Mayor Hancock has been busy working on sustainability issues since taking office in 2011. Among the Administration’s accomplishments since then:
- City government has walked the walk on energy efficiency by reducing the energy intensity of city facilities to 5.6% below the 2011 baseline. Such efficiency improvements also contribute to improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In recognition of the City’s efforts in improving energy efficiency in its buildings, Xcel conveyed its Multiple Program Award to the City.
- Denver’s achievements in energy efficiency go beyond its own city facilities. Denver has engaged over 7,000 households and businesses in the Denver Energy Challenge, and moved over 100 businesses through the more comprehensive Certifiably Green Denver initiative. Over 1200 businesses have been provided advice on reducing energy, water and waste, and over 800 have implemented specific actions. These programs have collectively saved over 27,900,000 million kilowatt hours in electricity worth over $3.5 million, numbers that continue to grow as time passes.
- Denver became a leader in reducing the cost and delay of obtaining permits to install solar power systems on private homes, leading the Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association to name Denver as America’s first Solar Friendly Community. To make solar energy available to everyone, including people who don’t own their own homes, Denver partnered with private developers in 2013 to open the city’s first community-owned solar array at Hangar #2 in Lowry.
- In 2013, the Denver Convention Center set an international standard for sustainable operations by becoming the first conference facility in the world to be certified as compliant with ASTM E2774-11, the international standard for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, and Conferences. This achievement was featured prominently in 2013 when Greenbiz.com named Denver as the #1 location in America for green meetings.
- Denver partners with Denver Water to hold per capita consumption of potable water at 21% below the level of 2001.
- Denver remains the only city in America to have a certified Environmental Management System covering all of its staff, facilities and operations.
- Thanks to voter approval of Issue 2A in 2012, Denver created the “My Denver Card,” which allows children in Denver to gain free admission to all Denver recreation centers. Over 37,000 children have signed up for the My Denver card, a critical first step in increasing physical activity and reducing childhood obesity. Denver’s progress in addressing childhood obesity was recognized by the National League of Cities in 2013 when it awarded Denver a “Gold Medal” in the category of “Active Kids at Play.”
- Under the Hancock Administration, Denver has become a more bike-friendly city. The Administration opened a new bikeway on 15th Street and the City’s 100th mile of bike lane in 2013. The Administration has also helped Denver Bike Sharing expand B-Cycle to 83 stations and 700 bikes, and B-Cycle now operates year-round. To improve cyclist and pedestrian safety, the Administration launched the Heads-Up Denver campaign. It’s no wonder that Denver finished first in REI’s Cycling Town Showdown in 2013 and is ranked as the third most bike-friendly city in America on the walkscore.com web site.
- Denver International Airport has emerged as one of the greenest airports in the world. The Airport has reduced electricity used per passenger by over ten percent since 2005, and has added ten charging stations for electric vehicles in its parking garages. The Airport leads the nation by recycling 68% of de-icing fluids. It received recognition for having the healthiest food choices of any airport in the country. In 2013, the first all-electric shuttle bus was put into service between the Airport and nearby hotels.
- Denver’s cultural institutions have gotten in the sustainability game in a big way since Mayor Hancock took office. The City-owned Museum of Nature and Science has opened the new 125,000 sf Morgridge Family Exploration Center, the first Denver city-owned building to be certified as LEED Platinum, in addition to being most energy efficient building in the City. The new addition was designed and modeled from the ground-up to be at least 50% more energy efficient than similar new construction.
- Denver was proud to be recognized nationally as a “top 10 urban forest” by American Forests. Our Denver Forestry Program continues to emphasize goals for the protection, preservation and care of these valuable 2.2 million trees across the City and County of Denver.
- In 2013, Denver partnered with the Colorado Energy Office and several large for-profit companies to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding that will accelerate conversion of gasoline-powered fleet vehicles to cleaner-burning domestic natural gas.
- Thanks to many of the preceding initiatives and other efforts, Denver remains on target to meet its goal of reducing total community greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 to below the amount produced in 1990. Denver has already reduced per capita emissions below the 1990 level.
In recognition of Denver’s success in pursuing sustainability initiatives, the Siemens Green City Index, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, rates Denver as 5th for environmental performance among the 27 large North American cities it studied. Notably, Denver was ranked first (tied with Washington, D.C. and New York City) in “Environmental Governance.”