For the last few years, this northern Colorado city (population 160,000) has been reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and growing its businesses at the same time. Since 2005, its population has risen by 13.5 percent, but emissions have dropped by 14.7 percent. Last year's drop, according to the city, was the equivalent of taking 71,000 passenger cars off the road.
How can a city do this? Within the last six weeks, experts from Russia, India, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Japan have come here to find out. They were primarily interested in the city's latest experiment, which was to cut the electricity use in its downtown business district by 20 percent on hot summer days with no noticeable decline in activity or comfort.
"If we've found the magic juice," explained Bruce Hendee, who bears the title of Fort Collins' chief sustainability officer, it has been connecting the city's biggest employer, Colorado State University, along with the business community -- a growing assortment of companies including 10 breweries -- to a community action plan that focuses on people, aggressive environmental goals and profit.