A Resource for Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, and Sustainable Practices. TELLERENERGY.com is a partnership project of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Teller County, and the Governor’s Energy Office. Our goal is to increase energy efficiency and promote renewable energy opportunities in Teller County, Colorado.

Energy Tip February 3, 2015

 rugLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Cover all bare floors. Carpeting or rugs add to comfort and heat retention, especially if there is little or no floor insulation.



Meet with the Southeastern Colorado Renewable Energy Society Feb. 11

SECRESChat with the SECRES Board

5:30-7 PM Wednesday, February 11th

Agia Sophia Coffee Shop, 2902 W Colorado Ave., Colorado Springs 80904

Do you have a passion for getting involved in educating the community on clean energy issues?  SECRES has elected a new board and is planning our upcoming year.  We are looking for people who can help us expand upon the work we have been doing for the last year with this clean energy EPC group and add more educational events this year.  Please stop for an informal chat.  Share your thoughts.  Find out more about SECRES and consider joining our group if you aren’t already a member.  See how you can help. http://secres.org/


Public Input Meeting for the Electric Integrated Resource Plan Feb. 11

EIRP energy collage

Next public meeting
Wednesday, Feb. 11
6:00 p.m.
Conservation and Environmental Center, 2855 Mesa Rd.
In the world of energy planning, one size certainly doesn’t fit all.  Colorado Springs is just one of 2,000 cities and towns that obtain their electricity through public power – or electricity that’s generated from a community-owned and operated utility. Each city is different and reflects the values and assets available to its utility. At Colorado Springs Utilities, we address our community’s electric needs through the Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP), which is designed to meet our future-energy demand. The result is a plan that focuses on safe, reliable power that is respectful of the environment, while minimizing costs to ratepayers.
As a requirement for purchasing federal hydroelectric power from the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), we must conduct a thorough technical analysis and diligent public process once every five years. Changing factors, such as regulations, cost of service, new technologies and customer preference, could trigger an EIRP update at any time.

Challenges & opportunities
The energy industry, and Colorado Springs Utilities, is at an exciting crossroads of evolving technology – whether it’s helping customers reduce demand, taking advantage of renewable energy or deploying distributed generation technologies such as solar gardens. As digital and wireless capabilities advance, the demand on electricity continues to grow, just as technologies for greater energy efficiency, renewable energies and cleaner emissions continue to evolve.

Why now?
Some of the factors impacting the new EIRP include:

  • Incorporating the Drake Decommissioning Study’s data from engineering firm HDR, Inc.
  • New proposed environmental regulations for carbon dioxide CO2)
  • Colorado Renewable Energy Standards
  • Grid and cyber security requirements
  • Demand response (incentives for customers to reduce demand during peak times)
  • Customer feedback and budget considerations
  • Market risk of natural gas
  • Cost of service: fuel prices and overall bill impact
  • Interest rates
  • The current Energy Vision and UPAC’s Proposed Energy Vision
  • Load forecasts

Framing a long-term policy that will help navigate our plan of action for years to come is a process that blends technical analysis and public participation.

How will the public be involved?
A volunteer Customer Advisory Group (CAG) has been assembled that is representative of residential, commercial and military interests. The CAG is just one aspect of an overall community engagement plan that includes presentations to the community, surveys and public meetings.

Four public meetings are currently scheduled throughout 2014-1015.

Energy Tip January 27, 2015

Little owl11ThermostatEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Change your thermostat settings. In the winter, set your thermostat at 60° F when you are sleeping or gone. Set the thermostat to 68° F when you are at home. This can save 10 percent or more on your heating bills every winter.

Case Study: 10 Garfield churches take steps to boost energy efficiency

Case Study - Res

Case Study - Churches2On sunny days, Bill Cook likes to check the meter that tracks electricity produced by the solar array installed at the First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs. If it’s “running the other direction,” he says, it means the church is saving money rather than paying for electricity. Cook, who is the chair of the church’s Capital Improvements Committee, is especially proud on those days.

First United, whose project the Post Independent featured over the summer, is just one Garfield County congregation to install energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems. Since 2011, Garfield Clean Energy, which is managed by CLEER, has helped 10 church congregations across the county become better energy stewards.Case Study - Churches1

Churches in Parachute, Rifle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale have invested in solar arrays, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems and controls, insulation and LED lighting.

“Churches that save money on energy costs will have more funds to focus on their primary mission,” said Shelley Kaup, an energy coach for Garfield Clean Energy. “They are also practicing good stewardship for the Earth and helping to preserve its resources for future generations.”

Please find the entire article here

Climate Change: The Latest Science, Why It’s Serious, and What We Can Do About It



The Pikes Peak Chapter of IEEE along with the Southeast Chapter of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society is very pleased to have Dr. Chuck Kutscher speak on climate change.  Dr. Kutscher is uniquely qualified to not only discuss the science of climate change, but also to detail actions that we can take to make meaningful reductions in greenhouse emissions.

Dr. Charles (Chuck) Kutscher is Director of the Buildings and Thermal Systems Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. He has led research in solar heating and cooling, energy efficiency, solar industrial process heat, power plant cooling systems, and concentrating solar power. He is a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and served as ASES Chair in 2000-2001. He was the Chair of two major conferences: the SOLAR 2006 national solar energy conference and the 2012 World Renewable Energy Forum. Dr. Kutscher is editor of the 200-page ASES report, Tackling Climate Change in the U.S., which details how energy efficiency and six renewable energy technologies can greatly reduce U.S carbon emissions by 2030. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he has taught courses in engineering and “Climate Change Solutions.” He has a B.S. in physics from the State University of New York at Albany, an M.S. in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois, and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Date: 24-February-2015
Time: 07:00PM to 08:30PM (1.50 hours)
All times are: America/Denver

Building: Penrose Library
Room Number: Carnegie Reading Room

20 N. Cascade Ave.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
United States 80903


No Admission Charge.

Click here to register

Energy Tip January 20, 2015

Little owl11Recycle_LogoEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  It takes a lot of energy to make new containers, paper products and packaging. One of the important ways to save energy is to reuse and recycle your paper, metals, glass, plastics, cardboard and other industrial materials.

Environmental, Health and Economic Benefits of Clean Energy

SECRESEPA Clean Power Plan and Coal Mining Association

Response to the November 3, 2014 Gazette article by Stuart Sanderson, CEO of the Colorado  Mining Association: Colorado has been in the forefront in diversifying its economy and its electricity production by increasing its reliance on its rich renewable energy resources, while maintaining relatively low electricity rates.  Portions of the Front Range which have sought opportunities to increase investments in innovative clean technologies have seen steady growth.   The EPA’s Clean Power Plan provides new incentives to continue to modernize our electricity system while saving money over time. Polls have proven time and again that those of us living in the West want to preserve our clean air and water.  We understand that reducing pollution from our electricity and energy production plays a key part in preserving our quality of life.  Climate protection ranks high among the goals of voters around the country, with voters in Colorado and other swing states overwhelmingly endorsing the proposed Clean Power Plan, including  61 percent of undecided voters and nearly half of Republican voters.  Hart Research Associates, October 2014, http://www.nrdcactionfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/FINAL-Swing-State-Voters-on-Climate-Change.pdf.   Voters are much more likely to vote for both Republican and Democratic candidates who want to promote more renewable energy development.  Colorado College State of the Rockies poll, Conservation and Voting, 2014.  https://www.coloradocollege.edu/dotAsset/952beeaf-16a1-43ce-b53e-54eafc3a9a23.pdf. Find the entire article here

Join Leaders in Commercial Real Estate at the Rocky Mountain Green Conference


For more information or to register click here

Rocky Mountain Green is Colorado’s premier green building conference and expo, designed by and for professionals working on high performance projects. Learn from experts, earn GBCI/Real Estate/AIA continuing education hours and grow your business at Rocky Mountain Green! The 2015 conference will be held April 2-3 in Denver, Colorado.

Opening Keynote – Regeneration: The Future of Development in Colorado

Thursday, April 2 education programs, exhibits, and happy hour all take place at the Hyatt Regency Colorado Convention Center.

Friday, April 3 workshops, tours and community service activities take place offsite, at various locations throughout downtown Denver.

U.S. Green Building Council Colorado (USGBC Colorado) staff and a committee of volunteers produce Rocky Mountain Green.  Corporate sponsors and exhibitors also help make Rocky Mountain Green possible.

Pikes Peak Environmental Forum – The Hayden Survey Updated – Jan. 23

An opportunity to learn more about things that affect our natural world.

Pikes Peak Environmental Forum

The Hayden Survey Updated

Tom Huber from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will show us how things have changed since the original mapping of the region by comparing the original drawings with photographs taken recently.

Click here to learn more.

(See below for full schedule.)

RSVP to Michele Mukatis
at 231-6265 or by replying to this email by January 21. 
Please include your name, telephone number and number in your party.
RSVPs are helpful for set-up and staffing.

Please forward to anyone you feel would benefit.
If you have questions, comments or special requests, please do not hesitate to make them known.
Thanks and we hope to see you on January 23 from 12-2!

The Margarita at Pine Creek offers two options for lunch: unlimited soup and salad or an entrée. Both include bread and dessert. Drinks cost extra. Tax and tip is included in the bill you receive from your server.

2015 Schedule
February 27 Allison Plute, Fountain Creek Watershed District

March 27 Tamara Geene:
Wild Edible Plants, Earth’s Gifts for Health

April 24 Howard Drossman: The Teaching and Research in Environmental Education (TREE) Semester

September 25 Megan Anderson: Using Seismology to Predict Weather Events

October 23 Palmer Land Trust, Protecting our Open Spaces and Wild Lands

2015 Details

Fourth Friday, January through April, September and October
January 23
February 27
March 27
April 24
September 25
October 23

The Margarita at Pine Creek

There is no cost to attend due to our amazing sponsors!
(The cost of the lunch is the attendee’s responsibility.)

Adams Bank and Trust
Black Hills Energy Corporation
Blue Planet Earthscapes
Horizons Sustainable Financial Services
Old Town Bike Shop
Terra Essentials

If you have an interest in presenting or a topic you feel could be addressed, please let Michele know at ppefmichele@gmail.com.

I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise, what is there to defend? ― Robert Redford, Yosemite Nat’l Park Dedication

Green Cities Coalition Annual Sustainability Summit 4 “On the Same Page” Jan. 29


 Visit the Green Cities Coalition Website here

We hear it all the time among sustainability activists and champions – “We all need to get on the same page!”Yes we do! And for the past seven years, people who are passionate about a sustainable Pikes Peak region have been getting on the same page through the events, programs and initiatives of the Green Cities Coalition.The need for cooperation and collaboration is more urgent than ever. The GCC invites everyone to get “On the Same Page” at our 7th annual gathering and birthday party!

We’ll have working group sessions around energy, food, recycling, transportation and water issues – as well as networking for businesses and a volunteer/intern expo. Do you have a business in need of customers or vendors, or a nonprofit in need of interns?
Click here to register now!

We’ve invited Richard Jurin, director of the Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program at University of Northern Colorado, to discuss overcoming barriers to collaboration – over a locally sourced and organic dinner provided by Seeds Community Café.


Case Study: Repairs after house fire cut energy bills in half

Case Study - ResCase Study - Res3

  Read the entire article here

After an electrical fire charred the interior of their Glenwood Springs home two years ago, Keith and Jan Giezentanner replaced windows, doors, appliances, lights and the heating system with energy-efficient models.

The result is that the couple’s electric bills are half what they were before the fire and their pellet stove consumes two-thirds less fuel. As an extra bonus, they now have a cooling system that keeps the whole house comfortable on baking summer days.

By making smart choices during the six-month rebuilding process, the Giezentanners are saving about Case Study - Res2$1,000 a year on their combined electric bills and pellet fuel costs.

“It’s worth it to spend a little more out front, because you’re going to get it back,” Keith said.

CLEER Energy Coach Erica Sparhawk also helped explain energy efficient technologies and helped the Giezentanners make the most of rebates available from Glenwood Springs Electric and Garfield Clean Energy. By purchasing highly efficient windows, LED light bulbs, Energy Star appliances and a new heating and cooling system, they qualified for $1,400 in rebates to offset costs.

“It was a real pleasant surprise to get those rebates,” Jan said.

The biggest system change was to get rid of the electric baseboard heating system entirely, and replace it with a mini-split air source heat pump. The unit is in two parts, a condenser that takes up a few square feet on their back patio and a ventilation unit mounted on the wall in their living room

The Fujitsu electric-powered heat pump can draw heat from outside air down to about 15 degrees. On a recent 20-degree morning, the system was pushing comfy warm air into the room, heating the entire main and second floor.

Energy Tip January 6, 2015

refrigerator_2Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Little owl11Remove old items from the refrigerator regularly, so you don’t waste electricity keeping them cold all the time.

CSU Extension Energy Master Program 2015

Energy Master 2015

How does our energy system really work today? What are the costs and benefits of different energy futures? What energy options are right for you and your community?

Colorado State University Extension is offering up to 30 hours of energy education covering our current energy system, energy policy, renewable energy, transportation alternatives, climate change, home efficiency, options, energy innovations, and more. Whether you’ve always been curious about our energy system or if you’ve been learning about energy for years, the program has something for you.

 Flexible participation—take 1 or more courses; Energy Master certification optional

 High quality instructors—mix of professors, educators, and on-the-ground energy practitioners

 Applicable information—Colorado hot topics and practical homeowner options covered

 Convenient yet rich—mix of online and experiential, in-person seminars

 Low cost—including discounts for students, teachers, and aspiring Energy Masters

 Professional development —credits offered for teachers and realtors

Join the 130+ participants to date that have participated in our program. Those wishing to become certified Colorado Energy Masters successfully complete all coursework as well as an energy project of their choice. Coursework runs from February 17 – March 28, 2015.

Registration open January 5—February 10

Colorado State University Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. If you need special accommodations to participate in courses, please contact Cary Weiner at cary.weiner@colostate.edu or (970) 491-3784 during the open registration period.

Energy Master 2015 2

State of the Arts Sustainability Breakfast Jan. 14

Jan 15' Breakfast

Warm Wishes from the Coalition for the Upper South Platte

CUSP Seasons Greetings

Season’s greetings from CUSP!

Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season and through the New Year.  We are looking forward to another year of protecting watershed health, and hope to see you in the watershed in 2015!

The Coalition for the Upper South Platte protects the water quality and ecological health of the Upper South Platte Watershed, through the cooperative efforts of watershed stakeholders, with emphasis placed on community values and economic sustainability.

CUSP Warm Wishes

Energy Tip December 23, 2014

CFL GraphicLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?  Use Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs. Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs last longer and use up to 75 percent less energy than standard light bulbs. You can cut your electric bill by $60 per year if you replace the standard bulbs in your five most frequently used light fixtures. Properly dispose of compact fluorescent light bulbs at your local household hazardous waste collection site.

A Message from the Colorado Springs Public Market

Public Market
Dear Market Friends -Have you noticed that good food makes people smile? It’s the center of every celebration at this time of year. Genuinely good food is the heartbeat and purpose of the Colorado Springs Public Market, but only the beginning of a greater story about what’s possible for our community as we embrace the Market’s potential:

  • To develop a new sense of community and a new perspective on how to improve physical health.
  • To enhance revitalization of downtown Colorado Springs with residential life, and eliminate a food desert.
  • To offer a new framework for economic development, replacing a vulnerable and problematic food system with local production.
  • To incubate a wide variety of new businesses, as a critical point of market access.
  • To restore opportunity for independent farm producers throughout southeastern Colorado.

The first phase of the Colorado Springs Public Market is to become a part of new gateway entering downtown from the east, in early 2015. Located at the former Gazette printing plant, the Public Market will be a focal point for new residents, working commuters, visitors, bikers and hikers – in space designed to enable us gather and know each other better.

In a short time, we’ve come a long way in the effort to create a new institution in Colorado Springs, one that lives and breathes through our collective appreciation of the importance of good, clean local food. Just as public markets are a centerpiece in many of the most vibrant communities around the world and throughout history, our Public Market will be a destination that helps our city thrive.

Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center Holiday Newsletter


Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center
Beaver Bulletin Volume 3 Issue 2
Happy Holidays
Hello and Happy Holidays from the staff and Board of Directors at Beaver Ponds.  As you can see, winter has come to the high country.  As we prepare for the holiday season we want to pass along some of what has happened at BP over the past 5 months.

Below are links to our December 2014 newsletter.  We included a download option for a Word document because some people have had problems viewing a PDF in there web browser.

Have a happy and safe holiday season.

