City of Colorado Springs / Environmental Sustainability / Sustainability Plan / Built Environment & Economic Development

Community goals and efforts around the built environment and economic development that we're learning about...

Pikes Peak Region Sustainability Project Stretch Goals state that by 2030, the built and natural environments complement one another and reflect our commitment to enhancing the lives of people; promoting community, culture, and commerce and preserving and protecting the natural environment. Achieving this goal means:

1.       New and redeveloped residential and commercial development is built to incorporate walkability, bikability, affordability, efficient high performance buildings, access to parks and trails, access to important services including grocery stores and work places and access to multiple forms of transportation.

2.       Existing communities are incorporating these same concepts as opportunities arise.

3.       All residents have access to a sustainable and comprehensive system of parks, open space and trails.

4.       Habitat in the region, including for threatened, endangered and imperiled species, is restored, protected and preserved.

5.       Indoor and outdoor environmental quality is healthy for all, with air pollutant levels below state and local health thresholds.

6.       Ground and surface water quality is better than designated water quality standards and classified uses (recreation, aquatic habitat, agriculture and/or water supply).

Also, that by 2030, the region will have a strong and diverse economy that supports and benefits from sustainability. Achieving this goal means:

7.       Gross metropolitan product (GMP) is increasing annually.

8.       A balanced and diverse economy is maintained to ensure economic resilience.

9.       Small businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups are increasing annually, with 50% of small businesses/start-ups able to obtain local capital/funding.

10.   Essential commodities such as food and energy are produced regionally at an increasing rate.

11.   95% of all households in the region are 20% or more above the regional definition for low income.


Fort Carson's long-term sustainable development goal incorporates high performance buildings, use of form-based principles and low impact development for storm water.  The end result is to "Create a community that encourages social, civic and physical activity while protecting the environment."  Strategies and actions to meet this goal will include use of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in all new construction and major renovations, meeting at least the Silver LEED level.  They plan to use form-based principles to encourage mixed-use development; greater pedestrian and vehicular connectivity; and open space or green infrastructure preservation through greater building concentration.  Fort Carson will also design and manage storm water using pre-development hydrology for all projects exceeding 5000 square feet and off-setting effects through the use of low impact development techniques.  The strategies, projects and activities associated with this goal relate to many other Installation sustainability goals such as energy, water, and transportation.


The Colorado College Long Range Development Plan promotes leadership in the application of sustainability principles. It specifies that all new building projects should strive to attain LEED certification. As of 2008, all new construction and major renovations follow comprehensive green building guidelines and are built to LEED Silver standards. The College is using LEED for Existing Buildings as a guide for full-systems approach to renovating & retrofitting existing buildings.  The design of campus buildings is to incorporate locally or regionally produced building materials. Materials used in hardscape, landscape, and building applications across campus are to be durable and low in maintenance as appropriate to the function of the building or space. The use of drought-tolerant and landscape plants is encouraged in areas across campus. The campus landscape incorporates stormwater management features such as pervious parking lots and vegetated areas to filter runoff.


As the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs expects to grow exponentially; they have identified LEED-Neighborhood Development as a model for more comprehensive sustainable design. All new buildings that are state funded must also meet LEED Gold standards. There are now four buildings on the campus that have LEED Gold certification. All other buildings must achieve LEED Silver or equivalent. They further plan to develop a comprehensive stormwater plan that mitigates stormwater runoff and decreases impervious surfaces.


The Colorado Springs Housing and Builders Association (HBA) has been involved in green building practices locally since 2002. A number of local developers and builders have been building Energy Star, Green Build and LEED-certified new homes and buildings for nearly a decade. Yet, the impacted of the recent economic downturn has slowed the green building movement locally, just as it has other construction efforts.


Colorado Springs Utilities has a LEED-certified water treatment facility and plans on considering LEED programs as part of the 2008 to 2012 Water Conservation Plan.


The United States Air Force Academy plans on improving the infrastructure of current facilities through improving building envelope thermal resistance; installing energy efficient lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation equipment; re-commissioning (tuning up) building systems; maximizing space utilization and replacing inefficient system components with high efficiency ones.


El Paso County states as one of their 2009 Strategic Action Plan goals that they will, "improve county transportation, buildings, facilities, infrastructure and technology." They also have an internal goal to improve the energy efficiency in their own buildings by 20% by the year 2020. 


And, here's what other communities are doing...




