Wear your heart on your sleeve - buy a t-shirt to support Springs sustainability today

MySustainovation is selling American-made, 100 percent cotton t-shirts to support the City’s sustainability efforts. Fifty percent of proceeds directly help fund the mission of the Office of Innovation and Sustainability (OIS). Look close and you’ll see that each $25 “My Sustainovation Matters” shirt features a tree emblazoned with images that convey the balancing act that sustainability is all about. To launch this effort, if you order one of the first 50 shirts, you might win your entire order free! You also have until Wednesday, Oct. 17 to order your shirt and get free shipping for pickup at the Colorado Sustainability Conference on Oct. 25-26 (use code: 2012CONF). Those who purchase their t-shirts by Oct. 31 can buy five and get a sixth t-shirt free (use code: FREESHIRT) or get free shipping if you can pick up your shirt in Colorado Springs (use code: PICKUP). If they sell 200 t-shirts in the month of October, OIS will solicit its first projects in November. Why does Sustainovation matter? Because we have a responsibility to conserve resources and think forward. It’s for our kids. It’s for a better future. It’s because we matter. Go to  http://www.mysustainovation.com/ or facebook.com/mysustainovation and enter the appropriate code at checkout.

Colorado Sustainability Conference Oct. 25 & 26 at the Colorado Springs Crown Plaza

With a target audience of business owners, educators and decision-makers in the private, public and military sectors, the Colorado Sustainability Conference's goal is to increase sustainable best practices.  This year’s “Tools for Change” theme will empower attendees to lead the way toward improving sustainability in their lives, businesses and community. Over two days attendees will hear from four keynote speakers, select from 16 breakout sessions, meet local businesses at the Sustainable Business Expo, check out an Alternative Fuels Car Show and go on a tour of local sustainable buildings. Register online at catamountinstitute.org. Reduced student, non-profit and Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network member rates are available. On Friday, Oct. 26 the Sustainable Business Expo is open to the general public for free from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Colorado Springs Fire Department pilots idle reduction technology

Fire Truck #1 is looking good. Not only has it been refurbished to like-new condition—at nearly 1/3 of the cost of purchasing a new one—it has also added idle-reduction technology from Green Star. A new ladder truck would cost the City of Colorado Springs approximately $750,000. By refurbishing the apparatus, utilizing department personnel and specialty vendors, the cost to give this piece of equipment a new lease on life was $265,090, a 65 percent savings. Truck #1 is the first refurbished CSFD apparatus to have the Green Star Technology installed to save on fuel costs, reduce emissions while idling, reduce maintenance cost and  extend its life. This is the second Green Star apparatus in the department's fleet. CSFD has refurbished eight apparatus over the past five years, saving the community over $1.7 million.

Scoop the Poop! Art Contest

Stormwater Engineering held a recent “Scoop the Poop!” art contest at Howbert and West Elementary Schools. Students were asked to submit drawings that focused on the importance of picking up pet waste in our local parks. In all, the City received over 100 entries with two winners selected from each school. These winning entries are being turned into public park signs. Pet waste is a huge problem in our city. 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 contained in pet waste can degrade our water quality. Plus, it’s unlawful to leave behind pet waste in city parks. Please help educate your neighbors on the importance of cleaning up pet waste.

Bicycle tour visiting new SCAMP art a big success

In September, approximately 30 people on bicycles visited seven SCAMP (Summer Community Art and Mural Program) art projects throughout the greater downtown area. The ride learned how neighborhood and community members helped to conceptualize and participate in the creation of mosaics and murals using primarily reused, donated materials. The non-profit Concrete Couch and the City of Colorado Springs teamed up with businesses and organizations to make the art possible. The ride, facilitated in partnership with the Colorado Springs Bicycling Club, began and ended during the highly successful Better Block Pikes Peak event.

Colorado Springs Utilities named a WaterSense Partner of the Year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has honored Colorado Springs Utilities as a 2012 WaterSense Partner of the Year for encouraging water efficiency in the Colorado Springs area. In 2011, Colorado Springs Utilities engaged consumers and local businesses in the water efficiency movement by offering them personalized ways to get involved. The organization’s YOUtilities YouTube video contest inspired customers to document the ways in which they save water and energy at home. The contest, which aimed to create consumer advocates for water-efficient products and practices, produced a number of informing and entertaining videos for the community to enjoy. In 2011, a team effort led by Colorado Springs Utilities, along with local builder Wayne Intermill, EnergyLogic, Inc., and 2008 WaterSense Retailer Partner of the Year Ferguson Enterprises, resulted in the first WaterSense-labeled home in Colorado located in the Gold Hill Mesa neighborhood. During the three-week 2011 Parade of Homes, 5,000 visitors explored the WaterSense-labeled home, which also became the first home in Colorado to receive LEED® for Homes certification and ENERGY STAR® qualification. Also last year, Colorado Springs Utilities issued more than 4,500 water efficiency rebates to customers, resulting in a savings of 23,078,060 gallons of water. They further helped hundreds of commercial kitchens save water by offering them free, water-efficient pre-rinse spray valve nozzles for cleaning dishes. The commercial retrofit program helped facilities save more than 20 million gallons of water in 2011. Congratulations!