  • New Personnel
  • Board of Directors update
  • Activities update
  • Greenhouse
  • Needs at Beaver Ponds
Domonique 4
Photovoltaic on barn
Contact Us | Phone: 719-838-0143 | Info@Beaverponds.org

Energy Tip December 16, 2014

window filmEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?  Little owl11Install high-performance windows, screens and films to protect upholstery, wood and artwork from UV rays while saving energy.

Exciting News and Updates from Catamount Institute

News from Catamount Institute

Upcoming Events
Make sure to mark your calendar for these important upcoming events! We would love for you to join us.
December 11
Black Lager Happy Hour at Bristol Brewery
December 13
YES Club 

(Want to be a judge? Call us! 719-471-0910 x106)
Indy Give
Help us reach our goal!
We are less then $10,000 away from meeting our goal for this years campaign. Help support Catamount Institute’s mission of developing ecological stewards through education and adventure.
Welcome to our most recent PPSBN member!
Current Members

Do you like us? 

Make sure to like us on Facebook! There you can see all kinds of fun photos and get the latest news and updates about what we are up to!.Like us on Facebook

Alicia Archibald

A note from our
Executive Director


During this season of Thanks and Giving, I am thankful for a year of sustainable growth.

Thanks – Catamount Institute youth programs experienced a great deal of growth this year. Specifically, we started a new program, Elevate Environmental Education (E3), at Woodland Park School District (WPSD). This program allows every elementary student (over 800) in the WPSD to experience environmental education during the school day. Additionally, the Colorado Sustainability Conference experienced a fiscally successful year as well, with over 13 breakout sessions featuring topics such as Small Farms, B Corporations, Aquaponics and much more. Speakers came from around the state to create a broad brush of perspective. Thank you to our sponsors and our partner sponsor the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, for making this a successful conference.

Giving – We are currently in the middle of a huge fundraising campaign. Give! is a year-end philanthropic initiative created to encourage everyone in the Pikes Peak Region to give back and get involved with local nonprofits.

Due to the growth in our youth education, we need to increase our education staff and transportation options, as well as update our computer technology. Please give to Catamount Institute through the Give! website www.indygive.com/catamount and join us in developing ecological stewards through education and adventure.
Have questions? Want to know more? Call Alicia at 719-471-0910 ext 102 or email her at director@catamountinstitute.org

Nutcracker in the Park

Nutcracker in the Park

Always in search of creative collaborations, Imagination Celebration’s Kaleidoscope Dance Project has partnered with Catamount Institute for a Nutcracker performance like none you have ever seen before-outdoors! See the classic Nutcracker story as viewed from the perspective of animals! This unique performance will combine arts with parks for an active dance experience celebrating the beauty of nature.

The audience will take a walk through Sonderman Park at 740 West Caramillo Street to encounter some of the park’s inhabitants performing selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, including ballet and unexpected genres. All ages will enjoy this exciting mixture of nature and dance!

After the walk of waltzing wonder, the audience can enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, and nature crafts with the Nutcracker characters and a holiday Fairy Godmother.

Catamount Institute and Imagination Celebration are both honored to be selected as non-profits for this year’s Indy Give campaign in the Inspired Learning category. There is no fee for admission to this novel natural Nutcracker event, but donations to both organizations will be gratefully accepted.

Nutcracker in the Park will occur December 6, 2014, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the variety of experiences will keep all participants engaged throughout, no matter the weather.

For questions call Chris at 719-471-0910 x106

Elevate Environmental Education  
Our first semester of E3 has been planted and has started to blossom! Check out photos from the last day at Aspen Valley Ranch for the Gateway Elementary 2nd graders
To learn more about E3 call us at 719-471-0910 x106 or reply to this email

Hiking at Camp

We are hiring!
Catamount Institute is currently seeking a part time educator whose primary responsibilities will be to work with the Education Director and Program Coordinators to prepare for and teach Catamount Institute’s core education programs with emphasis on the Elevate Environmental Education program in Woodland Park, CO.
For the full details about this position please click the link below.

December Sustainability Breakfast – Community Engagement

December Bkfst
Successes, Challenges, and Paving the Way Forward
Join Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future for a panel discussion with 3 leaders from local initiatives: 1A, 1B, and Restore Tahama Springs! 
Susan Davies from Trails and Open Space Coalition will share insights from the campaign to pass 1A, retaining funding for county parks, which passed. Rachel Beck from the Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force will share insights from the last 2 years working to pass 1B, which lost by a vote of 47% to 53%. And LeeAnn Westfall, a community organizer who is building a grassroots movement to raise $400,000 to Restore Tahama Springs, the Springs Colorado Springs was named for! Join us for this thoughtful discussion on community projects from folks serving on the front lines.
The speakers at this breakfast:
Susan Davies, Trails and Open Space Coalition
Rachel Beck, Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force
LeeAnn Westfall, Restore Tahama Springs

Wednesday December 10, 2014

7:30am – 9:00am

Ivywild School 1604 S. Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905

Bristol Pub (turn right after entering the building and go past the WildCat Room)

No need to RSVP – just come!

Free & Open to the Community

Bring your own breakfast or come early and grab something

in the Principal’s Office or Old School Bakery

Energy Tip December 9, 2014

fireplace C gratesEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Little owl11Use grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.

Greener Times December Newsletter

 GCC - Greener Times

December 2014

Greener Times is a monthly survey of upcoming sustainability events, local news and activism opportunities published by the Green Cities Coalition. Click here to join the Coalition and learn more!
We’d like to thank renewing member Dave Brackett and his award-winning restaurants, Pizzeria Rustica and TAPAteria. Also many thanks to our 2014 Champions – we couldn’t have done it without you!Jane Ard-Smith o The Bag Ladies Blue Planet Earthscapes o Colorado College Office of Sustainability Colorado Springs Public Market o Growthbusters Jan-Pro of Southern Colorado o Manitou Arts Center Market Local Food o Pikes Peak Community Foundation Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission o Ranch Foods Direct Seeds Community Café o Terra Essentials

A great chance to meet up will be our holiday Green Drinks, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 4) at Downtown Fine Spirits & Wine, 103 S. Wahsatch Ave. Click here to RSVP!
ON THE SAME PAGE  The Green Cities Coalition will turn 7 next month! Back in January 2008, about 125 people gathered at the downtown library to get serious about greening the Pikes Peak Region. The overwhelming sense was the need to “get on the same page,” and we’ve been working on writing and editing that page ever since! Our Green Cities Summit 4 will be held from 5-9 p.m. Jan. 29 at Pikes Peak Community College – save the date, get your tickets now! For more details, visit our website.   ENERGY  Colorado Springs Utilities is launching a public process for the next iteration of its Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP). The first of four meetings will be held 6-7:30 Thursday (Dec. 4) in Room 102 of the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada Ave. The EIRP will take most of the next year to complete. The results will have direct impact on the future of the Drake Power Plant. For more information, email Gail Conners or call (719) 668-8012 or by email at. You can also visit the CSU website.   LOCAL FOOD  The Local Food Working Group is continuing efforts to coordinate a regional local food system strategy. Three meetings are set this month (Dec. 3, 10 & 17) to organize “Pikes Peak Foodshed 2,” scheduled for Feb. 7. The team will meet next at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at Ivywild School. The full LFWG will meet at 5 p.m. Dec. 15 at Colorado College. To RSVP or get more information, email Megan Andreozzi.   STEERING COMMITTEE  The GCC is coordinated by a nine-person Steering Committee. With great gratitude, we’ll have to let Scott Harvey rotate off the SC after serving two three-year terms. We’d like to welcome two recently-appointed members – Courtney Stone and Konrad Schlarbaum – to a three-year term at the GCC Summit. But we still need to fill Scott’s shoes! If you would like more information about SC responsibilities or request an application, email Steve.   Also mark your calendar for our next Steering Committee breakfast, 8-9:30 a.m. Dec. 18 at Seeds Community Café. City planner Carl Schueler will give an update on infill and development of older neighborhoods.   Check out our calendar for events and meetings on recycling, energy, local food, transportation and water. Forward!

This Sustainability Action Alert was brought to you by Seeds Community Cafe, inviting you to check out Colorado Springs’ premier food truck serving locally sourced and organic lunch, The Local.

Energy Tip December 2, 2014

Little owl11sps-5Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”    “Smart” power strips are now available that sense the presence or absence of office workers and turn the attached equipment on and off accordingly.  They work to reduce your power usage by shutting down power to products that go into standby mode.

CSU Extension November Energy Newsletter

CSU Energy NewsletterWelcome to the 58th issue of the CSU Extension Energy newsletter. This newsletter is distributed as a way to give the public, our partners, and Extension staff updates on CSU Extension energy work and its context in Colorado. Our overall mission is: 1. to empower Coloradans to make more informed energy decisions; and 2. to promote a broad, unbiased understanding of energy issues.

Topics in this issue:










Find the entire Newsletter here:  CSU EXTENSION ENERGY NEWSLETTER 11-14


Clean Energy – Opportunities for Input

GHG EmissionsClean Power Plan

On June 2, 2014, the EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan that will maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment.

If you have not yet sent a comment to the EPA in support of their Clean Power Plan, December 1st is the last day.  Here is how:



CSU EIRP Public Meeting Thursday, December 4th 6 PM

See https://www.csu.org/pages/eirp-r.aspx for details.  Please plan to attend and provide your input.

Challenges & opportunities
The energy industry, and Colorado Springs Utilities, is at an exciting crossroads of evolving technology – whether it’s helping customers reduce demand, taking advantage of renewable energy or deploying distributed generation technologies such as solar gardens. As digital and wireless capabilities advance, the demand on electricity continues to grow, just as technologies for greater energy efficiency, renewable energies and cleaner emissions continue to evolve.

Why now?
Some of the factors impacting the new EIRP include:

  • Incorporating the Drake Decommissioning Study’s data from engineering firm HDR, Inc.
  • New proposed environmental regulations for carbon dioxide CO2)
  • Colorado Renewable Energy Standards
  • Grid and cyber security requirements
  • Demand response (incentives for customers to reduce demand during peak times)
  • Customer feedback and budget considerations
  • Market risk of natural gas
  • Cost of service: fuel prices and overall bill impact
  • Interest rates
  • The current Energy Vision and UPAC’s Proposed Energy Vision
  • Load forecasts
Framing a long-term policy that will help navigate our plan of action for years to come is a process that blends technical analysis and public participation.

How will the public be involved?
A volunteer Customer Advisory Group (CAG) has been assembled that is representative of residential, commercial and military interests. The CAG is just one aspect of an overall community engagement plan that includes presentations to the community, surveys and public meetings.

Energy Tip November 25, 2014

Little owl11lawn-mower_17497_600x450Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.

Sustainability Breakfast – December 10 – Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Successes, Challenges, and Paving the Way Forward

Join Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future for a panel discussion with 3 leaders from local initiatives: 1A, 1B, and Restore Tahama Springs! 

Susan Davies from Trails and Open Space Coalition will share insights from the campaign to pass 1A, retaining funding for county parks, which passed. Rachel Beck from the Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force will share insights from the last 2 years working to pass 1B, which lost by a vote of 47% to 53%. And LeeAnn Westfall, a community organizer who is building a grassroots movement to raise $400,000 to Restore Tahama Springs, the Springs Colorado Springs was named for! Join us for this thoughtful discussion on community projects from folks serving on the front lines.

The speakers at this breakfast:

Susan Davies, Trails and Open Space Coalition

Rachel Beck, Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force

LeeAnn Westfall, Restore Tahama Springs


 Wednesday December 10, 2014   7:30am – 9:00am

Ivywild School 1604 S. Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905

Bristol Pub (turn right after entering the building and go past the WildCat Room)


No need to RSVP – just come!

Free & Open to the Community

Bring your own breakfast or come early and grab something

in the Principal’s Office or Old School Bakery

Energy Tip November 18, 2014

Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Little owl11hot carWhen you first get into a hot car, cool it down the old fashioned way – roll down the windows, open the vents and peel back the sunroof. Then, start the car and turn on the air conditioning.

Charge Ahead Colorado – Funding for Electric Vehicles and Equipment

CAFThe Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) are pleased to announce funding availability for electric vehicles (EVs) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) through the Charge Ahead Colorado program. At this time, CEO is offering EVSE funds for entities located outside of the seven-county Denver Metro Area while RAQC offers funding for both EVSE and EVs within the seven-county Denver Metro Area (Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties). Public, non-profit, and private groups are welcome to apply for either program.

Please note that changes have been made to the application: RAQC applicants are now able to lease or purchase vehicles.

It is strongly recommended that applicants review the application in its entirety prior to submittal. To access the application and a summary of funding amounts, criteria, eligibility and how to apply, please click here.

The next deadline to apply is:

  • Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM MST

Please note that all applications must be submitted electronically here.

CEO and RAQC welcome questions at any time during the application process. Please see the Charge Ahead Colorado homepage on the Clean Air Fleets website for more information and/or appropriate agency contacts.

The United States and China’s Joint Climate Policy Announcement—What It Means

RMIOutletFrom the Rocky Mountain Institute.  Read the entire article here.

Yesterday the United States and the People’s Republic of China reached an historic agreement in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impending consequences of climate change through commitments by President Obama and President Xi.

The U.S. announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26–28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, with a commitment to a “best effort” to realize 28 percent.  Achieving those targets will require doubling annual emission reduction rates from a current 1.2 percent through 2020 to 2.3–2.8 percent from 2020 to 2025. This will set the course for the U.S. to realize an 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050.

For its part, China has committed to peak its carbon emissions by 2030, and possibly sooner, capping the emissions growth of the world’s largest emitter. This announcement was the first of its kind for China, which has to-date shied from international commitments. To realize this target, President Xi also announced that zero-emissions, non-fossil energy sources (i.e., nuclear and renewables) would represent 20 percent of China’s supply mix by 2030. (In 2011, zero-emission sources represented less than 9 percent of China’s total energy consumption.)

Local Food Policy Council Being Formed

PPEFFollowing up on work conducted in a 201o Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum (report available here:   PP Foodshed Report ), a steering committee has been formed to create a Food Policy Council and to spearhead a Food Forum in February  2015.  Christine Faith of Right to Thrive writes:

Food policy councils are an idea whose time has come.  The food system, no longer serving the consumer, is a bit of a runaway freight train.  Big corporations pushing around small producers, no transparency in practices or ingredients, and communities unable to come together with enough voices to create change.  While roughly 30 other cities in the State of Colorado have food policy councils, Colorado Springs (the States 2nd largest city) does not.  We have no common space to come together and work-out issues plaguing our community.  We have no real idea what groups other than our own are working on.  And we have no unity of purpose, a requirement for large scale change.  Colorado Springs is a city full of passionate, hardworking go-getters that is getting nowhere.  The positive changes we are all working toward are happening slowly or not all.  We need a new tool in the tool-kit; that tool is a food policy council.

For more information or to get involved, check out the Right to Thrive website here:  http://www.righttothrive.org/author/admin/

Part of the summary from the 2010 forum states: 

During the Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum, key stakeholders focused on identifying strengths and weaknesses in our region regarding a sustainable local food and farming system. This crucial first step is the foundation of a comprehensive strategic plan that will drive the cooperative development of the system. By continuing a facilitated, strategic approach we will ultimately implement strategies that will increase capacity, manage competition, and avoid duplication.  The Forum was an important beginning for an ongoing process that will allow us to leverage resources, enhance collaboration, and to create a viable regional food system.

The primary goal of the PPFF is to create infrastructure that will lead to economic development for food and agriculturally related businesses in our region. A secondary, but no less important goal of the PPFF, is to build community, collaboration and inclusiveness among people who provide food, whether in its raw state or at some point after its grown and processed.


Energy Tip November 11, 2014

01_insul_tubeLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Insulate water pipes. Use half-inch foam or pipe tape for insulation wherever pipes are exposed. On cold water pipes, insulate four to five feet nearest to the water heater. Pipe insulation can save you up to $25 annually.



SARASOTA, FL, and WOODLAND PARK, CO, November 10, 2014 – Sun Hydraulics Corporation (NASDAQ: SNHY) and Sturman Industries, Inc. announce they have entered into a Technology License Agreement related to the use of Sturman’s digital valve technology.  Under the agreement, Sun will manufacture and sell valves which incorporate Sturman digital valve actuation technology into screw-in cartridge valves used in fluid power markets.

     “By converging Sun’s expertise in hydraulic cartridge valves with Sturman’s expertise in drive electronics and efficient digital magnetics, we believe we can offer our customers unique beneficial solutions for their applications,” commented Allen Carlson, Sun’s CEO and President.  “Customers are asking for products which are smaller in size, lighter in weight, use less power, are less expensive and operate faster.  New electro-hydraulic cartridge valves under development as a result of Sun teaming up with Sturman will provide these features and create new markets for Sun.”

