February 18, 2014 Updated: February 18, 2014 at 5:29 am
Sen. Mark Udall's statewide energy tour stopped in Colorado Springs on Monday so the U.S. legislator could see what Colorado College officials have done since 2008.
The walking tour, which college energy manager Mark Ferguson called "a snapshot" of its efforts to save energy on the campus north of downtown Colorado Springs, began at Armstrong Hall on Cache la Poudre Street. Ferguson and CC President Jill Tiefenthaler led the senator around campus, stopping at a residence hall, the college's main power plant and the newly renovated El Pomar Sports Center.
"Colorado College is leading the way," Udall said, noting that education about energy and natural resources as well as practical uses to reduce wasting energy can help save money, create jobs and enhance national security.
Udall, who is a member of the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee, began his statewide energy tour in late March at the National Wind Technology Center in Louisville between Denver and Boulder. Recent stops on the tour include a natural gas plant in Weld County, a geothermal housing project in Denver and a microhydro power project in Ridgway.
The senator said Colorado is "an all-of-the-above state" when it comes to energy use. He said he has seen that all over the state companies, people, municipalities and institutions such as colleges have renewable energy strategies that include wind, solar and aggressive recycling programs to reduce carbon footprints on the environment.
Ferguson spent a good part of Monday's tour pointing out ways that Colorado College uses a similar strategy. A student-led initiative was kicked off in 2008, he said. It focuses on improving building efficiency, using the cleanest energy sources possible and implementing renewable energy.
About 4 percent of the college's energy comes from solar and 16 percent comes from wind, Ferguson said. According to a 2013 report outlining CC's energy improvements, the campus has reduced its electrical usage by almost 25 percent and its water usage by almost 30 percent since 2008.
"It's exciting to see this," Udall said. "Above all, this shows that Colorado is an energy leader. We have a platform to not only brag about Colorado, but to ask the rest of the country to follow."