Tuesday, December 9, 2008


First Lady Jeannie Ritter held a Media Day earlier today with statewide media to showcase the holiday decorations at the Governor's Residence at theBeottcher Mansion and to promote the special schedule for holiday tours.  Titled "Something Simple," this year's focus was on joining the state's efforts to conserve energy and recycle.  The First Lady informally tagged The Residence as "Colorado's Home" as a way to open the facility up to the public and to denote the fact the facility belongs to the citizens of Colorado.  This year's holiday decorations and tours are jointly presented by the Office of the First Lady, The Green Event Co., and the Governor's Residence Preservation (GRP) Fund.  It is also the first ever green themed Holiday Tour at the Governor's Residence.
"Focusing on recycling and energy conservation seemed like the right thing to do this year," said First Lady Jeannie Ritter.  "As families tend to spend more time together and at home during the holidays, they tend to utilize more energy.  Our hope is that the example we set with "Colorado's Home" will guide families across the state as they look to conserve energy in their own homes."
During the event, First Lady Ritter shared information about the special Holiday Tours and provided members of the press with information on the creative use of recycled products at The Residence and then shared information on the steps being taken at The Residence to save energy during the holidays and throughout the year.  In addition, she unveiled the 2008 Holiday Ornament, shared information about the GRP Fund (a 501c3 not-for-profit created this summer to protect and preserve the historic residence).  The Carriage House was also home to a special Energy Conservation Exhibit where 12 energy-related companies have displays that promote various aspects of the New Energy Economy.

"We consider it such a privilege to call this place home and we don't won't to lose site of the fact that this facility belongs to the people of Colorado," said The First Lady.  "As temporary stewards, it's our duty to take great care of it.  That's why we decided to focus on energy conservation and recycling this year.  Both the Governor and I believe it's important to make The Residence more energy efficient and to set the example for energy conservation we're asking the rest of the state to make."