     “We are very happy to be partnering with Sun Hydraulics to bring Sturman’s digital valve technology to Sun’s customers,” said Carol Sturman, President of Sturman Industries, Inc.  “Under the agreement with Sun, Sturman will perform the research and development for select new valve products, while Sun will be responsible for production engineering, manufacture and commercialization of them.  We’re pleased to support Sun in bringing forward solutions that can benefit the hydraulics industry.”

     Concluding, Carlson added, “We look forward to bringing these exciting new products to market during 2015.  We believe there are next generation applications in the mobile and industrial segments which can benefit from the use of digital valve technology.”

About Sun

     Sun Hydraulics Corporation is a leading designer and manufacturer of high performance screw-in hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds for worldwide industrial and mobile markets. For more information about Sun, please visit our website at www.sunhydraulics.com.

About Sturman

     Sturman is a leader in the design and implementation of superior process controls to modernize systems that do work. The designs integrate the advantages of miniaturization, flexibility and ultra-fast response by combining intelligent electronics and unique software strategies with digital latching magnetics, and often include the implementation of high power density micro-hydraulics.  Sturman specializes in optimizing systems to meet demanding user and environmental needs for smart, efficient, clean and affordable operation. Sturman works with organizations globally that wish to take advantage of this advanced technology.  Applications have ranged from aerospace, industrial and commercial products, including water systems, pic-n-place machines, suspension and engine controls.  Sturman is currently engaged in programs for commercialization of transformational engine controls that optimize the use of all fuels under all conditions.

Green Cities Coalition November Newsletter

GCC - Greener Times

November 2014

Greener Times is a monthly survey of upcoming sustainability events, local news and activism opportunities published by the Green Cities Coalition. Click here to join the Coalition and learn more!

We’d like to thank new and renewing members Darlene Jensen and Craig Johnson. These local activists are standing with nearly 125 organizations, businesses and individuals working for sustainability! A great chance to meet up will be our holiday Green Drinks, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Downtown Fine Spirits & Wine (103 S. Wahsatch Ave). We need a couple of co-sponsors – let us know if your group or business is interested!

RECYCLING  We’d like to help with your end-of-year shopping. Instead of spending lots of energy, natural resources and money, join us for Repeat Boutique Holiday Edition. The Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission, Pikes Peak Permaculture and Green Cities Coalition will turn Grace & St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church into a gift-swapping extravaganza, 5–7 p.m. Nov. 21 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 22. Bring your gently used women’s, men’s or children’s clothing, accessories, home décor, toys, books, music and movies – good stuff you no longer use – and take home as much “new-to-you” merchandise to give as presents. Admission is $10 at the door. For more details, contact us at (719) 632-6189 or email RepeatBoutique@ppjpc.org.

INDY GIVE!  It’s Indy Give! season again and five GCC members are reaching out for new donors and members. You can support your favorites: Catamount Institute, Colorado Springs Public Market, Manitou Arts Center, Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission and Seeds Community Café.

LOCAL FOOD  The Local Food Working Group is continuing efforts to coordinate a regional local food system strategy. The Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum 2 is scheduled for Feb. 7 in hopes of drafting a playbook for the many wonderful local-food efforts. The team will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Nov.  12 at Ivywild School. To RSVP or get more information, email Megan Andreozzi at megannie4@hotmail.com

WATER  Colorado Springs Utilities has released its 2014 Draft Water Use Efficiency Plan for public review and comment. We need to convene a passionate Water Working Group to read this draft thoroughly and help the GCC make intelligent comments. Email Steve at sustain719@gmail.com if you’d like to join the group!

UPCOMING MEETINGS  Our next GCC Steering Committee breakfast will be held from 8-9:30 a.m. Nov. 20 at Seeds Community Café. We are also slotting Business and Organization members to host Green Drinks. Visit our Green Drinks page to learn more about sponsoring. Check out our calendar for events and meetings on recycling, energy, local food, transportation and water. Forward!

Energy Tip November 4, 2014

washing-machine-cartoonLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Run full loads. Always run a full load in your washer or dryer. Running a partial load uses the same amount of energy as a full load – but you get less done. Running full loads allows you to run your washer or dryer less often.

U.S. Deptartment of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center

Alternative Fuels

The Information Source for Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles

The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides information, data, and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision makers find ways to reduce petroleum consumption through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures.


Here’s the link to the website:   http://www.afdc.energy.gov/

Sustainability Breakfast – November 12 – Waste Diversion

Waste DiversionAmerica Recycles Day is November 15!
To celebrate early, join us on November 12, 7:30 AM to hear from local experts about waste diversion in the El Paso county region. Presentations will address the current state of the region in regards to achieving the Materials Management goals of PPR 2030, as well as invigorate thoughtful discussion about how to achieve more diversion from landfills.

Wednesday November 12, 2014

7:30am – 9:00am  

Ivywild School 1604 S. Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905

Bristol Pub (turn right after entering the building and go past the WildCat Room) 


No need to RSVP – just come!

Free & Open to the Community

Energy Tip October 28, 2014

hot ovenLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie asks: “Did you know?  Use retained heat. Turn off cook tops or ovens a few minutes before food has completed cooking. Retained heat finishes the job using less energy.

The Colorado Climate Summit – Nov 15 & 16 – Boulder, CO

Colorado Climate SummitShaping Colorado’s Renewable, Resilient and Vibrant Future

November 15 & 16

Saturday 8:00am to 5pm and Sunday 8:00am to 4pm

Gettches Wilkinson Resource Center – Wolf Law Bldg. CU-Boulder

Expected Attendance: Min 300 to Max 400

Attendee Fee: $65  |  Students and Seniors: $25

Goal of the Summit: Draft a plan to get Colorado on track to drastically reduce its carbon emissions by 2020 and reduce it’s water footprint by 50% by 2025. This is a participatory event!

Please spread the word far and wide to those you know in Colorado working on climate and water issues. The success of this summit is measured by stakeholder participation across the state. That means YOU too!

This will be a fantastic event for anyone dedicated to addressing climate change and Colorado’s environmental issues. It is a state-wide focused participatory summit for citizens, business, and government leaders to come together to make a plan to reduce emissions & water consumption at the state and local level.


Registration required.  Find more about the event here.


Gas Tax Budget Survey for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments


How would you spend the money you pay in gas tax?

You’re invited to answer that question at:  http://www.peakdemocracy.com/2164
in the Pikes Peak Regional Forum, a new online platform where you can let
PPACG know what you think and read what other residents are saying.

You can log in to the Forum using your Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn
account, or you can sign up using your e-mail address. Thank you for your
interest and participation in the regional transportation planning process.

Energy Tip October 21, 2014

Little owl11lampshadeEnergy-Wise Willie asks: “Did you know?”  Select light-colored or opaque lamp shades. Place lamps in corners so they reflect light from two walls.

Solar Power Colorado 2015 Conference

Solar is the Solution

The Region’s Largest B2B Solar Conference and Expo

The Omni Resort and Conference Center – Broomfield, CO

February 23 – 25, 2015

2015-solar-power-coloradoCOSEIA’s annual gathering is the year’s largest business-to-business opportunity for networking with solar industry executives, identifying new market opportunities, gaining insight into the latest information on policy initiatives, and learning about exciting new solar products at the Expo Hall.

We’re finalizing a program filled with industry insiders who have valuable business insights to share. This is your best chance all year to network in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains with hundreds of solar professionals from around the nation.

A dozen separate panels will bring national experts in batteries and storage, electric vehicles and new solar thermal technologies to Colorado. We’ll delve into thorny policy debates on net metering, solar thermal incentives and reducing soft costs. A panel of solar CEOs will highlight coming trends and challenges while utility leaders will forecast the future of utility scale solar.

Secure Sponsorship and Exhibit
Solar Power Colorado offers a tremendous opportunity to reach 500+ solar business leaders and influencers. The exhibit hall and nearly all the sponsorship tiers sold out this past year due to high levels of interest – next year’s event will likely sell out too. This is the solar event by which others are measured. Network with solar business leaders and build the professional connections you need to succeed.

Find more information here and register for the conference here.


Department of Defense Releases 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap

DOD Climate Change RoadmapDownload the entire pdf here:  DOD_2014_Climate_Change_Adaptation_Roadmap

Climate change will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security. The Department is responding to climate change in two ways: adaptation, or efforts to plan for the changes that are occurring or expected to occur; and mitigation, or efforts that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (Roadmap) focuses on the Department’s climate change adaptation activities.

The Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP) articulates the Department’s sustainability vision to maintain our ability to operate into the future without decline in the mission or the supporting natural and man-‐made systems. The actions set forth in this Roadmap will increase the Department’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, which is a key part of fulfilling this vision.

The Department has established three broad adaptation goals:

Goal 1: Identify and assess the effects of climate change on the Department.

Goal 2: Integrate climate change considerations across the Department and manage associated risks.

Goal 3: Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders on climate change challenges.

These goals are supported by four lines of effort:

Plans and Operations include the activities dedicated to preparing for and carrying out the full range of military operations. Also included are the operating environments in the air, on land, and at sea, at home and abroad, that shape the development of plans and execution of operations.

Training and Testing are critical to maintaining a capable and ready Force in the face of a rapidly changing strategic setting. Access to land, air, and sea space that replicate the operational environment for training and testing is essential to readiness.

Built and Natural Infrastructure are both necessary for successful mission preparedness and readiness. While built infrastructure serves as the staging platform for the Department’s national defense and humanitarian missions, natural infrastructure also supports military combat readiness by providing realistic combat conditions and vital resources to personnel. 

Acquisition and Supply Chain include the full range of developing, acquiring, fielding, and sustaining equipment and services and leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet the Department’s current and future needs, including requirements analysis.

“But the challenge of global climate change, while not new to history, is new to the modern world. Climate change does not directly cause conflict, but it can significantly add to the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. Food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, more severe natural disasters – all place additional burdens on economies, societies, and institutions around the world.”

-‐Secretary Hagel Halifax International Security Forum (DoD Arctic Strategy) Nov 2013



Energy Tip October 14, 2014

beer-fridge-3-e1333134090312Little owl11Energy-Wise Willie  Asks: “Did you know?   Only use one refrigerator or freezer. You can spend up to $120 in electricity per year using a second refrigerator or freezer. If you want to use a second refrigerator or freezer during holidays or for special occasions, turn it on one to two days before you need it.

Green Cities Coalition October Newsletter

GCC - Greener Times

To view this newsletter in your browser with fully functioning links, click here.

October 2014

Greener Times is a monthly survey of upcoming sustainability events, local news and activism opportunities published by the Green Cities Coalition. Click here to join the Coalition and learn more! We’d like to thank new and renewing members Pikes Peak Permaculture, Compassionate Care, Community-Powered Radio KCMJ as well as Cliff Kotnik, Drew Johnson, Cathy Morrissey and Michael Clark. They’re joining nearly 125 organizations, businesses and individuals working for sustainability! A great chance to meet up is a Green Drinks screening of Steve Saint’s “Adventures in Permaculture,” 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Casa Gardner in Skyway (2930 Orion Dr.). Our host Dave Gardner will tell us all about the KCMJ crowdfunding campaign! TRANSIT  Thanks to the relentless work of the Community Transit Coalition, Mayor Steve Bach has proposed the city increase transit funding by $471,000 in the its 2015 budget. On the day City Council will deliberate on said budget (Oct. 20), the CTC will organize a Transit Matters Rally from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at City Hall (107 N. Nevada Ave.). For more information about the rally or joining the transit team, email Courtney Stone. ON THE BALLOT  The GCC has endorsed Initiative 105, a measure on the November ballot that would require the labeling of GMO foods sold in Colorado. If you’re not sure what GMOs are or why they need to be clearly labeled, catch a screening of “GMO OMG,” 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Manitou Arts Center (or 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Gill Center for Public Media). For information on how to help the 105 campaign, email Julie Ott. LOCAL FOOD  Local Food Week may have run its course as a tool to educate and engage the public around local food. The Local Food Working Group is mulling quarterly Community Dinner/Potlucks at different places around town. We will also continue efforts to coordinate a regional local food system strategy – a Food Future Plan at a sequel to the 2010 Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum. The planning team will meet again at 5 p.m. Oct. 22 at Ivywild School. To RSVP or get more information, email Megan Andreozzi. UPCOMING MEETINGS  Our next GCC Steering Committee breakfast will be held from 8-9:30 a.m. Oct. 23 at Seeds Community Café. We are also slotting Business and Organization members to host Green Drinks. Visit our Green Drinks page to learn more about sponsoring. Check out our calendar for events and meetings on recycling, energy, local food, transportation and water. Onward!

SmartWatt to Hold Booth for Small Business Energy Efficiency at W.P. Chamber Business Expo Nov. 6


On November 6, the Coalition for the Upper South Platte will join SmartWatt to promote the Black Hills Energy Small Business Energy Efficiency Program at the Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.  The event will be held at the Ute Pass Cultural Center from 5 – 7 PM.  Come to learn about how your business in Black Hills natural gas territory can save energy and money with:

• Free, comprehensive on-site natural gas evaluation

• Customized proposal detailing energy-efficient recommendations

• Installation scheduled and completed at your convenience

• Old equipment and materials removed and recycled

• Incentives on natural gas efficiency upgrade costs

• Interest-free financing for up to 12 months (up to $5,000)

You can also find more information and sign up for this program by calling:   719.924.8307 or going to: www.bhesavemoney.com and entering your zip code in the left-hand column.



Energy Tip October 7, 2014

space_heatersLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks:  “Did you know?”  Choose a thermostatically controlled space heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.

Sustainability Breakfast Oct. 8 – Energy Efficiency and Net Zero Homes


October is National Energy Awareness MonthWHAT STEPS CAN YOU TAKE TO BE MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT?  In the US alone, buildings account for 72% of electricity consumption. Since so much energy is used in the residential sector, conserving energy in your home is an easy and effective way to reduce the world’s energy consumption.

Join the Sustainability Breakfast on October 8th and join in on conversations of residential energy efficiency and net-zero homes. The focus of these breakfasts is to share information, identify common initiatives and areas of collaboration to solve current challenges. Come join the conversation.  The speakers for this breakfast will be:

Wednesday October 8, 2014

7:30am – 9:00am

Ivywild School 1604 S. Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905

WildCat Room (turn right after entering the building).


No need to RSVP – just come!

Free & Open to the Community

Jim Riggins  Jim is the owner and principal analyst of EnerSmart Energy Solutions. He provides home energy audits, certified ratings, and energy-efficient modeling and design consulting services.  He is a Residential Energy Services Network(RESNET) certified home energy rater,  Building Performance Institute(BPI) Professional Building Analyst and ENERGY STAR partner and it EPA WaterSense Inspector. Jim is a board member of the South Eastern Colorado Renewable Energy Society and serves on the Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity building committee.
Howard Brooks  Howard is the Executive Director of the Energy Resource Center(ERC)  a nonprofit organization that works to help income-qualified residents make energy efficiency improvements to their homes or apartments that will increase their quality of life and save them money on energy bills. For the last 30 years Howard has been a leader in the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors. Prior to joining ERC Howard served as the Chief Operating Officer at Pikes Peak United Way.
Directions to Ivywild School 1604 S Cascade Ave Colorado Springs . CO Exit 140 Tejon Street / Nevada.Head south on South Tejon StreetTurn right on East Brookside StreetTurn left on S. Cascade

Click here for a map

Sustainability Breakfast Hosts
Sustainable Fort Carson

Fort Carson embraces sustainability as a partnership between our present and our future.

Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future

Promotes regional sustainability and advances the PPR2030 through regional collaboration and outreach.

Catamount Institute

Developing ecological

stewards through education and adventure.

Energy Tip September 30, 2014

Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  VF03Little owl11Reducing your speed is one of the simplest ways to save energy on the road. The EPA says that for every one mile-per-hour that you drive above 55 mph, a vehicle loses about one percent in fuel economy.

CSU Extension Office October Energy Newsletter

CSU Ext Energy NewsletterView the entire newsletter here.

This is the 57th issue of the CSU Extension Energy newsletter. The newsletter is distributed as a way to give the public, our partners, and Extension staff updates on CSU Extension energy work and its context in Colorado. Our overall mission is: 1. to empower Coloradans to make more informed energy decisions; and 2. to promote a broad, unbiased understanding of energy issues.

Topics in this month’s issue include:

Energy Tip September 23, 2014

carrier-furnacesLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  When installing a new furnace, check the energy rating and choose a high-efficiency unit for maximum energy savings. It will pay for itself in about 7 years.

‘Largest-ever’ climate-change march rolls through NYC – September 21


By:  Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY

See the entire article here.

NEW YORK — More than 300,000 people marched through the streets of New York City on Sunday in what organizers called the largest climate-change demonstration in history.