Urban Land Institute Downtown report released

In late June, a panel of experts with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) made a series of recommendations to help downtown highlight and leverage its assets to affect a downtown renaissance by identifying high payoff actions and improvements. The final report, just released, concluded by stating that the time has come to communicate a clear vision for downtown—what downtown can mean for greater Colorado Springs. They felt that Downtown’s brand must be on the lips and in the thoughts of every business owner and resident of the city and that the culture of Colorado Springs must identify with downtown. To achieve this, the panel recommended long-term development strategies to build capacity along with projects such as the Arts and Entertainment Village and residential development that can cement Colorado Springs’ prominence in the region, state and nation. The panel has made recommendations for short-term analyses of existing policies, processes, programs and organizational structures that should begin to rebuild confidence, understanding and ownership around the priorities for downtown Colorado Springs. The panel also suggested short-term early actions that can help downtown build momentum and interest in its revitalization. The short-term, immediate actions should emphasize the necessity for a safe, clean and green downtown where both residents and visitors choose to shop, wine, dine and to play, work and live.

Pikes Peak Tour of Sustainable Buildings Saturday, Oct. 27

Come learn how to improve energy efficiency and tap clean renewable energy to cut utility bills in businesses, homes and public buildings. The event is organized by the non-profit Southeastern Colorado Renewable Energy Society (SECRES) and teamed this year with the Colorado Sustainability Conference. The Expo features energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building companies showcasing their products and services, with demonstrations of renewable energy systems. The Expo exhibits are FREE at the Colorado Springs Utilities Conservation and Environmental Center, 2855 Mesa Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80904. The Tour consists of homes and businesses in the Colorado Springs area that are taking advantage of sustainable building and clean solar energy. The tour is open house style and tickets are $2 for adults and free for ages 15 and below and CRES members. Printed brochures with tour maps and exhibit information are available for $5 ($1 for CRES members). The Expo and Tour run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

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, the program has inspired local grade schools, a college, businesses, apartment complexes 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. 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.

All Pikes Peak Reads: Survival... via Sustainability Photo Snap-off

Colorado Springs Sustainability and Pikes Peak Library District have teamed up to create a facebook photo contest to honor this year’s All Pikes Peak Reads selections surrounding the theme of survival. Whether or not you've read this year’s books, we can all relate to the need to prepare for devastating emergencies, food security via local food and resource conservation via recycling. Check out the Office of Innovation and Sustainability facebook page and the Sustainability Photo Snap-Off! Submit and/or vote on pictures of yourself engaged in actions relating to Recycling and/or Local Food through Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2012. One winner in each category will be selected, based on the number of votes, to win prize totes filled with more than $200 in local, sustainable goods.

  • The Local Food prize contains: a Grant Family Farms sampler share (1 week of medium veggie share, fruit share and 1 dozen farm fresh eggs), Ranch Foods Direct family bundle of Callicrate beef, Pizzaria Rustica gift certificate, Pikes Peak Urban Gardens DVD Guide to Growing Vegetables in the Pikes Peak Region, reusable Waste Management aluminum water bottle and reusable Waste Management grocery bag all packaged in a tote made from reused City banners.
  • The Recycling prize contains: three months of advertising on a Greener Corners bin, a gift certificate for Salvation Army shopping; four Wine Punts drinking glasses made from reused wine bottles; durable REI coffee press mug; reusable Waste Management aluminum water bottle; gift certificate to Ranch Foods Direct; Bestway Recyclerrific t-shirt, hat, first aid kit and reusable grocery bag all packaged in a tote made from reused City banners.

So snap into action entering your pictures early and getting your friends to vote as if the end of the world were near. (You never know, it just might be.) 

Green Bag Lunch-n-Learn: DIY Winter Energy Efficiency Wednesday, Oct. 17

Whether you want to save the earth or some money, energy efficiency makes good “cents.” At the Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 Green Bag Lunch-n-Learn, City of Colorado Springs Energy Efficiency Services Administrator Cathy Crawley and Colorado Springs Utilities Sr. Conservation Specialist Doug Bursnall will gather local expertise to share unbiased, hands-on tips to help you get your home ready for winter. 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. Attendees are encouraged to bring and enjoy their lunches during the presentation. Those who come also have the opportunity to win a door prize tote bag made from reused City banners. This event qualifies as a passport event for the Pike peak Library District’s All Pikes Peak Reads program. Each month, the City Office of Innovation and Sustainability sponsors a lunch-n-learn topic on an environmental issue. Questions? Contact City of Colorado Springs Sustainability Coordinator Carrie McCausland, 719-385-CSGN (2746) or cmccausland@springsgov.com.

Going Greener: