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Environmental Services

Contact Information

  •   Dept Head: Lucinda Smith
  •   PO Box 580, Fort Collins, CO 80522-0580
  •   215 N Mason St
    Fort Collins, CO 80524
  •   Alexis Hmielak
  •   YWhtaWVsYWtAZmNnb3YuY29t
  •   970.221.6600
  •   8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (M-F, except for holidays)

Climate Action in Fort Collins

Have you heard the City is branding implementation of its Climate Action Plan? We’ve moved from planning to implementation, and that means finding a shared vision – and specific language – that drives people to take action that will help the community reach its goals for 2020 and beyond. Check back here for more information, and if you want to learn more about the development of that language, contact Emily Wilmsen at ZXdpbG1zZW5AZmNnb3YuY29t.

Hot Off The Presses!

View the community's progress from 2015
View municipal government progress from 2015

Want the specific data that goes into this report? Here is a summary of that data.

View the 2005 GHG Report Summary
View the 2015 GHG Report Summary

Road to 2020 Lunch and Learn - How to Measure Climate Action

If you missed the October "Road to 2020" Lunch and Learn presentation, you now have another chance to watch it here! The Performance Measurement work group held a panel discussion that highlighted three important tools to measure our success in reducing emissions.

  • Cassie Archuleta, Environmental Program Manager, Air Quality, presented her work on the Community Carbon Inventory: the tool that measures our annual levels of Green House Gas emissions as a community.
  • Michael Authier, Energy Services Engineer, presented an overview of the model that his team is using to predict the impact of the programs and initiatives that teams all over the city are implementing as part of our Road to 2020+ plan.
  • Katie Ricketts, Economic Health Analyst, discussed her team's work as it connects the Road to 2020 implementation to the health of our community. Greg Newman, Director at, also provided an overview of CSU's citizen science platform that is revolutionizing the way that scientists are collecting data through crowd-sourcing.

The Lunch and Learn program is a monthly educational lecture series that is designed to increase people's familiarity with Road to 2020+ Issues.


See an explanation of how the City's implementation plan for the Climate Action Plan -- called the Road to 2020 -- fits in with the budget requests currently going before City Council for discussion. See a sample of some of the budget offers

Innovate Fort Collins Winner Announced

The City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, and Innosphere, the technology incubator in Fort Collins, announced the winner of the first Innovate Fort Collins competition on September 26 at the CSU 21st Century Energy Transition Symposium. This technology competition was focused on solving electric vehicle (EV) charging challenges because as more people buy electric vehicles, the pressure on charging loads can affect the reliability of the electric grid.

Qmulus, an emerging technology company with a solution for a plug-and-play adapter, was announced the winner of the competition. The Qmulus adapter connects between the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). For this competition, applications were collected from companies and entrepreneurs that focused on data acquisition from vehicles, installed metering or monitoring, or advanced meter data.

Read the press release
Watch a video on the award presentation

Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is a group of citizen volunteers who offer diverse perspectives and expertise to help with the planning and implementation of the Fort Collins Road to 2020. Their perspectives will be shared with City council and the teams of city staff who are exploring potential action items that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

View more information about the work that the CAC is doing »
View archives from the Citizen Advisory Committee (from June 2014 – Jan 2015) »



An Evening with Bill Ritter on August 24

About 300 people attended a public forum with former Gov. Bill Ritter, Mayor Wade Troxell and City Manager Darin Atteberry August 24 at the Lincoln Center to discuss Ritter's new book about America's energy future and how it relates to the City's Road to 2020. The discussion was followed by an open house aimed at obtaining public feedback on initiatives that could help the community reach its 2020 carbon emissions reduction goals.

View the event poster »
Miss the event? Watch the video »

Climate Action Plan: Community Stories

Watch a two-minute video featuring Tiana Smith, the City’s Sales Tax Manager, talking about her personal connection with the Climate Action Plan.

Also watch a  brief video of Lindsay Ex, CAP program manager, and Tim McCollough, Light and Power Operations Manager for Fort Collins Utilities, describing the March 10 City Council work session discussion.

April 2016 – City Council Approves CAP Ordinance

City Council on March 10 agreed staff is heading in the right direction with proposed initiatives to reach the City’s 2020 Climate Action Plan goals, and asked staff to highlight simple explanations of proposed projects and identify costs down to the individual level. Watch a brief video of Lindsay Ex, CAP program manager, and Tim McCollough, Light and Power Operations Manager for Fort Collins Utilities, describing the Council discussion: See the full packet of information provided to City Council, including more specific details on the initiatives and projected benefits and costs.

City Council in April 2016 approved an ordinance to assist the City with reaching its 2020 Climate Action Plan goals. The initiatives:

Building Energy Disclosure and Scoring

  • What: A pilot program to work with the commercial sector to measure and disclose energy performance and develop a scoring system for residential sector.
  • Why: Buildings account for more than 50 percent of energy costs.
  • How much: $39,000 initially; $85,000 annually once the program is up and running 

CAP Program Support

  • What: Three positions to assist the City with reaching its Climate Action Plan goals – a program manager, a financial analyst and a smart grid/systems operations manager.
  • Why: City staff must supplement expertise on hand to achieve some of the more aggressive goals such as integrating renewable energy into the electric grid in a way that is safe and reliable.
  • How much: $144,000; $312,000 annually once the program is up and running.

CAP Pilot Projects/Innovation Fund

  • What: A pilot project to foster and fund innovative approaches to achieving climate action goals including a pilot of the Home Energy Affordability Loan program and a carbon sequestration analysis.
  • Why: This will allow the City to be more nimble with such measures as cash matches for grants and to test concepts that can later be replicated citywide.
  • How much: $190,000 (annual ongoing funding to be determined during the 2017-2018 budget cycle).