With banners, flags, floats and drums, protesters at the “People’s Climate March” overwhelmed midtown Manhattan in flocks of vivid color, demanding action ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit this week.

The massive march kicked off at 11:30 a.m. on the ritzy Upper West Side along Central Park before winding its way through the city on a two-mile route. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, former U.S. vice president Al Gore, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and actors Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio joined thousands of protesters at the march.

Energy Tip September 16, 2014

Little owl11w-Giant-Coffee-Cup75917Energy-Wise Willie Asks:  “Did you know?”  Bring your own cup to your favorite coffee shop. You’ll save resources, and most coffee shops give a discount. Plus coffee always tastes better in real cup.

Fort Collins Sets Standard for Sustainabile Practices in Colorado

Cover Photo

The city of Fort Collins has set and reached numerous sustainability goals, both through its municipal programs and its ClimateWise business programs. The city itself has identified 10 goal areas:

1) Carbon  2) Electricity and Natural Gas  3) Fuel Reduction   4) Solid Waste Reduction   5) Education and Outreach   6) Funding   7)  Parks/Natural Areas   8) Water   9) Environmentally Preferred Purchasing  and 10) Employee Health and Safety

Their very comprehensive report for the year 2011 is available here:  fortcollins-sustainability-2011-report

ClimateWise is a program for businesses in Fort  Collins.  Its mission is:  To build and serve an active group of businesses and organizations that is committed to making Fort Collins a world-class community through climate protection, environmental stewardship and economic vitality.  In 2013, it had 362 business partners enlisted, cataloging reductions in waste, energy, water and transportation.  The full 2013 ClimateWise 2013 report can be accessed here:  fortcollins_climatewise_2013report  An example of their successes since their inception in 2000 is this graph of Partner Reported CO2 Emission Reductions:

emission reductions


Energy Tip September 9, 2014

Little owl11microwaveEnergy-Wise Willie asks: “Did you know?”   Use the microwave to heat or defrost food. Microwave ovens shorten cooking times, which saves energy.

Southern Colorado Clean Cities National Drive Electric Event


 Southern Colorado National Drive Electric Event:

                                                You’re Invited!


                                             Test Drive Electric Vehicles

                                          Thursday, September 18th, 4pm-7pm

                                               First and Main Town Center

                                                   3650 New Center Point

                                           Colorado Springs, Colorado 80922

National Drive Electric Week is September 15th-21st, where over 100 events will take place throughout the country to educate consumers about their plug-in electric vehicle options. Clean Cities and the American Lung Association will be hosting our 4th consecutive event this year where we offer test drives of available electric vehicles to the public and allow them to interact with current EV owners to get their questions answered. Feel free to check out www.driveelectricweek.org for more about the national event marketing and the Clean Cities page for more on who we are.

We are expecting participation from all the major OEMs that have available plug-in electric vehicles for sale in Colorado, including Nissan, Ford, GM, Tesla, and others. We’ll have dealerships there to offer test drives, EV owners who can speak honestly about their experiences, solar companies and charging station providers, and other relevant stakeholder organizations.

National Drive Electric Week

Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association are national organizers teaming up with local groups across the country and abroad to hold events for National Drive Electric Week. National sponsors include the Nissan LEAF and Schneider EVlink. Tens of thousands of people in some 100 U.S. cities will rally to raise awareness of plug-in vehicles for the fourth annual National Drive Electric Week. These drivers will be able to experience the quiet, clean thrill of plug-in vehicles firsthand while learning about cost-savings, national security and clean-air benefits.

Environmental Education Workshops for Grandparents of Preschoolers

CUSPDear Friend,

Do you remember playing outside for hours and being captivated by nature as a child?  Would you like to share your enthusiasm for the outdoors with your grandchildren?   

Project Learning Tree is offering workshops throughout the month of September tailored specifically for grandparents interested in learning fun and easy activities for engaging 3-6 year olds in the natural world.  Early childhood is the best time to ignite interest in life-long learning about the environment, and exploring nature is a great way to spend time together.  The 3 hour workshops are hands-on, and participants will take home an activity guide and music CD.  Visit http://coloradoplt.org/ for details and to register for the workshops.

Sept. 4     The Wildlife Experience, Parker
Sept. 10    The Gardens at Spring Creek, Ft. Collins
Sept. 11    Denver Indian Center
Sept. 12    South Platte Park, Littleton
Sept. 16    The Hope Center, Denver
Sept. 19    Hudson Gardens & Event Center, Littleton
Sept. 22    Lamb Library, Pueblo
Sept. 28    Woodland Park Senior Center, Woodland Park
Sept. 27    Lookout Mt. Nature Center, Golden
Sept. 29    The Delta Center, Delta

CUSP is a strong supporter of Project Learning Tree, a 40-year-old environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation.  I encourage you to explore their website for a wealth of environmental education resources and opportunities.

For more environmental education resources, visit CUSP’s environmental education website and register for free to access activities and lesson plans.   
Thank you for your continued support.

CUSP Executive Director

Next PASF/Ft Carson Sustainability Breakfast Sept. 10 – Stormwater

Urban RunoffNext Sustainability Breakfast topic: Stormwater

Wednesday September 10, 7:30am – 9:00am
Ivywild School 1604 S. Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80905, Wildcat ROOM 94

Join the conversation with:

– Dave Munger, Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force
– Tim Mitros, Stormwater Manager, City of Colorado Springs
– Alison Plute, Watershed Project Manager, CS Utilities

These free and open events are hosted by the Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future and Fort Carson. The focus of our breakfasts is to share information, identify common initiatives and areas of collaboration to solve current challenges. Join the conversation!

Urban Runoff2


Energy Tip September 2, 2014

Little owl11solar-powered-landscape-lightsEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did you know?”  Choose the small solar powered lights for your landscape lighting. They’re easy to find online or in garden stores and are just one way how to save energy in the garden.

U.S. Electrical Generation from Renewables Hits 14.3%

NA Clean EnergyArticle from North American Clean Energy:  Click here to see article

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)’s latest “Electric Power Monthly” report, with data for the first six months of 2014, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.3% of net U.S. electrical generation.  Conventional hydropower accounted for 7.0% while non-hydro renewables provided an even larger share – 7.3%.

Overall, electrical generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) expanded by 10.4% compared to the first half of 2013.

Wind power alone increased by 9.0% compared to last year and accounted for 5.0% of the nation’s electrical generation during the first six months of 2014, while solar-generated electricity more than doubled (growing by 115.7%). Biomass also grew by 4.0%. However, geothermal power dipped by 1.5% and conventional hydropower declined by 4.2%.

Even with the lower output from hydropower and geothermal, net U.S. electrical generation from all renewable sources combined grew by 2.73%. By comparison, net electrical generation from all energy sources –  renewables, fossil fuels and nuclear power – grew by 2.59%.

“Not long ago, EIA was forecasting that renewables would not reach 14% of U.S. electrical generation until the year 2040,” noted Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “And even the current 14.3% figure undoubtedly understates the real contribution from renewables inasmuch as EIA’s data does not fully reflect distributed and off-grid generation.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its most recent “Electric Power Monthly” on August 25th, 2014 with data through June 30th, 2014; see: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly.  The relevant charts are Tables ES1.A, ES1.B, 1.1, and 1.1.A.

Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Colorado Wind Energy Forum on October 1, 2014 at the University of Denver


The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) would like to invite you to participate in the 2014 Colorado Wind Energy Forum on October 1, 2014 at the University of Denver.  Click here for registration details.  

It’s an exciting time for wind in Colorado, as we are consistently ranked among the top 10 wind energy states in the country, with installed wind capacity of more than 2,300 MW – representing an impressive $4 billion in wind investments. At this scale, wind is increasingly cost-competitive and utilities like Xcel are purchasing more wind power in Colorado to lock in fixed, low-price electricity to save consumers money.  

Commit just one day and get the most current and pivotal information related to Colorado’s wind energy landscape.  In addition, you will:

  • Explore benefits and challenges in Colorado’s current wind industry, and learn what the future holds
  • Meet with Colorado’s policy, industry, and government leaders
  • Interact with wind industry experts on national, regional, and state wind markets
  • Learn the ins-and-outs of wind energy transmission, economics, and integration
  • Examine the DOE Wind Vision and what it means for Colorado
  • Discover wind’s positive impacts on local economic development

We have many new developments and different perspectives to discuss at this year’s Colorado Wind Forum:  EPA’s release of the draft carbon regulations, the implementation of SB252 which expanded the state’s renewable energy standard, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Vision.  At the 2nd Annual AWEA Colorado Wind Energy Forum you will have a unique opportunity to learn how each of these current issues, as well as upcoming state and federal elections, may impact future wind development in Colorado. 


Energy Tip 9/26/2014

energy-star-logoLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?”  Purchase efficient equipment. Look for Energy Star office equipment, such as computers, printers and fax machines. They use less energy than standard office equipment.

National Hydropower Association’s Southwest Regional Meeting Sept. 9 – 10, Golden, CO


Register today to join industry professionals for interactive discussions covering a variety of regional topics including Hydro Research Foundation and NHA’s Washington Update, Bureau of Reclamation Briefing, Hot Topics in the Southwest, NHA Operational Excellence, Small Hydro and Conduit Success Stories.   Register today!

Basic Meeting OutlineMonday, September 8, 20146:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Welcome Networking Reception and Networking


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

7:30 AM – 5:30 AM

Full Day Meeting (Breakfast and Lunch provided)


Session Topics to include:

  • NHA Washington Update
  • Hydro Research Foundation Update
  • Bureau of Reclamation Session
  • Hot Topics in the Southwest
  • NHA Operational Excellence
  • Small Hydro / Conduit Success Stories


Wednesday, September 10, 2014 

9:00 – 11:00 AM

Tour of NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF)


11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Tour of the Bureau of Reclamation


NHA will be holding similar Regional Meetings in other areas of the country throughout the year. Please check www.hydro.org for details.

Center for Neighborhood Technology Launches “Rain Ready” Initiative


Rain ReadyThe Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based nonprofit with expertise in water management and urban flooding, has launched a new resource to help individuals, businesses, and communities find solutions to the problem of too much or too little water. The Rain Ready Initiative offers a suite of policies and practices to help residents, communities, and states plan for weather events associated with climate change. Rain Ready helps municipal and state leaders approach the challenges of flooding, water shortage, and/or water pollution in customized and cost-effective ways. Although each state differs in weather, geography, urban development, and population, states can draw from a broad set of actions to help communities protect themselves now and reduce risks in the future. To learn more, visit the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Rain Ready announcement

Who is CNT?

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) is an award-winning innovations laboratory for urban sustainability. CNT works across disciplines and issues, including transportation and community development, energy, water, and climate change.


New Online Tool Provides State and Local Energy Data at Your Fingertips


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, with help from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has launched a new website that provides state and local decision makers easy access to a wealth of energy data specific to their location. The resources and data can be used to support strategic energy planning processes and deployment of clean energy projects.

By entering a city and state or zip code into the State and Local Energy Data (SLED) online tool, users can see how their current electricity prices compare with the state and national averages, learn about applicable policies and incentives that could affect clean energy projects in their state, find available renewable energy resources, get details on alternative transportation fuel costs, and much more—all in one location. SLED, which replaces the Community Renewable Energy Deployment Project Development tool, aggregates data from a wide variety of sources including the Energy Information Administration, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, the Alternative Fuels Data Center, and NREL.

Watch the SLED video for an overview of the tool as well as an example of how the City of Milwaukee anticipates leveraging it for future planning efforts.


Energy Tip August 19, 2014

shower headLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?”  Install water saving devices. Use low-flow showerheads on all showers and faucet aerators on all faucets to reduce your hot water use.

Register to Attend the Catamount Institute’s 2014 Colorado Sustainability Conference

Resilience through Sustainability

This year the Colorado Sustainability Conference will be held at the Colorado College Campus.  Friday September 26 will be a familiar day with high level education for students, business owners, educators and decision-makers in the private, public and military sectors.  Friday will feature 2 keynote speakers, 16 different breakout sessions, an exhibit hall with businesses featuring their innovative services and products. Day 2, Saturday September 27th, will be a community celebration of Sustainability open to the public. The exhibit hall will be open to all and other kid friendly activities will be added. A main stage will have short presentations on how families can make simple changes in their lives to become more sustainable. 

See the full schedule and more information on our website

Registration page is here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/colorado-sustainability-conference-registration-12642402767

National Environmental Education Foundation’s Take a Second Video Contest


Take a SecondNEEF invites the public to watch its Take a Second video to learn how we can find time for the environment every day, learn different ways you can save energy, show in an Instagram video how you take a few seconds to share energy, and win great prizes by entering the Take a Second contest at http://takeasec.org/

Until October 3, share how you are taking a few seconds to save energy in an Instagram video for a chance to win a Samsung Premium Laptop, a Samsung Galaxy Tab, a $250 Home Depot gift card, and more!

Learn more at http://takeasec.org/


Energy Tip August 12, 2014

Little owl11natural-gasjpg-afae8aaec55c691bEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?”   If possible, use natural gas for heating. Consider switching to a natural gas heating system. Natural gas is less expensive than other heating fuels.

Opportunity to Provide Input on the Pikes Peak Region’s Transit and Specialized Transportation Plans

PP Transit





Your insights and ideas are needed to help shape the future of regional transportation in the Pikes Peak area, to guide future planning for the region’s fixed-route transit system and specialized transportation services that provide door-to-door transportation for people with special needs.

Please attend a community meeting on Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 4-6 pm at the City Administration Building, Room 102. The format will be an open house with multiple opportunities to provide input. A brief presentation and question/answer session will begin at 4:30 pm.

An online questionnaire will be available on the project website by Thursday, August 28th for those of you who are unable to attend.

To stay up-to-date on the 2040 Regional Transit and Specialized Transportation Plans and/or if the flyer below did not download appropriately, please visit: http://www.movingforwardplan.org/transit-and-specialized-transportation


First Annual Creek Week Litter Clean Up in the Fountain Creek Watershed

Check out the entire Creek Week Info Sheet or view their website here.

Creek Week 2014

Energy Tip August 5, 2014

laptopEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?”   Little owl11Consider having employees use lap top computers since they use up to 80 percent less energy than a standard desktop computer.

Comment on the Colorado Water Plan

CUSP Watershed NewsDear Friend,

Water is the lifeblood of our state.  In order to successfully manage this precious resource, we need to work together on proactive planning that takes future changes and the values of all Coloradans into account.  

The Colorado Water Plan was conceived in May 2013 to do just that.  Through the work of Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee, and residents across the state, the plan seeks to secure Colorado’s water future by addressing issues such as:

  • Increasing demand
  • Drought and variable climate conditions
  • “Buy and dry” purchasing that reduces the amount of productive agricultural land
  •  Challenges within and between basins
  • Water quality and quantity
  • Interstate water concerns

In doing so, the Colorado Water Plan must incorporate:

  • Productive economies that support cities, agriculture, recreation, and tourism
  • Efficient and effective water infrastructure
  • Healthy watersheds, waterways, and wildlife

After many hours of work, basin plans are now ready for your review and comment.  Once finalized, these basin-specific plans will be combined into the statewide water plan.

Take a look at the South Platte/Metro Draft Basin Implementation Plan, and leave a comment by visiting the Get Involved page on the Colorado Water Plan website.  Please take the time to contribute and share the plan with others.

Look for the entire Colorado Water Plan draft in September on the Colorado Water Plan website.
Thank you for your continued support.

CUSP Executive Director

Energy Tip July 30, 2014

carrier-furnacesLittle owl11Energy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?”  Purchase an energy-efficient furnace. Select an energy-efficient furnace model by looking for an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 90 percent or greater.

Solar Power’s Growth: Why Renewables are Taking Over

solar growthSolar power is scaling up even faster than cell phones.  Watch this intriguing Youtube video put together by the Rocky Mountain Institute that demonstrates the dramatic growth in the solar industry.  Are renewables finally becoming competitive with fossil fuels?


Colorado Springs Utilities Forming Advisory Group

COS UtilitiesColorado Springs Utilities is soliciting candidates to participate on an advisory group to gain community input on our Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP). The advisory group will consist of 12-15 citizen-owners/ratepayers from the Colorado Springs Utilities service area that represent community values and concerns and who offer equal representation of technical and non-technical expertise. Ideally, we are looking for those individuals who can offer substantive comments and recommendations during public process to aid in the decision making process.

Participation on the EIRP will involve:

An expected one year term, with monthly, and possibly more frequent, meeting attendance.

•Full participation in meeting discussions and problem solving/decision-making processes, which may require completion of tasks outside of assigned meeting times.

•Assisting in stakeholder identification and the most appropriate means to communicate/engage those stakeholders

•Responsibility for distributing information to your representative groups, and developing ongoing two-way communication with the public process manager.

