Top 10 City of Colorado Springs Environmental Achievements in 2010
While 2010 was a difficult year for the City of Colorado Springs, the organization was still able to make significant non-mandated (voluntary) environmental steps forward:
  1. Completion of the municipal organization?s first greenhouse gas inventory  
  2. Contract to bring recycling receptacles to downtown and select City parks
  3. City Hall vegetable demonstration garden benefiting Care-n-Share
  4. Street Division Excellence in Recycling award for their leadership role in recycling waste tires
  5. Two Leadership in Efficient and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings
  6. Roadway test section comprised of 96% recycled material
  7. Revamped waste contract making recycling available to employee facilities
  8. Energy efficiency retrofits to the City Administration Building
  9. Collaboration toward development of regional sustainability goals
  10. Ranking as the 26th top government green fleet in the nation
Sustainability Goals for the Pikes Peak Region

Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) has finished the goal development phase of a Regional Sustainability Plan. Throughout the past five months, PPACG has involved over 70 organizations and individuals from throughout El Paso and Teller counties in focus group and consensus committee discussions in order to develop regional 20-year sustainability stretch goals. The goals are non-binding, yet serve to strengthen collaborative decision making among governments, non-profits, private individuals and businesses. The process followed the Statement of Commitment signed by Mayor Rivera in Spring 2010 to collaboratively pursue an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and prosperous future for the Pikes Peak region. City staff represented the City of Colorado Springs on technical focus groups (energy & water, materials management & procurement, build & natural environment, transportation, economic development, health, education and arts & culture) based on areas of expertise. Councilmember Martin represented the City on the Consensus Committee. The strategy development phase will begin on Thursday, Feb. 17 when PPACG hosts a kick-off meeting from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in their main conference room, 15 South 7th Street, Colorado Springs. The kick-off is open to the public and any interested person is invited to attend.

What to Know for Home Energy Audits (and Next Steps): Jan. 20 ?Green? Bag Lunch-N-Learn

What is a home energy audit? Chances are you can't call a friend or family member for a reference because they don't know either. On Jan. 20, professional energy auditors, Colorado Springs Utilities energy conservation experts and student initiatives (coPIRG's Energy Service Corps and Groundwork Colorado's "Take Charge!") will participate in a panel discussion to shed an eco-friendly light on home energy audits and retrofit resources. 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 City banners! Click here for more information.

City Staff Seek Knowledge about Green Building Practices

The City has been a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) since 2008. The third-party verification portion of the USGBC includes both building and professional Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation. The City has participated in the construction of two LEED certified building projects and has two more underway. In addition, the City has five LEED-AP certified employees. Thanks to a Pikes Peak Workforce Center (PPWC) green jobs grant, that number may soon rise to more than 20. (Click here for information on applying for the PPWC green jobs grant for your own employees.) The scholarships are allowing employees in the City?s housing development, development review, facilities management and other areas to participate with the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Colorado in a training that covers the LEED rating system, sustainable sites and water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. The City is providing a local training location so their employees and others in the region may attend without having to travel to Denver. (Click here for registration information. AGC also has grant funding to provide LEED-GA prep training to the building community.) This training means City employees will be better able to meet the needs of ?green? developers, knowledgeable about efficient and green construction practices as they provide community residential housing assistance and familiar with the efficient building practices that lead to lower costs at City facilities.