         Legislation to inventory surface parking lots in downtown Albuquerque and initiate an effort to redevelop them with higher density residential and mixed use projects.

         Establishment of a Sustainable Business Network to encourage green building technology and business development.

         All buildings must incorporate energy conscious design, maximum use of natural energy such as daylight, passive solar, and convection cooling and heating.

         Coordination of green building codes to promote high performance buildings.



         Require retrofit of indoor fixtures to meet current efficiency standards in the Uniform Building Code and leak repair for all existing single family and multifamily homes at the time-of-purchase.

         Develop energy efficiency standards for City-supported affordable housing, as part of the Housing Plan process.

         Add 100 new units of affordable green housing in Denver by 2011.

         Require that all new city buildings and major renovations be certified under the LEED Silver rating of the U.S. Green Building Council and meet EPA Energy Star Guidelines.

         Increase the incentives for energy efficient affordable housing to $1,250,000 within five years. Increase the funding available for energy efficiency improvements for low-income residences.

         Realize Brownfields redevelopment on 35 acres in Denver

         Minimize and mitigate land-use impacts to wildlife and important habitat and movement corridors, to the maximum extent practicable

Douglas County


         Support semi-rural development where it is logical infill, where approximately 50% of the property boundary is adjacent to zoned lands or parcel sizes consistent with the proposed development.

         Encourage homeowners associations, special districts, developers, and residents to implement standards that promote conserva­tion practices.

Fort Collins


         All new construction of City buildings will pursue LEED-NC Silver requirements; certification submissions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.


         HOME Green Building Guidelines as a resource for developers, home builders, and homeowners. These prescriptive green building guidelines are compatible with the LEED for Homes and DOE?s ENERGY STAR Homes program. As many as 11 homes built using the guidelines are expected to be completed in 2009.

         The Indianapolis Brownfields Redevelopment Program has identified 516 brownfields in Center Township and estimates approximately 1100 additional sites of concern exist within the 403 square mile city.  To date the city?s brownfields program has drafted, received and administered over 30 brownfield assessment / remediation grants on over 25 separate sites in past five years amounting to nearly $3,000,000.



         Identify zones, codes, permits, and procedures that do not support green design.

         Low-income and community-based public housing: City supported projects mandatory by 2006, incentivize developers of other types of commercial projects to build green.

         Streamline the lengthy approval process for existing buildings and infill to encourage green, high performance building.

         Develop demonstration projects for green building through public private partnerships.

         Green affordable housing is low impact, energy efficient housing, affordable to low to moderate income residents.

         Locating housing so that low-income families can live closer to schools and places of employment.

         New streets will consist of rain gardens, energy efficient streetlights powered by wind, porous pavement, and a drought-resistant tree canopy designed to shade the concrete.

         Promote developers to build sustainable structures through an incentive that allows them to build at a denser rate.

         Energy efficiency building codes that have mandatory and specific requirements for new buildings and buildings undergoing major refurbishments.

         Brownfield redevelopment to restore natural ecosystems

         Encouraging brownfield redevelopment, infill



         Acquire land for additional public green space in underserved neighborhoods and infill development target areas.

         Encourage infill development by offering pre-approved, customizable house plans for vacant and underused lots within the City?s aging neighborhoods.

         Cleanup, redevelop, and reuse areas that are brownfields.

         The SACOG Blueprint demonstrated how future population growth can be accommodated in a way that will reduce the consumption of open space, reduce auto dependency and greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and provide a greater variety of choices for people to live and work, when compared to build-out according to existing development trends.

Salt Lake City

         Evaluation and removal of design standards and use restrictions that unnecessarily impede infill and mixed-use development and thereby encourage sprawling development patterns that result in more vehicle trips, wasted gasoline and more GHG pollution.

         Overriding homeowner covenants that require high percentages of turf grass on lawns and common areas.

         Providing options for grey water use, especially for landscaping.

         Prohibition of homeowner covenants that restrict solar or wind installation and collection technologies.


         Incentive programs that encourage context-appropriate infill development in more mature areas of the city.

         Guide revitalization, redevelopment, and infill (new development in established areas) development to ensure that such development efforts are context-appropriate to the surrounding neighborhoods.

         Encourage green building and sensitive design techniques and alternatives in conjunction with infill development.

         Green Building Program encourages a whole-systems approach through design and building techniques to minimize environmental impact and reduce the energy consumption of buildings while contributing to the health of its occupants.


         Create parks that provide corridors for wildlife.