Selection will be based on industry and community perspectives, commitment, diversity, technical knowledge and a balance of interests.

Applications must be received by August 4, 2014.  If selected to serve on the EIRP, you will be notified by August 22.

Download and fill out the application here.


Colorado Springs Public Market Project

cspublic marketWhat if … we had a downtown public market in Colorado Springs, open all year, in a landmark indoor-outdoor facility, to serve the entire community with locally grown and produced food and related goods? And why not build in flexible space for arts, entertainment, education, wellness, even business incubation? The big concept: a focal point and gathering place defined and enriched by the community it serves … to express the best of what we do right here, while meeting genuine demand for local food commerce, connections and culture.

Please visit the http://cspublicmarket.com/ website to explore the progress being made by this project.

Also, check out their Public Circle at http://publiccircleco.com/, a forum to connect and engage our southern Colorado community in the business of true “food shift” toward a local food economy.



Energy Tip July 23, 2014

Little owl11plastic-bag-trashEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?”  88 billion plastic bags are used in the U.S each year. This represents 12 million barrels of oil. It is estimated that it takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose. Do your part and limit use of plastic bags or bring your own re-useable bag when shopping.

Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center Summer Newsletter

Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center

Beaver Bulletin Volume 3 Issue 1

The Beaver bulletin is back from Hiatus

Hello from the staff and directors at Beaver Ponds.  There are exciting and new changes afoot at Beaver Ponds that we are eager to share with you.  Our newsletter will fill in the details and share the highlights of this past spring and this summer.

Please CLICK HERE to download our most recent newsletter or visit our webpage http://www.beaverponds.org/ or on Facebook


– New Director

– Interpretive Trails

– AmeriCorps Volunteers

– Board of Directors News

– Shearing Update

– Pollinator Garden Update

– Net Zero Cabin Project

News and Events from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation

PPCFPPCF’s complete July Newsletter is available online here.   Some of the highlights:

Venetucci Farm Stand is now open

Sunday Market Downtown in Acacia Park Sundays

Volunteer Opportunities at Venetucci Farm

Living Close To Home education series at Venetucci Farm including:

– Learn to Make Goat Cheese July 26, 2:00 pm

– Home Canning for Beginners August 23, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

– Harvesting Seed, Harvesting Life  August 23, 10:00 – 11:30 am

– Wild Edibles Workshop  September 20, 9:00 – 10:30 pm

– Introduction to Beekeeping  September 27, 1:30 – 3:30 pm

Hunt or Gather Urban Homesteading Day  August 24

Pikes Peak Urban Gardens hosts their

annual Garlic and Chile Festival September 13 at Summerland Gardens, and

Pick and Pay, Thursdays and Saturdays at Harlan Wolfe Ranch

Energy Tip July 16, 2014

Little owl11computerEnergy-Wise Willie Asks: “Did You Know?”  Set your computer to sleep or hibernate mode instead of using a screen saver so it uses less electricity during periods of inactivity.

Controlling Noxious Weeds

Have you noticed weeds popping up on your property and wondering what to do about them?

While some weeds may look pretty, these non-natives can cause a lot of harm.  Non-native weeds are classified as noxious if they aggressively invade native plant communities or crops; can poison livestock; can carry damaging insects, diseases, or parasites; or are detrimental to the environment.  These nasty invaders displace native vegetation, threatening wildlife habitat, valuable natural resources, and recreation areas.  Besides the ecological impacts, noxious weeds also cost Coloradans millions in harvest losses, damage to livestock, and lost productivity.   

Preventing the establishment of noxious weeds is the best method of control, and can be done by supporting healthy native plant populations and maintaining healthy pastures.  But if you have already seen some weeds springing up, dealing with them sooner rather than later save you a lot of time, trouble, and money over the long term.       

Click on the following tables to learn more about how to spot and control common noxious weeds in our region.  Make sure to always wear gloves and protective clothing when handling weeds to prevent skin irritation, and never dispose of weed clippings in the trash or compost. 

noxious weeds


Farmers Markets in El Paso and Teller Counties

COS Farmers Markets
Access to high quality, healthy and locally grown food is a one of the priority goals of the Agriculture section of the Pikes Peak Regional Sustainability Plan (PPR 2030): http://peakalliance.co/uploads/pdf/Final%20PPR%202030%20Plan.pdf

The many Farmers Markets currently in operation in El Paso and Teller Counties not only provide consumers with fresh seasonal options, but also help support the livelihood of farmers and ranchers in the area.

You can find farmers markets scheduled for nearly every day of the week from late May through September. Locations include Monument Hill, Broadmoor, Old Colorado City, Woodland Park, Memorial Park and many more. Please check out the excellent 2014 Colorado Springs Farmers Market Schedule on the Springs Bargains’ website: http://springsbargains.com/colorado-springs-farmers-market-schedule/ for a listing.


Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future Survey

PASF w Peak
What are your success stories?  If you are part of an organization in El Paso or Teller counties that includes sustainability in your efforts, please fill out this survey! It will help us celebrate regional progress, generate community-wide enthusiasm, and encourage greater participation in sustainability efforts.  Participants are eligible for two $50 Gift cards to local eateriesAdam’s Mountain Cafe and Poor Richard’s Downtown
Please also share with others in the community. We much appreciate it!
Please find the survey here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HT7CKGQ

The PPR 2030

Nearly 100 organizations were involved in the development of the Pikes Peak region’s first long-term sustainability plan – Looking to Our Future: Pikes Peak Region 2030 (PPR 2030). The PPR 2030 strives to improve our quality of life by balancing economic vitality, a healthy vibrant community, and mindful stewardship of the natural resources and environment for current and future generations.

What is PASF?

looking to our futureThe Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future (Peak Alliance) was formed to ensure the vision of regional sustainability continues and the work of so many volunteers does not just “sit on a shelf”.  The strength of PASF is in its broad-based support and partnership from many organizations and citizens located in El Paso and Teller Counties.  This survey will help PASF celebrate regional progress, generate community-wide enthusiasm, and encourage greater participation in sustainability efforts.  To that end, we need to know about your organization’s recent and current projects and your priorities for the future of the region.  PASF is asking for your input in this brief survey. The data collected will be used in an education and outreach campaign, and to help us prioritize our efforts going forward.

Thank you for your participation!

Please Like the Peak Alliance on Facebook

CSU Extension Energy Newsletter June 2014 (sorry for the formatting)

Issue 55                                                                                                                                                                          June 2014
Welcome to the 55th issue of the CSU Extension Energy newsletter. This newsletter is distributed as a way to give the public, our partners, and Extension staff updates on CSU Extension energy work and its context in Colorado. Our overall mission is: 1. to empower Coloradans to make more informed energy decisions; and 2. to promote a broad, unbiased understanding of energy issues. 

Please forward this newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.  Please also feel free to send us your organization’s energy-related news and events for listing in future newsletters.  And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook to get updates on select energy news from Colorado and around the world.

Table of Contents











  • Workshop: Practical Uses of Solar Energy.  Presented by Ed Eaton and Johnny Weiss, Co-

Founder of Solar Energy International.  Paonia, CO.  June 9-12.  http://www.oursunsolar.com/

A Huge Majority of Americans Support Stronger Carbon Regulations, Even if it Costs More.

By Scott Clement and Peyton M. Craighill, Washington Post


A lopsided and bipartisan majority of Americans support federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that also finds most are willing to stomach a higher energy bill to pay for it.

Matt Brown/Associated Press – Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed the Obama administration an important victory in its effort to reduce power plant pollution that contributes to unhealthy air in neighboring states.

Fully 70 percent say the federal government should require limits to greenhouse gases from existing power plants, the focus of a new rule announced Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency. An identical 70 percent supports requiring states to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions within their borders.  (Read everything you need to know about the EPA’s proposed rules).

Democrats and Republicans are in rare agreement on the issue. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans, 76 percent among independents and 79 percent of Democrats support state-level limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Strong tea party supporters are most resistant to limits on emissions by states and power plants; 50 percent say the federal government should impose caps, while 45 percent say they should not.

GHG Regs Poll

National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change



Projected climate change is a complex multi-decade challenge. Without action to build resilience, it will increase security risks over much of the planet. It will not only increase threats to developing nations in resource-challenged parts of the world, but it will also test the security of nations with robust capability, including significant elements of our National Power here at home. Even though we may not have 100 percent certainty as to the cause or even the exact magnitude of the impacts, the risks associated with projected climate change warrant taking action today to plan and prepare for changes in our communities, at home and abroad.

When it comes to thinking through long-term global challenges, none are more qualified than our most senior military leaders. Not only do they have decades of experience managing risk and responding to conflict on the battlefield, but they are also experts in geopolitical analysis and long-range strategic planning.

Military leaders typically look at challenges with imperfect or conflicting information. Despite not having 100 percent certainty, they weigh the consequences of various courses of action—including the consequences of no action—and make informed decisions based on their experience and risk forbearance.

It is through this analytical prism that 11 retired Generals and Admirals came together in 2007, under the moniker of CNA’s Military Advisory Board, to examine the security implications of climate change. Their landmark report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, was the first time that such an elite body of military leaders expressed their concern over the security implications of climate change.

Now, seven years later, the Military Advisory Board has gathered again to re-examine the nexus of projected climate change and national security. This update reflects their decades of experience as risk managers and geopolitical security experts. With the foundation of CNA’s established analytical prowess, the report deserves strong attention from not only the security community, but also from the entire government and the American public.

The update serves as a bipartisan call to action. It makes a compelling case that climate change is no longer a future threat—it is taking place now. It observes that climate change serves as a catalyst of conflict in vulnerable parts of the world, and that projected changes in global migration patterns will make the challenges even more severe. It identifies threats to elements of National Power here at home, particularly those associated with our infrastructure and our ability to maintain military readiness.

The update makes clear that actions to build resilience against the projected impacts of climate change are required today. We no longer have the option to wait and see. We applaud this group of American patriots for this important update. We commend its reading in full and its recommendations to the Administration, to Congress, and to the American people.

Michael Chertoff – Former Secretary of Homeland Security

Leon Panetta – Former Secretary of Defense

Please find the entire Report here:  CNA_MAB_2014


Third National Climate Assessment Released May 6

National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory CommitteeLogo of the National Climate Assessment

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has released the Third National Climate Assessment. A 60-person Federal Advisory Committee (The “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee” or NCADAC) oversaw the development of the draft climate report.  The NCADAC, whose members are available here (and listed in the report), was established under the Department of Commerce in December 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is a federal advisory committee established as per the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972. The Committee serves to oversee the activities of the National Climate Assessment. Its members are diverse in background, expertise, geography and sector. A formal record of the committee can be found at the NOAA NCADAC website.  A list of the committee’s decisions and actions is available on our NCADAC page. The NCADAC engaged more than 250 authors in the creation of the report. The authors are acknowledged at the beginning of the chapters they co-authored. Cover of the Third National Climate AssessmentA draft report was released in January 2013 for a 90-day public comment period. Over 4,000 public comments were received and addressed by the authors. A panel of the National Academies also reviewed the draft report and published its consensus report. The report was revised by the authors in response to the public comments and National Academies review.  NCADAC then submitted the Government Review Draft and the derivative Highlights document for formal interagency review. Final versions of the Third NCA and Highlights were adopted by NCADAC on May 6, 2014, and submitted to the Federal government. The Public Review Draft, Government Review Draft, and NCADAC-approved Final Report can be found below. For more information on the NCA process and background, previous assessments and other NCA information, please view the Assessment section of globalchange.gov. To access and read the public review draft, government review draft, and NCADAC-approved versions of the final report, please download the full PDFs or individual chapters from the webpage:    http://www.globalchange.gov/ncadac
Additionally, see the Whitehouse report on the Climate Change and President Obama’s Action Plan here:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change

A Message From Grid Alternatives – Solar Systems for Low Income Families

GRID AlternativesGRID Alternatives is a nonprofit organization that brings the benefits of solar technology to communities that would not otherwise have access, providing needed savings for families, preparing workers for jobs in the fast-growing solar industry, and helping clean our environment.  We opened our Colorado office last year, and have now installed 35 systems in the Denver Metro area, preventing 4,052 tons of CO2 emissions and saving our client families $1,127,691 over the solar installations lifetime. In 2014, we’re pushing hard to bring our program statewide.  GRID started in Oakland, CA in 2004 and now has offices in CA, NY in addition to a national tribal program and new international program. In total, we’ve served over 4000 families with almost 12 MW of residential solar and an avoided over 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions (a virtual forest!).

We would love to help your community expand low-income access to solar and energy efficiency services and give community volunteers opportunities for job training in the solar industry. We bring a lot to the table for each of our projects – leveraging in-kind donations from for-profit solar companies, our volunteer-based workforce model, and our experienced, fully-licensed staff. The families we serve contribute at least 16 hours of ‘sweat equity’ for each project, and pay 2 cents/kWh for their electricity after their system is installed (our installations typically cover 80% of a homeowners electricity demand, saving families an average of $25,000 over the installations lifetime). We fund the rest of our program costs through a mix of local sponsors, foundations, municipalities and utilities, and individual donations.

Our model works best when we have support from stakeholders in the communities we serve, especially utility companies and municipal leadership. Specifically, our program flourishes in regions with:

-Strong community support for accessible solar, with an active volunteer community

-Municipalities/utilities that make solar accessible to low-income individuals through rebates, special programs for low-income households, sliding rates, grants, etc.

-A utility that allows 3rd party solar installation for low-income clients through a Power Purchase Agreement. Leveraging the PPA model significantly reduces GRID’s program costs so we can serve more families

We are very happy to discuss our program in further detail should anyone like more information. We’re looking forward to continuing to be a part of the conversation as Pike’s Peak plans for a more sustainable future, and hope to be able to bring our program services to your community in the near future.

With best regards,

Tom Figel

GRID Alternatives Colorado

1120 W 12th Ave | Denver, CO 80204

o: 303-968-1631  |  c: 206-941-8699 |  f: 303-484-5832

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Photo Gallery


ACEEE’s New and Improved State and Local Policy Database




Introducing ACEEE’s New and Improved State and Local Policy Database

by David Ribeiro, research analyst

State and local governments are laboratories for innovation in energy efficiency policies and programs. Policymakers, regulators, and citizens at all levels increasingly recognize that energy efficiency is crucially important to their economies and are increasingly taking action and seeking information on policies and programs in their communities. Today ACEEE is launching a new database tool that highlights the energy efficiency leadership-and opportunities for improvement-of state and local governments around the United States.

ACEEE’s new State and Local Policy Database includes comprehensive information on energy efficiency policies currently implemented at the state and local level. The database tracks policy activity across multiple sectors, including state and local governments, utilities, transportation, buildings, combined heat and power, and appliance standards. Users can click on a state or city on the database map to learn more about the specific policies that encourage energy efficiency. Users can also look at a particular policy type and compare the approaches of all states or cities to that topic…

To continue reading this post, visit: http://aceee.org/blog/2014/05/introducing-aceee-s-new-and-improved- 

About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit aceee.org



The Latest Wind Energy Information from AWEA

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its Annual Market Report for 2013, as well as its First Quarter 2014 Market Report.

So what’s new?

The U.S. wind industry did not install much wind power capacity in 2013, reflecting the impact of the policy uncertainty that the wind industry faced throughout 2012

The numbers were small:

  • 1,087 megawatts (MW) installed in 2013, compared to 13,131 in 2012 – a 92% drop in new capacity
  • Corresponding drop in investment, $2 billion into the US economy in 2013,  compared to $25 billion in 2012
  • Loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs – ending the year with 50,500 total wind industry jobs, as compared to 80,700 jobs at the end of 2012

In total, though, wind power is making impressive contributions to the U.S. electricity supply:

  • Wind now provides over 4% of our electricity nationally
  • Iowa and South Dakota get over 25% of their electricity from wind power; nine states get more than 10% and six states get more than 15% of their electricity from wind power

As you may recall, Congress allowed the PTC to expire at the end of 2012.  Then, our legislators extended the credit in early January 2013, allowing projects that started construction by the end of 2013 to qualify for the credit (rather than requiring that they be operational by the end of 2013, as  required in the past).  The uncertainty throughout 2012 caused wind project development to come to a halt, and manufacturing orders to cease, resulting in little development and significant job loss as noted above.

How’s this year looking so far?

The PTC extension in 2013 allowed developers to put plans back in motion.  As a result, 2014 is off to a great start:

  • Over 13,000 MW of wind power under construction – more than any other time in history – and including over 95 projects across 21 states
  • 214 MW of wind power installed so far — more than in the first three quarters of 2013
  • Utility companies and corporate purchasers continue to announce agreements to purchase wind power – they announced 8,000 MW of power purchase agreements in 2013, and about another 1,000 MW so far this year  

Is there a catch?

