Community House at dusk in winter

At the Colorado Chautauqua, we have made energy conservation one of our highest priorities. We also plan to incorporate renewable energy in ways that respect the precious character of the historic district.

As a general rule, whenever we need to replace an appliance, furnace or water heater, we choose the most energy-efficient option that meets our needs. This may include on-demand water heaters as well as other Energy Star rated products. We have also systematically replaced our light bulbs with low-energy compact florescent lights (CFL), wherever safe and effective and are experimenting with high efficiency LED lights as well.

The Colorado Chautauqua is a national leader in applying energy efficiency and green construction techniques to renovating historic buildings. Through our Learning Laboratory, we compile case studies and valuable data, sharing what we have learned with home owners, the historic preservation community, and the green building industry.

We are strategically air sealing and insulating all of our cottages to reduce air infiltration and energy use and increase year-round comfort. Five cottages have been awarded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star rating for energy efficiency and comfort.

A number of strategies have been employed for summer comfort in our cottages and community buildings, including solar reflective window screens, whole-house fans, ceiling fans, and high-efficiency alternative cooling systems like the Coolerado in our Academic Hall and Community House. We have also made significant energy efficiency upgrades to the historic Dining Hall.

Mother Nature, in the form of Boulder’s cooler nights, helps us cool our cottages naturally. Many cottages have an indoor-outdoor thermometer mounted on the wall, instead of air conditioning controls. In the evening, when the outside temperature drops below the inside, windows can be opened and the whole-house fan and ceiling fans switched on, which flush out the warm air in about 15 minutes. In the morning, shutting the windows keeps the cool air in.