Sponsors for this year's holiday decorations include:  AT&T, American Society of Interior Designers (Student Chapter at the Art Institute of Colorado), The Art Institute of Colorado, MillerCoors Brewing Company, Europa Escape, Hall Designs, A Colorado Christmas, and The Green Event Company. The lead design firm this year is Hall Designs owned and operated by Mary Ann Hall.  Mary Ann welcomed help from local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Troops, and students from the Art Institute and numerous friends and community volunteers.
About The Holiday Tours
In addition to the on-going state and public events at the Governor's Residence, free and special Holiday Tours will be given on December 10th-13th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM specifically to highlight the holiday decorations and to showcase the efforts being done to make The Residence a more energy efficient facility.  Visitors wishing to tour The Residence should come to 400 E. 8th Ave.  Limited free parking is provided in the lot at the SW corner of 8th & Logan.
2009 Ornament
The 2009 Holiday Ornament is a replica of the White House Chandelier and is the second in a series of collectibles.  Hanging in the salon, the actual chandelier was a gift to the State of Colorado to celebrate Colorado's entry into the union.
The ornament is available for $25 each during the mansion's Holiday Tour, or it can be ordered via email at grpfund@yahoo.com. In addition, the official 2008 Ornament, "The Centennial Mansion" is also available.
All proceeds from the sale of the ornaments go to further the mission of the Governor's Residence Preservation Fund, a 501c3, not-for-profit entity.
Green Facts
In support of the 2009 theme, "Something Simple," The Residence has a series of "green facts" placards posted throughout the building.  The placards provide descriptions of the energy conservation steps that have been taken at the historic facility.  They include:
·        Geothermal Energy—The Residence is currently being equipped with a ground source heat pump system that will reduce the home's annual energy usage by at least 20%.  This system uses the constant temperature of the earth to moderate the indoor air temperature.  This is why wells were dug 400 feet underground last year in the East yard.  This will mean lower energy bills and less pollution.
·        High Efficiency Lighting—The Holiday decorations are using less electricity this year through the use of light emitting diode (LED) technology.  These lights use an amazing 90% less electricity.  They are also safer and last longer.  LED Christmas lights are now readily available, and old, inefficient lights can be recycled locally.
·        Passive Solar Heating—The Palm Room takes advantage of a passive solar design.  All of the South-facing glass provides for a very open feel, while taking advantage of the natural and abundant energy of the sun.  The space heating system is needed less.  The result is lower energy costs with increased comfort.  Many homes and buildings can be modified to take advantage of passive solar energy.
·        Carbon Neutrality—this year's holiday tour is a carbon-neutral event.  This means that several measures have been taken to minimize the use of fossil fuels for this event.  The remaining carbon emissions are then offset through environmentally beneficial programs.  The Colorado Carbon Fund (CCF) was set up by the Governor's energy Office (GEO) to support local efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  Anyone can offset their own carbon emissions by making a tax-deductible donation the CCF.  Your travel to and from the mansion has already been offset for this event.
·        Solar Electric Power—The Governor's Residence now has grid-intertied solar power on site.  This reduces the need for electricity generated from fossil fuels at the power plant.  There are several rebates and incentives available to Colorado residents to install solar power on their homes.  A photovoltaic system helps the environment while lowering energy bills.  The Governor's Energy Office now offers its own rebates and provides information on getting started.
·        Water Conservation—Water conservation is critical for Colorado's sustainable future.  The new landscaping design at the Governor's Residence uses water-efficiency measures.  Xeriscape is a landscaping system that incorporates water-efficient plants and utilizes native plants from this naturally dry climate.  This system can reduce water usage by 65% without compromising the beauty of the gardens and grounds.  The home is also in the process of replacing old plumbing fixtures with new and high efficiency ones.
The Art Institute of Colorado
Interior Design students from The Art Institute of Colorado took part in this year's holiday decorations and brought their "green" talents to The Residence.  The students decorated and donated the "Upside-Down Tree," which was decorated with cost-effective and environmentally friendly décor.  The students used items and materials that would normally be thrown away, such as Styrofoam from packaging and old light bulbs.  They also turned recycled and unwanted pieces into holiday ornaments.  Other materials used included old water bottles, newspapers, candy wrappers, beads and buttons.  Where glue and other materials were needed, students used non-toxic and non-volatile organic compound free adhesives.
The Green Event Company & Exhibit
The Green Event Company and the Governor's Residence Preservation Fund have worked together to produce a unique experience for visitors.  GECo has invited several local companies and organizations, including the Governor's Energy Office, to provide an interactive display of environmental technologies in the Carriage House during the three-day Holiday Tours.  The exhibitors include top of the line vehicles, as well as wind, solar, and biofuel options.  Completing the multi-media experience is a video showcasing the Boettcher Mansion's retrofits and the Sustainable Technology Exhibit. With a personal introduction by the Governor himself, this video features information on the recently achieved LEED certification and other state of the art technology, as well as many other ways to maximize energy efficiency.  Visitors will be able to view the video on an environmentally friendly flat screen television during the tour.  In addition to the simple measures taken to reduce energy use, the Holiday Tour producers have made this event Carbon Neutral, purchasing renewable energy credits through the Colorado Carbon Fund.  These credits offset carbon use by supporting wind farms and various reforestation programs.  The companies participating in the Carriage House exhibit include:  Chevron (replaced Mansion windows and installed geo-thermal unit), Bella Energy and Namaste Solar (who installed some of the Mansion solar panels).  Other companies participating in the exhibit include:  Coolerado, Eco-Products, Eco-Futures Building, Alliance For Sustainable Colorado, Smartwheels, Governor's Energy Office, National Renewable Energy Lab, Simple Solar, One Button Life, Colorado Carbon Fund, Puliteer Promotions, Home Energy Americas, Blue Sun BioDiesal, Green Event Company, Ellie's Eco-Home Store.