Yes – federal policy for the wind energy industry is still uncertain.  The PTC expired again, at the end of 2013.  Without an extension, the wind industry is looking at the prospect of near-term downturns in project development, and job layoffs as well.

The Senate Finance Committee has acted to extend the PTC, and a credit that developers can choose instead of the PTC, the investment tax credit (ITC).  They extended these provisions as part of the EXPIRE Act in early April.  The bill moves to the Senate floor for consideration next.

Check out these resources if you’re interested in more information:



Manitou to power its municipal buildings from SunShare’s solar garden

by Wayne Heilman, Colorado Springs Gazette

Sunshare InstallManitou Springs has agreed to buy all of the electricity for city-owned facilities from a solar array that will be built in the Security area by Colorado Springs-based SunShare, becoming what the company says is the first city in the nation to have all of its facilities powered by a so-called “solar garden.”

Manitou Springs will pay 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour and use about one-fourth of the 2 megawatts of power the array will generate, said David Grossman, a spokesman for Colorado Springs Utilities, which will distribute the power to Manitou.
Read more at http://gazette.com/manitou-to-power-its-municipal-buildings-from-sunshares-solar-garden/article/1518718#kdksO8ZU0QQDY6ZE.99

The Energy Future of Colorado Springs: Powering Down Martin Drake

Forum 5-8-14

Pilot program cleans up Colorado Springs’ energy production

by Sam Baranowski, Fox21 NewsDrake - Wood

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — When you think of renewable energy, solar and wind are likely the first to come to mind.

But, at the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado springs, wood chips are being turned to fuel, and they say it’s one of the most reliable forms of green power.

Fort Carson has partnered with Colorado Springs Utilities on their “Woody Biomass” project, to trade natural wood waste like pallets, or used lumber for the energy Drake can create.

It’s a win-win, according to Project Manager Terry Meikle; Fort Carson gets renewable energy credit toward becoming a Net Zero Energy Installation, and Meikle gets to study the successes of woody biomass in Drake’s system.

So how does it work?  Read the whole article here.

ACEEE News: States Achieve Big Savings With Energy Efficiency Targets

ACEEEWashington, D.C. (April 9, 2014): Energy efficiency targets implemented in half of U.S. states in 2012 saved enough electricity to power 2 million homes for a year. These are the findings of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards: A New Progress Report on State Experience, a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, based on the most recently available data. The report also finds that most states met or exceeded their targets and that these targets are making substantial contributions to national energy savings.

“Energy efficiency is a cost effective and reliable resource that deserves to be a significant part of every state’s energy portfolio,” said Annie Downs, ACEEE state policy research analyst and lead author of the report. “Setting energy efficiency targets is smart policy that encourages utilities to help their customers save energy through efficiency programs, instead of spending even more money building unnecessary new power plants.”

The report analyzes energy efficiency targets from states across the country, including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Nevada.

Other Key Findings Include:

  • Experience leads to success. States that ramp up targets over time are able to improve programs to meet rising savings targets.
  • The most effective energy savings targets are paired with financial incentives that encourage program administrators to exceed targets.
  • Spending limits and policies that allow large customers like factories to opt-out of efficiency programs artificially limit energy savings potential.
  • EERS policies can be tailored to meet the needs of geographically and politically diverse states.

To read the report, visit: http://aceee.org/research-report/u1403  

Smart Growth America’s “Measuring Sprawl 2014″ Report

Smart Growth America

Measuring Sprawl 2014

Some places in the United States are sprawling out, some places are building in compact and connected ways, and the difference between these two strategies affects the lives of millions of Americans.

In 2002, Smart Growth America released Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact, a landmark study that has been widely used by researchers to examine the costs and benefits of sprawling development. In peer-reviewed research, sprawl has been linked to physical inactivity, obesity, traffic fatalities, poor air quality, residential energy use, emergency response times, teenage driving, lack of social capital and private-vehicle commute distances and times.

Measuring Sprawl 2014 updates that research and analyzes development patterns in 221 metropolitan areas and 994 counties in the United States as of 2010, looking to see which communities are more compact and connected and which are more sprawling. Researchers used four primary factors—residential and employment density; neighborhood mix of homes, jobs and services; strength of activity centers and downtowns; and accessibility of the street network—to evaluate development in these areas and assign a Sprawl Index score to each. This report includes a list of the most compact and most sprawling metro areas in the country.

This report also examines how index scores relate to life in that community. The researchers found that several quality of life factors improve as Sprawl Index scores rise. Individuals in compact, connected metro areas have greater economic mobility. Individuals in these areas spend less on the combined cost of housing and transportation, and have greater options for the type of transportation to take. In addition, individuals in compact, connected metro areas tend to live longer, safer, healthier lives than their peers in metro areas with sprawl. Obesity is less prevalent in compact counties, and fatal car crashes are less common.

Finally, this report includes specific examples of how communities are building to be more connected and walkable, and how policymakers at all levels of government can support their efforts.

EPA releases two updated guides for local governments on developing and implementing greenhouse gas reduction programs

EPA State and Local Climate and Energy NewsletterEPA has released two climate and energy strategy guides for local governments.

On-Site Renewable Energy Generation. A growing number of local governments are turning to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydropower, and landfill gas, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve air quality and energy security, boost the local economy, and pave the way to a sustainable energy future. Local governments can work with utilities, local businesses, nonprofit groups, residents, state agencies, and green power marketers and brokers to plan and implement on-site renewable energy generation projects at local government facilities and throughout their communities.

Combined Heat and Power. Combined heat and power, also known as cogeneration, refers to the simultaneous production of electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source. Simultaneous production is more efficient than producing electricity and thermal energy through two separate power systems and requires less fuel. Reductions in fuel use can produce a number of benefits, including energy cost savings, reduced GHG emissions, and reductions in other air emissions.

These guides provide comprehensive information for local government staff and policy makers on how to implement these GHG reduction strategies, including:

  • Products/technologies and their applications
  • Environmental, energy, and economic benefits
  • Steps for designing procurement plans/installations
  • Key stakeholders to engage
  • Policy mechanisms for initiating programs
  • Implementation strategies for success
  • Costs and funding opportunities

Key features of the guides include:

  • Case studies and examples from communities across the United States
  • Links to technical resources, analytical tools, and sources of funding

These guides are part of EPA’s Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series, which is designed to help policy makers and program staff plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective climate and energy projects that generate environmental, economic, social, and human health benefits.

To access these guides and others in this series, please visit the Local Climate and Energy Strategy Series page.

Colorado First State to Limit Methane Pollution from Oil and Gas Wells

Feb 25, 2014 |By Stephanie Paige Ogburn and ClimateWire
Wattenberg Gas Field
Drilling a well in the Wattenberg Gas Field, north of Denver, Colorado, USA. Credit: Plazak/Wikimedia Commons
On Sunday, Colorado became the first state in the nation to limit methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

After four days of hearings, the state’s Air Quality Control Commission adopted rules that will require oil and gas companies to find and fix methane leaks, as well as install technology that captures 95 percent of emissions of both volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which cause air pollution, and methane.

Read more here

Fort Carson Among EPA’s Top Green Energy Users in Nation

Sust. Ft CarsonThe Colorado Springs Business Journal, Colorado Springs, Colo.

By Marija B. Vader

Fort Carson was recently recognized as No. 66 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Top 100 list of the largest green power users in the nation. Fort Carson also ranks  No. 4 on the Top 10 Federal Government list.

Fort Carson uses nearly 82 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 39 percent of the Mountain Post’s electricity use.

As part of efforts to switch from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives, Fort Carson buys a utility green power product from Colorado Springs Utilities. In addition, the installation generates green power from on-site solar energy systems.

Also, Fort Carson has partnered with CSU on a wood biomass energy project for one year. Fort Carson will purchase 10.9 million kilowatt hours of energy. The pilot project runs through Dec. 31.

This sustainable energy purchase will account for 5 percent of the Mountain Post’s total electric use. Additionally, Fort Carson will contribute 10 to 15 percent of the wood needed to generate this sustainable energy and help with the installation’s net zero waste goal efforts, according to a news release from Fort Carson.

According to the EPA, Fort Carson’s green power use of nearly 82 million kilowatt hours is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of more than 12,000 passenger vehicles per year, or the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of nearly 9,000 average American homes annually.

The WhiteWave Foods Company of Boulder was listed number 62 in the nation’s top 100 green power users.

The list of companies that consumed 100 percent of their power from renewable resources included these Colorado companies: Quantitative Ecological Services of Castle Rock, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, the Griffis Group in Denver, Ricoh Production Print Solutions of Boulder, Regis University of various locations in Colorado, Alpine Banks of Colorado, Swisslog Healthcare Solutions of Denver, Wolf Creek Ski Area of Durango, Larkburger of Arvada, Naropa University of Boulder, New Hope Natural Media of Boulder, the Geological Society of America of Boulder, Coda Coffee of Denver, Enviro Friendly Printing of Littleton and others.

For more information about Sustainable Fort Carson, click here

Free Radon Class From CSU Extension March 9

CSU Extension is holding a Free class on radon Sunday, March 9th from 2-3 p.m. at the Woodland Park Library.  Please see the attached form for more info.

To attend the class, please RSVP with Mark J. Platten by March 5th at 686-7961 or mark.platten@colostate.edu  Mark will provide short-term test kits, a DVD, radon handouts, and light refreshments.

If you are unable to attend the workshop, you can still receive free test kits from 1) the building/planning department at 540 Manor Court in Woodland Park, 2) Public Health located behind Venture Foods in Divide, or 3) the Centennial Building, 112 N. A. St. Cripple Creek, to the left as you enter the doors on the lower level.

See the event flyer here: Free radon news program

The Average Coloradan Uses Over 90 Million BTUs of Energy Every Year for Electricity, Heat, and Transportation

CSU Ext. with RamThis fact is from the February issue of the CSU Extension Office Energy Newsletter.  The newsletter is distributed to give their public, partners and Extension staff updates on CSU Extension energy work and its context in Colorado.  Their overall mission is to 1. to empower Coloradans to make more informed energy decisions and 2. to promote a broad unbiased understanding of energy issues.





Interesting facts from the February issue of the CSU Extension Newsletter:

The average Colorado household uses about 8,000 kWh of electricity and 700 therms of natural gas every year. Since the average Colorado household contains about 2.5 people, we can attribute about 3,200 kWh and 280 therms of natural gas to each individual. For transportation, the average American driver drives about 13,000 miles/year. At 20 miles per gallon, an average driver consumes about 650 gallons of gasoline annually. Considering almost 68% of Americans are registered drivers, we can attribute about 440 gallons to each person.

Kilowatt-hours, therms, and gallons of gasoline all are different units of energy that can be united into a single unit called the British Thermal Unit, or BTU. The image of a lit match is often used to convey the amount of energy contained in one BTU. In converting kWh (3,412), therms (100,000), and gallons (116,090) into BTUs, we can figure out that the average Coloradan uses over 90 million BTUs of energy every year for electricity, heat, and transportation. That’s a lot of matches!

Put another way (27,000 kWh), this is the equivalent of having a ‘halo’ of 30 one hundred watt incandescent bulbs shadowing us 24/7/365 to power our lives!


Master Gardener Month-by-Month Book Available

Teller Master GardenerThe Teller County Master Gardeners have put together a month-by-month gardening book for the county.  It is 120 pages of full-color articles, photos, gardening journals, and what you should be paying attention to each month.  Please see the attached pdf of the cover and table of contents for more info: Teller County Gardening Book Contents0001  The cost of the book is $20 and all proceeds will go back to providing continuing education for the Master Gardeners.

They can accept cash or checks, made to “Teller County Extension Fund.” The books are available from the building/planning department main desk located at 540 Manor Court in Woodland Park, just behind the Casa Grande restaurant.

Questions can be directed to:

Mark J. Platten, Teller County Extension Director, Colorado State University Extension

mark.platten@colostate.edu   719-686-7961 (office)   www.co.teller.co.us/CSU


Registration Open for CSU Extension Office’s Colorado Energy Master Program

CSU Ext. Energy MasterRegistration is OPEN through February 27 for the 2014 CSU Extension Colorado Energy Master program.

Please see the Colorado Energy Master Flyer 2014 and visit their website, http://www.ext.colostate.edu/energymaster/ for more information.

Although most coursework is offered online, hosting counties for 2014 in-person classes are:




Rio Grande



You do NOT have to be a county resident to attend in-person classes in a given county.

Black Hills Energy Announces Commercial Natural Gas Efficiency Program

BHEBlack Hills Energy and SmartWatt Energy have teamed up to offer an easy way for commercial customers to save money and energy.

Black Hills Energy Commercial Natural Gas Efficiency Program offers:


A free, comprehensive on-site natural gas evaluation

A complimentary proposal detailing how you can reduce natural gas costs

Incentives on natural gas efficiency upgrade costs

Interest-free financing for up to 12 months (up to $5,000)

Taking advantage of this new program is easy. Simply contact the program team to schedule your free, comprehensive on-site natural gas evaluation.

SmartWatt Energy will conduct the evaluation and install the natural gas efficiency upgrades – it’s that easy.

The Black Hills Energy Commercial Natural Gas Efficiency Program team is working with Black Hills Energy commercial natural gas customers to upgrade insulation and install hot water conservation measures, tankless water heaters and natural gas furnaces among other measures, for improved efficiency – saving you money and energy.

Take advantage of this important natural gas savings program today. Call

719.924.8307 for your free natural gas evaluation.

See the program flyer here:  BHE Gas Program General Flyer

Visit  www.bheSaveMoney.com to see all the BHE energy saving programs

ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-Run Behavior Programs

ACEEEACEEE is releasing the Field Guide to Utility-Run Behavior Programs, the first comparative analysis of programs that focus on changing customer behavior to save energy.

Many utilities have undertaken behavior-based programs to help meet savings targets set by regulators and their own business needs. Our study counted 281 of these programs, many with multiple iterations, offered by 104 energy providers and third parties between 2008 and 2013.

We managed to sort all these programs into 40 different categories, each of them grounded in the behavioral and cognitive sciences and representing a unique way of affecting consumer behavior. If you zoom out, the program types group themselves into three large families…

To continue reading the blog post visit: http://aceee.org/blog/2013/12/using-aceee-field-guide-utility-run-b

To read the report visit:  http://aceee.org/research-report/b132

About ACEEE: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and conferences, visit aceee.org.  

Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker Releases 2013 Year in Review

Adv. Energy Leg. TrackerRead the “2013 Year In Review” analysis paper
In 2013 there were 3,236 advanced energy-related bills introduced of which 589 were signed into law by governors around the nation. CNEE summarized enacted bills in this year-end paper. Click here for press release.
Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker is an online database of energy-related state legislation pending in all 50 states and District of Columbia.
Free to any user, view over 3,200 bills, and counting, related to advanced energy topics.  Legislation is organized into the following policy categories:
1.   Electricity Generation
2.   Energy Efficiency
3.   Financing
4.   Regulatory
5.   Natural Gas
6.   Emissions
7.   Transportation
8.   Infrastructure
9.   Economic Development
10. Other Energy

In total, the Tracker database provides current legislative language, recent actions, bill sponsor information, and policy trend analyses.

The AEL Tracker project is in partnership between Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) & Advanced Energy Economy (AEE)

The Energy Resource Center Offers Free Energy Audits and Efficiency Upgrades to Qualifying Residents

ERCThe Energy Resource Center, located in Colorado Springs, will perform free energy efficiency evaluations and upgrades for low income residents making less than 200% of the federal poverty level.  If your household receives assistance through the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), AND, Old Age Pension (OAP) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you are automatically qualified.  Check their Get Started Now: Low Income webpage to see if you meet the guidelines, to download the application and to check the list of other requirements and documents needed.

These services are available to residents of El Paso, Teller, Elbert, Freemont and Douglas Counties, and are provided in conjunction with the Colorado Energy Office, Colorado Springs Utilities, and other area utilities.

While  the services are intended primarily for homeowners in condominiums, townhomes, modular and site-built homes, they are also available for renters, though usually with the financial assistance of the landlord.

The process includes a two hour inspection of the home by a certified energy analyst, generation of a report of the most cost effective measures for improvement, and finally a one to three day visit by certified technicians to perform the upgrades, which can include insulation and air sealing, more efficient lighting, and repair or replacement of appliances and plumbing fixtures.  The result is a home which can save an average of 40% on your utility bill.

ERC also offers fee based services for homeowners and businesses that can afford an assessment and upgrade.  In this “pay it forward” model, the fees collected will help offset the cost of providing service to those residents who are income qualified and cannot afford it on their own.  A competitively priced energy assessment is followed by a report showing the cost saving potential of efficiency upgrades, along with the needed financial investment, available tax breaks and rebates, and the projected payback period.  The homeowner or business can then decide which measures are best for their situation.