USGBC Wintergreen Event Brings HGTV Star to Colorado Springs Feb. 1
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Colorado Chapter Southern Branch?s 4th annual Wintergreen Event is at the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center at Colorado College on Tues. Feb. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Attendance is free and open to the public. The event features a local bluegrass band, appetizers and drinks (local and organic) and a brief presentation by Sean Smith, host of HGTV?s Professional Grade. This is a relaxed and fun opportunity to directly connect to those in the local green building industry.
Feb. 4 & 5 Peak to Prairie Landscape Symposium Embraces the American West
The Peak to Prairie Landscape Symposium is Feb. 4 & 5 this year. It?s ?American West? focus covers urban forests, native landscapes, xeric rock gardens, noxious weeds, stormwater management, low-maintenance landscapes, local food and efficient irrigation. The City?s own Connie Perry, from Land Use Review, will welcome attendees as Master of Ceremonies. According to the 2009 Pikes Peak Quality of Life Indicator Report, Colorado Springs has an average elevation of 6,035 feet and precipitation of 17.4 inches per year. This dry, semi-arid climate intensifies the need for supplemental water to sustain many landscapes, but with education and good design we can minimize water use while contending with the uncertainties of drought, global climate change and population growth. The Colorado Springs Utilities-supported event is held over both Friday and Saturday so professionals and residents alike may attend. Click here to register.
Water Conservation Pilot Projects Pay Off
Last spring, the City and Colorado Springs Utilities launched two water conservation pilot programs that proved successful. A tiered ?water conservation rate? applied to 132 parks challenged staff to water within an allocated water level. The result allowed parks staff to irrigate more effectively keeping parks healthier, while decreasing the incidence of overwatering by nearly 40%. (Due to budget restraints, 14 parks still fell considerably short of the ?ideal? amount of water needed.) The second efficiency project retrofitted 17 parks with a range of irrigation systems, rain sensors, irrigation controllers and irrigation designs. Irrigation efficiency increased 20% for water savings of nearly 3 million cf and utility savings of $91,000. If parks staff are available to maintain the systems, the retrofits are expected to pay for themselves in three summers for a 5-year savings of $400,000 and 142% return on investment. In 2011, the effort will continue (at a reduced level) with irrigation efficiency training, additional rain sensors, irrigation system controllers, pressure regulators and other equipment. The City is one of our community?s top 10 largest water users, with the parks system accounting for about 70% of overall use. As such, the parks pilot programs have the ability to identify top conservation strategies for other large irrigators as well.      
Jan. 26 is Final Academy Boulevard Corridor (ABC) Great Streets Meeting
Ideally, a ?Great Street? should reflect its neighborhoods with appropriate design; contribute to the city's economic vitality; provide good commercial location value to businesses that power the local economy; support provisions for safe, convenient travel and incorporate environmentally sensitive design. In October 2007, the Colorado Springs City Council designated portions of the Academy Boulevard Corridor as a "mature/redevelopment corridor." In the second half of 2008, City staff conducted a comprehensive land use, systems and issues assessment of the planning area. (Over 60,000 of the community's population live or work along this six-mile stretch of Academy Boulevard.) This effort recommended that a comprehensive transportation analysis and plan be completed in conjunction with a land use vision planning process. This 12-month Academy Boulevard Corridor Great Streets plan is drawing to a close and City staff wish to provide an overview of the planning results and draft recommendations. The City of Colorado Springs and Mountain Metropolitan Transit are hosting an Academy Boulevard Corridor (ABC) Great Streets public meeting from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., on Wed., Jan. 26. The meeting is at the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy, 4220 E. Pikes Peak Ave. (just east of Academy Boulevard). Citizens and business interests along the corridor are still encouraged to participate. The draft recommendations include corridor characteristics, future land uses, transportation/transit options and support for revitalization. Visit www.academyblvdgreatstreets.com to learn more.
Volunteers Needed for City Transportation Board
The City of Colorado Springs is seeking volunteers to serve on the Citizens Transportation Advisory Board (CTAB). CTAB advises City Council and staff on City multi-modal transportation matters such as trails, bicycling and pedestrian issues; trucking and freight movement issues; public transit issues and land development and construction issues. Meetings are the first Tuesday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. There?s a vacancy in District 4 (see map) and an at-large vacancy (applicants can live in any district in the City).  Those interested can send letters of interest and resumes, or fill out the Application for Appointment, and submit documents by Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 to mdevine@springsgov.com.
Going Greener - Upcoming Eco Events:

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.