Biomass Burner Feasibility Study

  • What: Feasibility study to build a biomass burner in the community that would provide energy from a renewable source (wood) and divert high-volume organic material from the landfill.
  • Why: This technology could be used to reduce 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, particularly given that the Emerald Ash Borer beetle infestation will lead to devastation among the community’s 70,000-plus ash trees.
  • How much: One-time cost of $75,000

March 2016 – City Council Reviews Draft Roadmap to Achieve the 2020 CAP Goals

On March 10, City Council held a Work Session to review the implementation options for achieving the City’s 2020 Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals of reducing emissions 20% below 2005 levels. Read the full packet of information provided to City Council, or watch the video to learn more about the exciting next steps the City is taking to achieve these goals.

The information provided to Council includes the following:

  • Outlines 31 initiatives that have been identified by the citizens, Council, and City staff;
  • Illustrates the preliminary analysis conducted to evaluate the initiatives;
  • Describes the potential pathways to achieving the 2020 goals, including the benefits and costs. What do we mean by benefits and costs?
    • Benefits – the initial modeling included not only carbon reductions but also the co-benefits such as improved health and equity outcomes
    • Costs – includes both the costs to the municipal organization and the community. For example, when we highlight energy efficiency, the initiatives include the incentive that the City offers to encourage the purchase of more energy efficiency appliances (municipal cost) and the purchase cost of the appliance minus the incentive (community cost). More information about the City’s energy efficiency rebates.

December 14 – Public Open House

The City held a public open house on the Climate Action Plan attended by more than 150 people on December 14 in collaboration with Professors Diana Wall and Brian Dunbar of CSU's School of Global Environmental Sustainability. Watch the presentations.

The City also recently announced members of the Community Advisory Committee who will help guide the City's efforts on greenhouse gas emission reductions. The committee that will start meeting in January:

  • Steven Balderson, Larimer County
  • Stacey Baumgarn, Colorado State University
  • Hunter Buffington, Fort Collins Sustainability Group
  • Ann Hutchison, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Fred Kirsch, Community for Sustainable Energy
  • Steve Kuehneman, Neighbor to Neighbor
  • Chadrick Martinez, Fort Collins Housing Authority
  • Whitney Romero, CSU/Environmental and Safety Investigations Inc.
  • Tim Seitz, Anheuser-Busch
  • Clinton Skutchan, Fort Collins Board of Realtors
  • Alan Strope, Northern Colorado Homebuilders Association
  • Trudy Trimbath, Poudre School District
  • Lynn Thompson, Fort Collins Homeless Coalition
  • Dana Villeneuve, New Belgium Brewing Co.

Upcoming Events

  • May 17 – Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society
  • May – Final 2020 CAP strategic plan

Past Events

  • March 10 – City Council Work Session
  • March 3 – Energy Board
  • March 1 – Foothills Rotary Club
  • February 25 – first meeting of the Community Advisory Committee
  • February 24 (tentative) – North Fort Collins Business Association
  • February 4 – Energy Board
  • January 21 – Colorado Clean Energy Cluster
  • December 18 – Chamber Local Legislative Affairs Committee
  • ClimateWise business outreach – October 22, November 19, and December 3
  • December 14 – Public Open House
  • December 2 – CSU Class in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department
  • November 12 – Community for Sustainable Energy and Fort Collins Sustainability Group
  • November 10 – Board of Realtors Governmental Affairs Committee
  • November 4 – Utilities Key Accounts Fall Meeting

Project Summary

What is the Climate Action Plan Framework?

The Fort Collins City Council on March 3, 2015, unanimously adopted some of the most aggressive goals in the nation to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions:

  • 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020
  • 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2030
  • Carbon neutral by 2050

These aspirational goals speed up the City's original 2008 goals, which would have required reducing emissions to 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.

Council adopted the new goals after fourWork Sessions, multiple public forums and nine months of work in 2014-2015 with a Citizen Advisory Committee that helped shape the overall 2015 Climate Action Plan Framework.


Staff has begun developing a 2020 Climate Action Implementation Plan to prioritize actions and associated near-term budget requests needed for progress between 2015 and 2020 to meet the 2020 goals and longer term targets.

At a September 8, 2015, work session, City Council expressed support for staff's development of 2020 Climate Action Plan implementation plans. Council members reinforced a sense of urgency to develop the plans given a recent uptick in greenhouse gas emissions, but also requested that staff provide measurable outcomes.

The implementation plan includes seven strategic areas, listed in no particular order with a brief description:

Energy Efficiency: Increase energy efficiency throughout the community.
Accelerated Alternative Energy Adoption: Increase alternative energy in all sectors, develop/enhance incentives.
Multi-modal Planning and Development: Shift land use and parking patterns to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled, create green streets.
Road to Zero Waste: Increase waste diversion from landfill to 75 percent, enhance community recycling opportunities.
Pilot Projects and District Scale Initiatives: Identify and support large-scale pilot and district-scale projects to showcase innovative CAP solutions.
Water and Land Use: Enhance water conservation initiatives, green infrastructure initiatives.
The Climate Economy: Expand knowledge of existing financing mechanisms from around the globe while exploring relationships to support public-private partnerships.

Supporting these areas are a financing team and a team that will measure the community's success.

Get Involved

More information is coming on how you can engage with the Climate Action Plan!  Check back here for updates!


Lindsay Ex | Environmental Program Manager | bGV4QGZjZ292LmNvbQ== | 970.224.6143
Travis Paige | Community Engagement Manager | dHBhaWdlQGZjZ292LmNvbQ== | 970.416.2627.
Emily Wilmsen | Communications and Public Involvement Office | ZXdpbG1zZW5AZmNnb3YuY29t | 970.221.6870.