The Energy Resource Center Home page is http://www.erc-co.org/  or they can be reached by phone at:  719-591-0772 or 1-800-949-6444


Obama Orders Federal Buildings to Triple Renewable Energy Use

From PV Magazine

U.S. President says government should lead by example,  targeting 20% renewable energy use by 2020 for all 500,000 federal  buildings.

The U.S. government has been ordered to lead by example in the nation’s  pursuit of a more renewable future – by none other than the President himself.

Barack Obama has urged the federal government to step up its use of renewable  energy sources in order to reach a 2020 target of 20% clean energy use.

As part of the President’s second-term drive to drastically alter the U.S.‘s dependence on fossil fuels, Obama signed a memorandum  Thursday stating that a more renewable future would also help reduce pollution,  tackle climate change, promote American energy independence and boost domestic  employment opportunities in the fields of solar and wind.

“In order to create a clean energy economy that will increase our nation’s  prosperity, promote energy security, combat climate change, protect the  interests of taxpayers, and safeguard the health of our environment, the federal  government must lead by example,” wrote Obama in the memorandum.

“During my administration, federal agencies have reduced their annual  greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15% (7.8 million metric tons) – the  equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from the road. Today I am establishing  new goals for renewable energy as well as new energy-management practices.”

Read the entire article here



GRID Alternatives Provides Solar Installations for Low Income Households

GRID AlternativesGRID Alternatives’ mission is to empower communities in need by providing renewable energy and energy efficiency services, equipment, and training. GRID Alternatives works collaboratively with communities and local organizations to identify specific needs and to develop renewable energy solutions that are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. – See more at:   http://www.gridalternatives.org/regions/colorado/learn/

A non-profit solar installer, GRID Alternatives leads teams of volunteers and job trainees to install solar electric systems exclusively for low-income homeowners, providing needed savings for families struggling to make ends meet, preparing workers for jobs in the fast-growing solar industry and reducing carbon emissions.  Originally started in California, GRID now serves Colorado with an office in Denver  They intend to expand services to all regions throughout our state.

Through their program, GRID seeks to address several key issues:

  • Workforce development – Using their own team of certified installers, they engage local volunteers to help install systems with a model of “Classroom on the Roof”
  • Economic Justice – By offsetting high electricity costs and the high % of income spent on energy, they improve the energy security and self reliance of their clients.
  • Community benefit – Long term benefits of free, clean energy  include more money for food, clothing and education, as well as cleaner air and widespread awareness and adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency practices in underserved communities.
  • Environmental justice – Offsetting the need for fossil fuels reduces CO2 emissions and other air pollutants, cuts down on water use and provides a more sustainable future for our children.
  • Growing industry and job opportunities – There are more people in America employed by the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries than there are in coal.  Jobs in every sector of the green economy are growing at a rate of 10% per year, nearly 5 times the growth of other industries.  Solar jobs can not be outsourced. GRID gives installer and management opportunities by starting with a volunteer model.  These job opportunities can help lift clients out of poverty and into a rewarding and secure employment future.

Qualifications:  To become a GRID Alternatives Colorado client, you must live in Colorado, own your own home and have a household income that is 80% of your Area Median Income (Income Limits) or below.  Think you might qualify? Contact Shirley Moore at 303.968.1327 or smoore@gridalternatives.org to arrange for a preliminary phone screening.  Learn more about the application process on GRID’s client page here.

Batteries for Off-Grid Solar Systems


Batteries are the heart of an off-grid solar system.  Like the organ which delivers oxygen to all parts of our bodies, batteries store and make available those critical electrons which we, in a modern society, have learned to depend on – or more accurately, expect to help us live our lives.  I recently learned just how important that component of an off-grid system is when my 9 year-old battery bank began failing.

My family has been living in a solar powered home in rural Teller County, unconnected to the electric grid, for the past 15 years.  Our first set of batteries lasted only 6 years.  It was undersized, and fed by a bank of cheap, used solar panels from a decommissioned solar project in California.  We have since abandoned those panels for more modern and efficient modules.  Unfortunately, by the time we upgraded, we had pushed our original bank of batteries to their limit so many times that they failed prematurely.

In our current setup, we use twelve, L16 type lead-acid batteries.  These are heavy (120 lbs), deep-cycle batteries made to handle the rigors of powering large loads for an extended period of time.  They are ideal for an off-grid home where periods of plentiful sunshine, and the associated battery charging, are offset potentially by days of clouds or snow cover.  During the night and extended inclement weather, they must have the capacity and durability to be repeatedly and deeply discharged without damage.

The L16s we use are 6 volt, 420 Amp-hour batteries.  For our 24 Volt system, we have 3 parallel strings of 4 batteries each, which achieve a total storage capacity of 1260 Amp-hours.  This equates to approximately 30 kilowatt hours of standby power, or enough when fully charged to keep our home running for at least 3 days – also called “days of autonomy”.  The 24 Volt DC power stored in the batteries is converted to 120 Volt standard household AC to run appliances and lights using an inverter.

When our battery reserve gets reasonably low and there’s no sunshine for a recharge, we use a backup propane generator to top the bank off.  While a well sized battery bank will not need a generator very often, it is an absolutely critical part of an off-grid system.  The only alternative is to have a hugely oversized (and expensive) system or to go without power until the sun shines again.

After considerable time spent comparing capacity, quality and price, we have finally chosen and installed what is now our 3rd set of batteries.  Because our solar capacity is greater now than in the past, we are confident that we can keep this set at a higher state of charge than the previous two.  That should translate to a longer life – hopefully in the range of about 15 years.  An off-grid battery bank is a substantial investment, so careful design, shopping and maintenance are critical to getting the greatest bang for the buck.

L16s are certainly not the only deep-cycle battery option for an off-grid solar system.  There are smaller golf cart sizes as well as very large industrial grade batteries.  They come indifferent voltages; from 2 volt to 12 and can be wired together to create a battery bank from 12 to 48 volts.  There also specials sealed varieties designed for grid-tied solar systems.  These are primarily used as a backup for when the grid goes down.  For a very complete overview of batteries for solar systems, please see these excellent articles:

–          From GreenWired  Renewable Energy Solutions:  http://www.greenwired.net/battery-frequently-asked-questions/

–          From US Batteries:  http://classdat.appstate.edu/FAA/TEC/scanlindm/Home%20Power%20Articles/battery%20articles/Choosing%20the%20best%20batteries.pdf

–          From Fire Mountain Solar:  http://classdat.appstate.edu/FAA/TEC/scanlindm/Home%20Power%20Articles/battery%20articles/Choosing%20the%20best%20batteries.pdf

–          From Home Power magazine: Choosing the Best Batteries, 2009 guide- HP127

There are many battery suppliers and distributers in the region (please see our Area Contractors page for a list of local suppliers), and a number of manufacturers that they represent.  Some of the more common and trusted off-grid  brands include:

–          *Crown Batteries   https://www.crownbattery.com/

–          Deka   http://www.dekabatteries.com/

–          Interstate   http://www.interstatebatteries.com/cs_estore/

–          *Rolls/Cerette   http://www.rollsbattery.com/

–          *Trojan   http://www.trojanbattery.com/

–          US Battery   http://www.usbattery.com/

Water Recycling Showers – a New way to Conserve Water and Energy?

ShowerThere is a new concept in water and energy savings which has made the transition to actual production models – Water Recycling Showers.  The amount of water used for showering is staggering, with the U.S. EPA estimating annual water usage in America alone  at 1.2 million gallons.  Unless you’re the type of person who takes a “Navy Shower” which calls for turning off the water while soaping and scrubbing – using just 2 minute of actual time with the water running, you probably fall somewhere under the average teenage girl’s total of 16 minutes per shower (around 30 – 40 gallons).  This habit consumes a huge amount of unnecessary water and energy resources.

Enter the recycling shower.  In most of the current designs, the used shower water is collected as it flows through the drain.  It is then filtered, by a number of different means depending on design, reheated (modestly, as it’s still quite warm), and combined with fresh water at the spout.  The result is anywhere from 70 – 90% water and energy savings.  Claims for these systems are up to $1300 savings per year, using 1/30 the water for showering.

Obviously, these systems would be a major advantage for regions which have limited water availability, as well as where cost is at a premium.  Even where costs are low and resources are plentiful, recycling showers result in substantial environmental  and economic benefits.

The payback for installation for most of these systems is estimated to be around three years.  This time frame is obviously dependent on water and utility rates, as well as whether the system is installed as a retrofit or incorporated into new construction.  Long term costs would also have to take into account replacement of filters and other potential maintenance.

A quick Google search turns up descriptions and articles about several current manufacturers:

This concept is just gaining traction and is bound to become more common, available and preferred as the technology and competition develop.

Alex Laskey: How Behavioral Science Can Lower Your Energy Bill

Alex Laskey - TED TalksWhat is the most important factor in getting people to save energy?  Is it economics (saving $$), environmental (preserving the planets resources and lowering pollution), morality (doing the right thing by using only what you need)?  Turns out, a good healthy dose of competition is a greater motivator than all these other reasons.  In this TED talk, Alex Laskey  explains how an easy to implement program can drive utility customers to make significant changes in their energy consumption, all by tapping our insatiable desire to “keep up with the Jones”.

This excellent video is only 8 minutes long:  Alex Laskey – TED Talks

Colorado Slips to 16th in The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

ACEEEThe American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released their 2013 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard.  Colorado has gone from 14th in 2012 to 16th this year in a national comparison. Interestingly, Massachusetts has earned the top score for the third year in a row, based on its continued commitment to energy efficiency under its Green Communities Act of 2008.

The Scorecard provides a broad assessment of policy and programs which improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses, industry and transportation.  The report examines six of the policy areas in which states typically pursue energy efficiency: utility and “public benefits” programs and policies; transportation policies; building codes; combined heat and power policies; state government-led policies around energy efficiency; and appliances and equipment standards.

The scorecard also makes recommendations based on best practices, encouraging states to continue strengthening their efficiency commitments as a pragmatic and effective strategy for promoting economic growth, securing environmental benefits and increasing their communities’ resilience in the face of the uncertain costs and supplies of the energy resources on which they depend.

The state policy scorecard page of the ACEEE website can be found here:  http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard

The full 176 page report can be accessed from that webpage, as well as an abbreviated 6 page summary.  Both document require simple registration process.

Solar Energy Brings Big Economic and Environmental Benefits to Colorado

solar friendly communities2Colorado’s solar industry has contributed $1.42 billion to the state’s economy since 2007, according to the most comprehensive study yet on the statewide impact of solar energy development.

The solar photovoltaic (PV) industry has created  approximately 10.700 full-time equivalent jobs with employee earnings of more than $534 million since widespread solar development began in 2007, the study found.  The impacts are based on the installation of nearly 250 MW of cumulative installed solar PV capacity by the first quarter of 2013.

Results are detailed in “An Assessment of the Economic, Revenue, and Societal Impacts of Colorado’s Solar Industry” prepared by The Solar Foundation, a national non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.. The study was commissioned by the Solar Friendly Communities program, a partnership led by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) that works with local governments to make it faster, easier and more affordable for citizens to go solar.

“Solar energy is ready to play a major role in Colorado’s future,” said Rebecca Cantwell, director of the Solar Friendly Communities program. “It creates jobs, strengthens local economies, cuts air pollution and conserves our precious water supplies. This report for the first time puts some hard numbers on a lot of those benefits.”

The report estimates state and local tax revenues resulting from solar PV development since 2007 at between $34.1 million and $59.7 million. The estimates include property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes.

Beyond the straight economic impacts, the study measured environmental benefits from the roughly 1.33 million MWh of electricity generated by solar energy systems from the beginning of 2007 through the first quarter of 2013.

Solar energy has produced $24.3 million worth of benefits in that period through avoided emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

In addition, more than 300 million gallons of water was saved in this period — water that would have otherwise been used in generating electricity from fossil sources.

The Solar Foundation also projected what the impact of solar energy will be when Colorado reaches COSEIA’s stated goal of installing a total of 3 GW by 2030, the equivalent of a Million Solar Roofs. The study finds that reaching the goal will result in creating almost 32,500 full time equivalent jobs and paying out $1.9 billion in employee earnings. The economic activity is expected to produce more than $3.85 billion in economic output.

Leaders in Colorado’s solar industry pointed out that the study’s conclusions show solar has tremendous potential.

 “As a homegrown Colorado solar company, we are excited about the possibility of Colorado policymakers and regulators taking a fresh look at the success of the solar industry in our state,” said Jason Wiener of Namaste Solar, who serves on the COSEIA board of directors. “We have only scratched the surface, as solar PV is still such a small percentage of the overall electricity generation portfolio and we are energized by the million solar roofs goal.  As the real benefits of solar PV become quantified, we hope policymakers, regulators and the utilities will take notice.  We need all stakeholders to collaborate to remove barriers to the responsible deployment of solar and to develop appropriate market signals to protect and increase investment in this clean energy technology.”

“The hard statistics in this report illustrate the unquestionable contribution solar development makes to state economic development,” said Piper Foster, COSEIA board president. “COSEIA is proud to publicize facts about the jobs engine that is solar energy.”

The full report can be downloaded at the Solar Friendly Communities website: www.solarcommunities.org  by following or by this link.    About Solar Friendly Communities The Solar Friendly Communities initiative aims to encourage the expansion of solar energy by making it easier for citizens to install solar systems on their homes and businesses. The program is led by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) and includes the cities of Denver, Fort Collins and Golden, Boulder County, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the American Solar Energy Society. The program’s creation was powered by a SunShot grant from the U.S. Department of Energy

The Real Price of Driving an Electric Car

eGallonBy:  Brent Kennedy

I recently came across a website touting the “eGallon” price of driving an electric car.  The site claimed to compare the price of driving an electric car, by charging via the electric grid, to the price of driving a conventional car, by filling with a statewide average gasoline equivalent.

The average statewide equivalents were given here, in a post entitled “Hippies Must Have Tampered With These Numbers, Right?”

In this analysis, the average price, nationally, to drive electric vehicles averaged about 1/3 the price of driving a conventional car off of gasoline.  The comparison was based on current fuel prices vs electric utility prices.  The Department of Energy Website is accessible here  The Sustainable America site is here  To see the actual page on price methodology, click here

After sending this analysis to a friend, who had recently purchased a Nissan Leaf, and has also subscribed to 3 kW worth of power from a solar farm in Colorado Springs, here was his analysis:

My average for past 3 months (getting better as I learn how to drive car) has
been 5miles/kwh.
My car collects data every time I drive it and uploads it to
Nissan’s web site.
I can login and see how many miles I’ve driven and kwh
consumed for each day, every month, annual (haven’t gotten that far)

That’s 0.2 kwh/mile

Using their calculation     egallon = FE * EC *
FE = 30 mpg for Civic
my EC = 0.2 kwh/mile
EP = $0.11 per kwh in
Colorado Springs

So my egallon price is about

UNLESS you use the marketing info for my LIFETIME cost of
electricity using solar panels.   They claim that I’ll be paying about 0.04/kwh
with solar contributing to my CSU bill every month.

If this is true, 
my egallon price will be $0.24/gallon  (back to the 60’s prices when I started
driving my Dad’s 66 Mustang!)

This indicates that electric vehicles far outweigh their gasoline counterparts in price per gallon.  A full lifetime cost analysis would have to be performed to decide whether the cost of replacing batteries would negate the savings of driving an electric vehicle.  Also, every electric vehicle manufacturer would see different savings.  As an initial fuel cost comparison, however, the eGalllon comparison gives a unique and  fair look at the fuel cost for owning a sustainable method of transport.  It may not be the ultimate future, but the technology and savings are available NOW!

Energy Task Force Needs Citizen Input

COS Utilities
The Pikes Peak Environmental Forum (PPEF) announces a request for citizen input on energy related matters.
A task force has been formed to discuss our different energy options. If you have time, please go and speak up about the things that are important to you in this arena! If you want to meet up with others to discuss the details, email Michele at ppefmichele@gmail.com and she will make sure you all know who each other is. Details below:
The Utilities Policy Advisory Committee (UPAC) is reviewing the Energy Vision (20% Renewable, 10% conservation and 20% price advantage by 2020).  They will report their finding to the Board/Council in January or February 2014 based on information and input gathered from experts and citizens between now and then.
This committee is comprised of citizens appointed by the Board.  They meet on the first Wednesday of each month, 8am (until ~11) at 121 S. Tejon, 5th floor, Blue River Board Room.  Presentations and comments by citizens and customers are welcome at the end of the meeting.
You can access the UPAC homepage, which contains schedule, agenda, minutes, bylaws and recordings

Study: Savings From Renewables Greatly Outweigh Grid-integration Costs


In an article titled NREL: Wind, solar power benefits can outweigh fossil fuel costs by Cathy Proctor, journalist for the Denver Business Journal, she reviews findings from the recent NREL study on costs and benefits of renewable energy to the grid in western states.

