy efficiency retrofits.) The Green Cities Coalition is ready to take the next step… creating a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which can receive grants, have tax deductable dues-paying members and a paid coordinator. The coalition will share the group’s latest significant green initiatives - a great chance to network and get involved. It’s a potluck from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Please plan on bringing your own reusable plates, cups and utensils. RSVP with what food you'll be bringing to sustain@ppjpc.org.

40 tons of recyclables diverted from landfill by Greener Corners in 2011

The City of Colorado Springs and Greener Corners recycle/trash bins located throughout downtown and in major parks are seeing average diversion rate of 40 percent. That’s 40 tons of recyclables over 8 months with an estimated environmental equivalent of:

  • Saving 344 trees, or
  • Conserving 507,000 gallons of water (enough water to fill 23 swimming pools), or
  • Taking 31 cars off the road, or
  • Saving 668,895 KWh of energy (enough electricity to light 764 light bulbs for a year), or
  • Reducing oil consumption by 18,226 gallons, or
  • Averting 117,188 pounds of greenhouse gasses.
City employees send 600+ holiday cards to St. Judes for reuse

City offices often receive holiday cards from community businesses and appreciative residents. After the holiday season, the City is sending its cards to St. Judes Ranch to be reused. So far, more than 625 cards have been collected from offices and employees. St. Jude’s Ranch for Children turns them into new cards that can be purchased to help support their non-profit program. Those who come to the Mon. Jan. 30 Green Bag Lunch-n-Learn my also bring cards to be sent to the St. Judes program. Cards can also be reused locally for crafts, gift tags or postcards.  When recycling cards, first remember to remove felt, glitter, metallic foil, photos and any other non-paper items as these parts can’t be recycled and should be sent to the landfill. 

Ten firsts for Colorado Springs community in 2011

Looking back at 2011, there are many things for our community to celebrate. Here are just ten of them!

  1. First comprehensive Colorado Springs bike map
  2. First Air Force Academy solar array
  3. First community solar garden
  4. First self-funded public recycling in downtown and City parks through Greener Corners
  5. First WaterSense-certified home in Colorado
  6. First LEED for Homes Colorado Springs home
  7. First shared lane marking (sharrow)
  8. First car seat recycling event
  9. First road constructed with LED streetlights (Proby Parkway)
  10. First hybrid pothole truck in USA
City Supply-O-Grab invites community participation in office supply reuse effort

The City is cleaning out supply closets and before throwing items away or recycling them, it’s trying to find them a second home first – either in another City work group or with a local non-profit. For the last several years, the City has held an annual supply-swap. It helps reduce office supply costs, brings awareness to making prudent office supply purchases, promotes inter-departmental teamwork and shows respect for the Earth’s limited resources. Local businesses are invited to join the City’s efforts and donate any unwanted but usable office items on Friday, Feb. 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Monday, Feb. 6, following the internal event, local non-profit organizations (with proof of local, non-profit status) are invited to "shop" at no cost from remaining items from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and take whatever they can use. Typical supplies include 3-ring binders, printer cartridges, organization tools, microfiche machines and professional development materials. Furniture will not be available. Questions? Contact Cheryl Callahan at 385-5543.

Energy efficiency education at Pikes Peak Community College

In 2010, the City and Colorado Springs Utilities created a pilot program using Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) funds. The project, which united local college students and businesses interested in energy audits and retrofits, ended when the ARRA funds ran out in 2011. Yet, its legacy lives on through the connection made between Colorado Springs Utilities engineer Steve Doty and Pikes Peak Community College. Doty’s primary job is to perform energy audits for commercial and industrial customers. In fact, it was Doty who oversaw audits of several City-owned buildings in 2001 which ultimately lead to the retrofit of three facilities – the City Administration Building, Stertich Ice Arena and Senior Center. Doty, who is also a nationally-recognized energy efficiency author, is continuing to train the next generation via a state-approved Energy Management Technology Program now offered at Pikes Peak Community College. Students benefit from a mix of theory and practical applications. Those who complete the course will be prepared for certification from the Association of Energy Engineers and may also obtain an Associate in Applied Science degree. Ultimately, the City was so impressed with one of the participants from Doty’s 2010 project, that this person was later hired to serve as the City’s Energy Efficiency Services Administrator. For more information, read a Colorado Sustainability Record story or visit the Pikes Peak Community College web site.

Denver tour of sustainable, affordable housing

In December, a group made up of the Downtown Partnership, neighborhood organizations, local non-profits and City staff took a half-day trip to Denver to tour award-winning affordable, sustainable housing. The Denver Housing Authority’s Park Avenue development includes mixed income stacked flats, townhomes, commercial space, a Bike Share station and LEED-ND/ LEED-NC certifications. The sites incorporate principles of smart growth, new urbanism and green design such as geothermal and solar energy, low impact development stormwater systems and urban agriculture. Click here to watch a short, fun video of the tour from the City’s YouTube site.   

Pikes Peak Environmental Forum back for another educating season

Each month throughout the winter, dedicated Colorado Springs resident Michele Mukatis pulls together an opportunity for active community members to network and learn more about environment-related topics over lunch. It’s called the Pikes Peak Environmental Forum (PPEF) and it’s been around, in one form or another, for about 20 years. PPEF began as way for professionals specializing in environmental fields to earn continuing education credits. Over the years the topics have become somewhat less technical and appeal to a broad range of attendees.  February’s topic is "Agriburbia" and in March the City, also a 2012 PPEF sponsor, will present "Colorado Springs's Efforts Toward a Sustainable Future." While the presentations are free, attendees are expected to purchase and pay for a delicious lunch, usually at The Margarita at Pine Creek restaurant. To RSVP or be added to the e-mail notification list, contact PPEF coordinator Mukatis at ppefmichele@gmail.com.

What is the Living Building Challenge? Green Bag Lunch-n-Learn Monday, Jan. 30

On Monday, Jan. 30, local sustainability consultant and Living Building Challenge Ambassador Stella Hodgkins will provide an overview of this voluntary building standard, the most stringent of its kind.  As a free “Green Bag” Lunch-n-Learn she’ll share how certified buildings achieve net benefits to the natural environment. Just a few years ago being able to achieve this level of built environment construction might have seemed like science fiction, yet now more than half-a-dozen Living Building Challenge facilities exist. All certified projects meet exceptional green building requirements, such as integrating urban agriculture, preserving natural habitat area, achieving net zero water and energy, managing 100 percent of generated stormwater on-site, offsetting the project carbon footprint, creating an end-of-life materials management plan, including cultural features, providing public education/access and purchasing locally to support the regional economy. The 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, in Suite 102.

Going Greener


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.