Mayor forms Sustainability Solutions Team

The Mayor has formed a Sustainability Solutions team tasked with reviewing best practices and making recommendations about the role of sustainability in Colorado Springs City government.  Interested parties were solicited by the Mayor’s Office and assembled on Dec. 6 for an initial meeting to discuss the meaning and role of sustainability. A team is going to make more formal recommendations over the course of the next few months on the role of conservation and sustainability for our City. Updates on this team and its recommendations will continue to be featured and highlighted on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cs.ois. The team is expected to make recommendations by the end of March 2013.

City's 2011 Greenhouse Gas Inventory

The City’s 2011 inventory of the organization’s green house gases continues a trend that mirrors service levels, rising from a low in 2010. The 2011 74,700 metric tons of green house emissions  are  equivalent to the amount of energy used by 3,844 homes annually, the sequestration capacity of 61 acres of conifer forest per year, or 321 railcars of coal.In 2011, the City was still well below its 2007 baseline - a year that well represents business levels before the recession’s economic impact. One of areas largely responsible for lowering the City’s emissions during this time was the darkening of streetlights, which account for about 20 percent of the City’s total emissions. Though not required by industry protocols, the City also tracks its emissions from employee commuting (fuel use) and trash disposal (gasses produced by the landfill), which each make up about 7 percent. Perhaps the most relevant year-to-year comparison is the average carbon footprint per employee, which may best capture operational reductions.    

Bicycle map makes great stocking stuffer

Looking for a thoughtful, creative stocking stuffer to get New Year resolutions off to the right start? The Colorado Springs Bicycle Mapis a comprehensive fold-out map on water- and tear-resistant paper that shows 100 miles of bicycle lanes, roadways with paved shoulders, 110+ miles of off-street multi-use trails, traffic volumes for roads without bicycle facilities, bike shop locations, parks and open spaces, Mountain Metro stops and park-n-rides, and steep streets to watch out for (or find – depending on how many holiday splurges you may have indulged in).  Visit  www.springsgov.com/bikemap to find a local bike map retailer or buy one online – they're $7.95 plus tax. Plus, map proceeds help fund future bicycle map updates and other bicycle-related improvements.  

Give! 2012 offers chance to support everything from recycling to the great outdoors

This year’s Give! 2012 campaign is on track to raise more funds and support more local non-profits than ever before. Why? Because donating will also get you cool rewards like coffee, gallery admissions, tacos and the chance to qualify to win a Heuburger Subaru car or SunShare solar panels. Nearly 20 green-minded non-profits are available for your support from Blue Star Recyclers to Chico Basin Ranch, from Coalition for the Upper South Platte to Rocky Mountain Field Institute, from Ellicott Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center to Pikes Peak Recycling on the Rise, plus many more worthy causes. The groups that get the most donors under the age of 36 will win additional cash prizes (up to $5,000 extra) and matching grants mean that even contributing the minimum $10 donation can add up to much more. Get involved in your community. Visit indygive.com  by Dec. 31 to learn about all of the participating non-profits, check out the rewards, and donate either time or money to the causes of your choice!  

Energy efficiency pilot returns better savings than predicted

In 2010, the City of Colorado Springs received a $3,666,100 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The City partnered with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to use a portion of the funds piloting a program to provideauditing and retrofits in collaboration with higher education institution students.The program offered participants an opportunity to have a free energy audit and report, with financial support for retrofits through CSU rebates and ARRA funds. Students (pictured) worked with Farnsworth Group – a local provider of professional grade commercial audits. Buildings varied by structure and style, including offices, schools and an apartment complex, to provide the students with a range of learning opportunities. Of the 15 participants audited, nine went on to finance improvements. Those nine averaged a 2.5-year estimated payback on their investment and collectively saved 206,000 kWhof electricity and 15,600 therms of natural gas. In a year-to-year comparison, the actual savings are better than had been predicted at 6 percent for electricity use and 15 percent for gas use, which translates into about $30,000 in cumulative annual savings back to participants’ bottom lines.

What is a solar friendly community and how do we become one?

Colorful road signs proclaiming "Solar Friendly Community" are about to start popping up around Colorado. But, what does being a Solar Friendly Community mean and how can Colorado Springs and other Pikes Peak region communities join Cities such as Denver to become one? On Dec. 12, Program Director Rebecca Cantwell will present Solar Friendly Communities’ 12 Best Practices: Roadmap to a Solar Friendly Community as a free City Green Bag Lunch-n-Learn on how communities can work on streamlining their processes and make solar permitting easier for both citizens and city or county staff. The new program offers a menu of 12 best practices and technical assistance to get any county, city or town on its way to achieving bronze, silver, gold or platinum recognition as a Solar Friendly Community. 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 have the opportunity to win a door prize tote bag made from recycled banners (pictured). Questions? Contact City of Colorado Springs Sustainability Coordinator Carrie McCausland, 719-385-CSGN (2746) or cmccausland@springsgov.com.

Going Greener:

Environmental Sustainability E-Newsletter from the City of Colorado Springs

Question? (719) 385-CSGN (2746) or cmccausland@springsgov.com.