Learning Lab / Overview
While Chautauqua becoming a leader in environmental sustainability may be a surprising notion to some, to the Colorado Chautauqua Association (CCA), the creation of the Learning Laboratory was a natural outgrowth of our dedication to historic preservation, protecting our environment, and providing education to the public.
Due to the nature and design of our facility, with 60 small cottages as well as large iconic buildings like the Auditorium (b.1898) and the Dining Hall (b.1898), CCA possesses a unique opportunity to conduct real-world experimentation on ways to increase the comfort of a building’s occupants and reduce the structure’s environmental footprint while never compromising its historic integrity. In other words, we can provide an important bridge between the historic preservation community and the New Energy Economy.
Colorado Chautauqua Association also offers the unique situation of having some identical buildings side-by-side, which enables us to evaluate alternative sustainable and energy conserving techniques by applying something to one building but not its twin and get apples-to-apples comparisons and real-time scientific data as to the different benefits of various techniques. This is a much sought after and difficult to find situation in the building science community. We are then able to assess the value of the applied strategies, calculate the various returns on investment, and provide this information to decision-makers and the public to aid in determining what investments produce the most “bang for the buck.”
The lessons we are learning and sharing apply to both small commercial as well as residential buildings regardless of their age or architectural style. And all of this is in the spirit of one of the most significant values of the Chautauqua Movement, lifelong learning.