Reducing Our Footprint
Advocating Low-Carbon Green Building Standards
The City of Manitou Springs is committed to advancing green building standards to promote energy efficiency and sustainability. A significant milestone was achieved in June 2023 when the City Council adopted the 2023 Regional Building Code, including the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code. This significant step aligns with the city's vision for energy-efficient new constructions.
The Land Use and Development Code (LUDC) contributes to this endeavor by mandating that new commercial and residential structures be designed to be "solar ready." Furthermore, commercial structures are required to integrate infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations. The LUDC also emphasizes the importance of mitigating urban heat island effects by stipulating the incorporation of cool roofs on commercial or mixed-use buildings. To incentivize renewable energy integration, the LUDC promotes the installation of systems like solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, or geothermal heat pumps in new structures. These initiatives underscore Manitou Springs' determination to foster sustainable construction practices and significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with new buildings.
Clean Air Initiatives with "No Smoke 2"
Demonstrating a commitment to cleaner air and environmental protection, the Fire Department has installed "No Smoke 2" diesel filtration systems on their fire engines. These cutting-edge systems continuously filter harmful exhaust from the environment inside the fire station during cold starts and low-idling on scene. This forward-thinking approach significantly reduces air pollution, contributing to improved air quality for the community and beyond.
Eco-Friendly Traffic Paint
In its quest for environmentally responsible solutions, Manitou Springs has transitioned from oil-based paints to eco-friendly water-based traffic paints for striping roads and crosswalks. This eco-conscious decision significantly minimizes the release of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere, contributing to improved air quality and a cleaner environment. The adoption of water-based traffic paints showcases the City's dedication to sustainable infrastructure maintenance and responsible road management.
The City of Manitou Springs is leading the way in embracing electric mobility as a viable alternative to conventional transportation. As part of a pilot project, the Parking & Mobility Department has introduced an electric mini vehicle, replacing one of the conventional SUVs used by enforcement staff. This strategic shift to electric mobility allows the City to move towards a zero-emission vehicle fleet, promoting cleaner air and contributing to its carbon reduction goals. Furthermore, the acquisition of electric trams for resident, tourist, and downtown employee use represents a groundbreaking step in reducing the number of cars on the road while providing eco-friendly transportation options.
Manitou Springs stands at the forefront of responsible e-waste management by partnering with BlueStar Recyclers. The City ensures that all used and old electronics are appropriately recycled through this organization, mitigating the environmental impact of electronic waste. Additionally, BlueStar Recyclers serves as an inspiring resource, providing meaningful career opportunities to people with disabilities.
In addition, the City is partnering with Galvanize Recycling to create an event for Manitou Springs residents to recycle hard-to-recycle plastics, electronics, and other materials to further avoid these items ending up in landfills.
EV Charging Infrastructure
Manitou Springs is making significant strides in supporting electric vehicles with the installation of electric car charging stations. The Schryver Park parking lot and Hiawatha Gardens parking lot now features EV stations, offering convenient charging options to residents and visitors alike.
Innovative Dirt Sifter for Sustainable Recycling
Manitou Springs has adopted an innovative dirt sifter system to enhance its recycling efforts and minimize waste. This system effectively separates asphalt and concrete chunks from dirt piles, enabling the reuse of sifted dirt and proper recycling of asphalt and concrete debris. This strategic recycling approach aligns with the City's broader sustainability goals, reducing the environmental impact of construction and infrastructure projects.
Low Impact Development and Permeable Surfaces in New Construction
The City of Manitou Springs has taken substantial strides towards enhancing environmental sustainability in construction and infrastructure. Following the adoption of the new Land Use and Development Code (LUDC) in January 2023, the city has mandated Low Impact Development (LID) techniques in various projects. For example, sites exceeding parking requirements must integrate LID features like bioswales, vegetative filter strips, and rain gardens, which facilitate on-site stormwater infiltration. Additionally, the LUDC enforces landscape standards necessitating vegetated buffers and screens between properties and streets. Incentives have also been established to encourage the use of permeable paving surfaces over traditional ones. These measures reinforce the city's commitment to responsible development practices and sustainable stormwater management.
Promoting Community Composting with Food to Power
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PARAB) spearheaded an impressive initiative in 2021 called "Food to Power." This visionary program, partially funded through a mini grant, allocated $1,000 towards the construction of a community composting program. Designed to empower Manitou Springs residents, this composting program fosters sustainable waste management practices while supporting local agriculture and soil enrichment.
The City Hall remodel project exemplifies Manitou Springs' dedication to sustainability through its "Refurbishing First" initiative. By prioritizing the reuse of existing materials, such as historic doors and hardwood, the City effectively reduces the demand for new resources and minimizes waste generation. This strategic approach demonstrates responsible resource management and serves as a testament to Manitou Springs' commitment to sustainable development and preservation of its cultural heritage.
Revolutionizing Waste Management with Refurbishing and Refill Programs
Manitou Springs continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable waste management through innovative programs. In a bid to reduce waste and promote circular economy principles, the City prioritized refurbishing existing materials during the City Hall remodel. By reusing historic doors and refinishing existing hardwood, Manitou Springs sets a high standard for responsible resource management.
In addition, the City embraces a Refillable Detergent Program at the Manitou Art Center, promoting eco-friendly practices and reducing single-use plastic waste. This program, supported by a Manitou Arts Culture and Heritage Grant, encourages residents and visitors to participate in waste reduction efforts.
The City of Manitou Springs has taken significant strides in embracing solar power as a sustainable and renewable energy solution. With a focus on responsible resource management and energy efficiency, the City has implemented various solar-powered initiatives across its infrastructure. Solar energy powers essential elements like traffic radar signs, promoting road safety while minimizing energy consumption. In addition, a substantial portion of digital wayfinding signs and parking kiosks throughout the City operate on solar energy, exemplifying its commitment to sustainable technology integration. Manitou Springs' dedication to solar power is further demonstrated by its partnership with the "Sun Share" program, wherein all municipal facilities now run entirely on renewable energy. Through these initiatives, the City shows its commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
UTVs - Environmentally Conscious Mobility Solutions
The City of Manitou Springs has taken a progressive approach to transportation by adopting Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) in various departments, including Neighborhood Services, Parking & Mobility, Public Works, Administration, and Parks and Recreation. UTVs offer a sustainable alternative to conventional cars, significantly reducing gasoline consumption and carbon emissions. With their compact design and versatility, UTVs provide efficient mobility for staff while exemplifying the City's commitment to eco-friendly practices.
In 2022, Manitou Springs adopted progressive event policies, moving towards a zero-waste approach. Event organizers are required to submit comprehensive zero waste plans, and vendors are prohibited from distributing non-recyclable or non-compostable materials. These measures promote sustainability during public gatherings and support waste reduction efforts.