Increasing the amount of renewable energy on the grid increases maintenance costs for coal- and natural gas-fired power plants, but savings generated by not buying fossil fuels outweigh those costs, according to a new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden.

The study, titled the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study Phase 2, is available here.

The study modeled increasing the amount of renewable energy to 33 percent of the total electricity running through the electric grid in 13 Western states in 2020 to see what would happen to fossil fuel plants. Those plants are ramped up and down, or cycled, to accommodate for changes in power production by wind farms and solar power plants.

But the study found that the increased maintenance costs associated with cycling would total between $35 million and $175 million a year across those states, or between 47 cents and $1.28 per megawatt-hour of power that’s produced from the plants.

That’s far less than the estimated $7 billion in reduced fossil fuel costs due to using more wind- and solar-based fuel, the study said.

The emissions reductions generated by using more wind and solar power also outweighed increases in those emissions due to cycling, the study said.

“Adding wind and solar to the grid greatly reduces the amount of fossil fuel — and associated emissions — that would have been burned to provide power,” said Debra Lew, NREL’s project manager for the study.

The study found that emissions of carbon dioxide dropped by billions of pounds and that sulfur dioxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) dropped by millions of pounds due to increased use of renewable energy. Its models also concluded that the increases in those emissions due to cycling were comparatively negligible.

New State Fact Sheets on Household Energy Use from EIA

EIAEIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) gathers information through personal interviews with a nationwide sample of homes and energy suppliers. The just released 2009 survey resulted in energy consumption profiles for 16 individual states, including Colorado.  Please find an pdf of findings from our state here.

Some interesting notes about Colorado:

  •  Colorado households consume an average of 103 million BTUs per year, 15% more than the national average.
  •  Average household energy costs and 23% less than the national average, primarily due to historically lower natural gas prices.
  •  Average electrical consumption  per household is lower than most states, as Colorado residents do not commonly use electricity for Main space heating, and air-conditioning or water heating .
  •  Colorado homes are typically newer than homes in other parts of the country.

To access the nation-wide report, lease see the Residential Energy Consumption Survey

Debunking the Renewables “Disinformation Campaign”

RMIBy Amory Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

According to Fox Business reporter Shibani Joshi, renewables are successful in Germany and not in the U.S. because Germany has “got a lot more sun than we do.”  Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded during her now-infamous flub, “but here on the East Coast, it’s just not going to work.” (She recanted the next day while adding new errors.)

Actually, Germany gets only about as much annual sun as Seattle or Alaska; its sunniest region gets less sun than almost anywhere in the lower 48 states. This underscores an important point: solar power works and competes not only in the sunniest places, but in some pretty cloudy places, too.

A pervasive pattern

The Fox Business example is not a singular incident. Some mainstream media around the world have a tendency to publish misinformed or, worse, systematically and falsely negative stories about renewable energy.  Some of those stories’ misinformation looks innocent, due to careless reporting, sloppy fact checking, and perpetuation of old myths. But other coverage walks, or crosses, the dangerous line of a disinformation campaign—a persistent pattern of coverage meant to undermine renewables’ strong market reality.     Read the entire article here

Black Hills Offers 60% Off Parts and Labor for Lighting Upgrades

BHEBlack Hills Energy, which is the southern Teller County electrical provider, has a Small Business Direct Install (SBDI) lighting program for their customers.  Access their program webpage here

This program is for commercial customers with an average electric demand use of 350 kilowatts or less per year. Small-business customers will receive a free lighting energy evaluation of your facility to identify potential energy savings.

You’ll also receive:

  • Customized proposal detailing energy efficient recommendations
  • Installation scheduled and completed at your convenience
  • Old lamps and ballasts removed and recycled
  • Up to 60 percent of installation and equipment costs
  • Remaining portion of the project cost can be financed through SmartWatt Energy, interest free

Eligible projects include high efficiency lighting upgrades, LED exit signs, occupancy sensors and lighting controls and commercial refrigeration measures.

Submit the form to request your free lighting evaluation. A representative will contact you within 10 days to schedule your lighting evaluation. Commercial evaluations are for businesses with an average monthly demand use of 350 kW or less.

How will Senate Bill 252 Affect Teller County?

SB-252, which was signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper on June 5, was hotly debated and a highly contentious piece of legislation which requires rural cooperatives to provide 20% of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020, while capping cost increases to their rate-payers at 2%.  This effectively doubles the previous requirement of 10% renewable energy by 2015 previously set for these utilities, while still falling short of the 30% standard already mandated for the investor owned utilities, such as Xcel and Black Hills, in the state.

Proponents of the bill cite benefits to the renewable energy industry, economic developoment and jobs for rural communities, cleaner air and water, reducing our state’s dependence on fossil fuels, and curbing greenhouse gas emissions.  Opponents claim it puts undue stress on rural rate-payers, especially agricultural interests, and that the timeline makes compliance unachievable.

In attempting to address some of the concerns with the bill, Governor hickenlooper has directed the Colorado Energy Office to form an advisory committee to evaluate the timeline and the effect of rate increases.  The committee will make recommendations for potential changes to the law to be addressed in future legislative sessions.  See the full statement by the Governor on the Official State Web Portal.

In Teller County, only the customers of IREA (northern Teller – mainly along the Hwy 24 corridor) will be affected by the bill.  Southern Teller (Cripple Creek and Victor) is serviced by Black Hills Energy, which is not impacted.  Prior to the bill being signed into law, IREA remained strongly opposed to its requirements, as they state in their June issue of Watts and Volts.  Now that the bill has passed, they will likely be looking at just how the law will impact their rate-payers.  An initial analysis by the Governor’s office returned an estimate of a rate increase in rural coop territory of $2 per month for the average househould, and $10 per month for the average Colorado farmer.

Teller Energy will continue to monitor the impact of this bill as it becomes implemented.

New Data Tool Illustrates Global- to Community-Scale Energy Trends

Data.govAs part of the Energy Data Initiative, the Energy Department, its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Planetary Skin Institute released a new open tool to better visualize energy data and make this information more available and useful for state and local governments, private industry, and other energy researchers. The Free Energy Data platform (FRED) builds on the broader Energy Data Initiative—making energy usage and generation data more transparent, while accelerating the transition to a clean energy future. Open energy data and analytics can play a pivotal role in developing cost-effective, long-term energy solutions that save money and help protect the environment. Based on data from the Energy Information Administration, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Solar Energy Industries Association, FRED offers a common format for diverse inputs and allows users to adjust their focus from global to city-level scales.
FRED also allows users to enter their own data and compare their performance with other jurisdictions and institutions, or track performance over time. Data can also be viewed in graphical formats showing present and past energy demand by fuel and sector; this data can be compared across jurisdictions as well as through flow diagrams that visualize how multiple sectors use different energy sources.

Video: Sustainability as Strategic Imperative – A Colorful Interview

Sustainability as Strategic ImperativeIn this conversation with GreenBiz Group’s Joel Makower, retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Mark “Puck” Mykleby details the opportunities identified in “A National Strategic Narrative,” a document he co-authored to craft a grand strategy for the country.

The three key areas of demand he discusses: walkable, smart-growth housing; regenerative and organic agriculture; and a productivity revolution focused on reducing resource intensity. “Sustainability is the central concept,” he says of all three.

New Resource: Database Tracks Energy Legislation in All 50 States

AeltrackerColorado State University’s Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) has gone live with an online database of energy-related legislation pending in all 50 states. The Advanced Energy Legislation (AEL) Tracker, which was created in partnership with Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), is tracking the more than 2,100 bills under consideration in state legislatures that could change the way Americans produce, buy and use energy.

Grand Opening of the Fossil Bed’s New Energy Efficient Visitor Center

From the Mountain Jackpot –    The grand opening weekend for the new Visitor Center and Research Center at the Florissant Fossil Beds Fossil Beds Visitor CenterNational Monument kicks off with small ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 14 at 10 a.m. The major activities continue during a park open house celebration Saturday and Sunday, June 15-16, with free park admission to all. The schedule will include behind-the-scenes tours of the paleontology center and the new building’s energy-saving technology features, a concert of songs from the Park Service’s new “Songs for Junior Rangers” album, special guests and other fun activities. The new visitor center is expected to boost monument visitation, which accounts for more than $3.2 million in visitor spending in the local tourism economy, according to the most recent National Park Service economic benefits study in 2011.The Monument is now open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Summer hours, which begin June 1 and run through Labor Day, will be 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily.

You can learn more about the new state-of-the-art visitor center and research facility here

Green Jobs Grow Four Times Faster than Others

Source: L A Times.com         Clean-energy jobs make up a small part of U.S. employment, but a new federal report shows they are growing much faster than other work, even healthcare.

The nation had about 3.4 million green energy jobs in 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday in its second annual and final look at this emerging category of employment. (More on why it’s the last report later.)

In all, so-called green jobs accounted for just 2.6% of all employment that year, but a comparison with 2010 data shows that these jobs grew at four times the rate of all the others combined. Green employment jumped 4.9% in 2011 from the prior year. That compares with a gain of 1.2% for all jobs and 2.7% for restaurants, 1.7% for manufacturing and 1.8% for healthcare, which is often seen as the fastest-growing sector.

Green jobs of course cut across industries. By the BLS definition, they include work that is primarily involved in the production of green goods and services — for instance, renewable energy, pollution reduction

and recycling, and natural resources conservation. The agency also counts as green those jobs that involve education and training related to environmental compliance. Read all: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-green-jobs­20130319,0,2962980.story?track=rss


Colorado Oil Production Hits 57 Year High

This may or may not be the news you’ve been waiting for.

Colorado produced nearly 48 million barrels of oil in 2012, which ranked as the state’s second-highest level of oil production on record, according to a Denver Business Journal review of records from the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. See the full story by Cathy Proctor:  bizjournals.com/denver/news

And based on current trends, Colorado oil production could grow even more in years to come.

Energy companies have said they plan to spend billions in the next few years developing the Niobrara play.

Is this a good thing for Colorado’s sustainable energy future?

Statewide Sustainability Roundtable Report Now Available

The Statewide Sustainability Roundtable was held in early November at the Denver Sturm College of Law. The report of that Roundtable is now available on the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado website This page also contains videos of highlights from the conference as well as PowerPoint presentations from the event.

Topics include:

  •  The current state of energy in Colorado
  •  The future of energy Colorado – a 30 year vision
  •  Successful strategies and overcoming barriers
  •  Energy- water nexus
  •  Colorado’s sustainability dashboard

For a complete pdf of the report, click:  StatewideRoundtableReport 2012


2012 Community Energy Survey Results

Teller Energy conducted a Community Energy Survey in May to assess the county’s energy use, and attitudes and practices regarding sustainability issues.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  Results from the survey have been tabulated and are presented here in graphical format.  Please click on TESurvey Results to see them.

Approximately 12,000 residents of Teller were contacted by post and/or email.  There were a total of 374 respondents, representing just over 3% of the population.

The first part of the survey concentrates on home building information such as location, construction, size, age, utility provider(s), and fuel use.

The second section asks about household participation and interest in sustainability practices including energy efficiency, water conservation, transportation, food and gardening choices, recycling habits, and renewable energy.

The final part of the survey is concerned with attitudes towards sustainability in such areas as payback time tolerance, willingness to spend more for green practices, and priorities.

The information contained in the results is informative for anyone in Teller and should be valuable to many organizations, agencies, utilities, and contractors.  We tried to be comprehensive without making the survey too burdensome.  If you took the survey, thank you!  If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear from you.  Please contact us at info@tellerenergy.com.

As an overview, here are some notable findings:

  • 84% of respondents have IREA as their electrical provider, which represents northern Teller
  • Approximately 3/4 of residents use natural gas in their homes compared to 25% using propane
  • Over half also use wood for heating, with 58% cutting their own
  • 37% of homes employ passive solar
  • The majority of homes are stick built, and between 1500 and 3000 sq. ft.
  • Most folks spend between $2,000 and $3,000 on utility costs annually
  • More people drive full size vehicles and trucks than compact cars
  • While 99% of respondents turn off lights when not in use, less than half insulate hot water heaters and lines, use efficient central heating, or utilize an energy monitor
  • Most respondents either use or would consider a high efficiency vehicle, with 63% willing to consider a natural gas vehicle if refill facilities were available
  • The Woodland Park Wal-Mart is by far the most used method of recycling (Well, was.  Now that drop-off is closed).
  • There is a high degree of participation and interest in sustainable agriculture and food strategies in Teller County
  • Though the current levels of renewable energy in Teller is low, most people plan to use or would consider these systems
  • The vast majority either plan to use or want to learn more about utility incentives for energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades
  • Most folks are more tolerant of a longer payback period for renewable energy than energy efficiency upgrades
  • Though government policy ranked near the lowest in priority out of 10 items for addressing sustainability, a full 78% felt local government should do more to promote sustainability
  • Hands-on workshops were the preferred method of educational delivery methods for sustainable practices, followed closely by internet information

There is much more information contained in this pdf of the results.  Please take some time and look it over, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any comments at:  info@tellerenergy.com

Black Hills Energy Residential and Business Rebates, Incentives and Energy Audits

If you live in Teller County, you are probably a customer of Black hills Energy – either for natural gas or for electricity.  Are you aware of their generous programs for energy audits, rebates, and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy?  You could be taking advantage of these programs to improve your home or business energy use to:

  • Save money on energy expenses
  • Encourage local energy related economic development
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Protect our environment
  • Increase energy security in the region
  • Help Black Hills meet it’s state mandated renewable energy portfolio

To learn more about the opportunities that Black Hills provides, please click on these links:

Colorado Energy Efficiency Programs for Natural Gas Residential, Commercial and Industrial Customers 

Colorado Energy Efficiency Programs for Electric Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Customers  

Victor Programs (including solar) 

Cripple Creek Programs (including Solar) 

Divide Programs

Woodland Park Programs  

All Colorado Black Hills Programs by Zip Code

General Energy Savings Tips  

If you’d prefer to talk to someone by phone, please contact Gene Mantei at:  719/546-6478 for information about these programs.

 Teller Energy encourages you to explore these opportunities and beyond.  Please explore the home page for information on local events, resources, educational opportunities (including for kids), and more.

Teller County Energy Sustainability Plan and Implementation Plan

The Teller County Energy Sustainability Plan was developed through a collaborative effort of the Community Energy Coordinator(CEC) team, funded by the Governor’s Energy Office and managed by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP), and the Teller County Energy Advisory Board.

The Teller County Energy Advisory Board is a diverse and representative committee convened to aid the Teller County community in the development and implementation of the Teller County Energy Plan. The Advisory Board used a range of assessment tools to determine strengths in local and regional energy plans and initiatives, identify potential gaps on a county-wide level, and develop goals, objectives and strategies that will assure a successful plan.


Over the course of several months and during a number of work sessions, supported by research and analysis by the staff of the Teller County Community Energy Coordinating (CEC) team, the Advisory Board reviewed other regional sustainability plans, collected benchmark data, and identified key priorities for a Teller County Energy plan.  Their intention was to create goals and strategies that not only fulfill the overarching focus of promoting sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable energy locally, but that also compliment, strengthen, and support existing or developing regional plans that address sustainability efforts for Teller County, and that promote green economic development.


The tone and tenor of the plan is aspirational as well as practical. The intent is that the plan be a flexible and multi-functional tool that is reviewed and updated on a regular basis and made available to municipalities and councils that have developed, or are developing, comprehensive plans that have a strong focus on sustainability.

Therefore, this plan will be short-range and adaptive, accommodating existing plans  and designed to advance the goals, objectives and strategies of those plans.

The existing work that this plan will support includes the Woodland Park Comprehensive Plan (adopted 2010), the Teller County Strategic Plan 2011-2021 (adopted 2010) and the emerging Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Regional Sustainability Plan for El Paso and Teller Counties (anticipated implementation- JanuaryMarch 2012).

You can view a pdf of the Plan here: TCSustainPlan32012


Teller Energy has also created an Implementation Plan as an ambitious yet achievable set of goals within the time frame of 2012 – 2013,  These include action steps for each of the four main focus areas indentified in the Teller Energy Sustainability Plan:

  • Outreach and Education
  • Conservation (including Recycling, Water, and Transportation)
  • Institutional Asset and Resource Management
  • Promoting Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Please find the Implementation Report here:  TCSP_ImplementationPlan_2012_2013