Denver Announces Sustainability Milestones

Denver Announces Sustainability Milestones

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Michele Weingarden, Director of Greenprint Denver
Sue Cobb or Sarah Moss, Mayor’s Office

Denver Announces Sustainability Milestones
Climate Action Plan to Cut City’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2012;
Webb Municipal Building Receives National Sustainability Designation
DENVER—Mayor John Hickenlooper announced significant sustainability milestones today as part of his ongoing challenge to Denver residents and City employees to dramatically reduce Denver’s vulnerability to climate change.
Joined by members of the Greenprint Denver Advisory Council and City employees, he adopted the Council’s Climate Action Plan and announced certification of the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building as a LEED Gold Existing Building. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally recognized standard for sustainability.
Hickenlooper also signed Executive Order 123, formally establishing the City’s sustainability policy.
“The Climate Action Plan will guide Denver’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs and improving public health,” Hickenlooper said. “We commend the Greenprint Advisory Council for their innovative and collaborative approach in developing the plan, and we thank them for their tireless efforts to promote sustainability in our community.
“The LEED Gold certification is a tremendous honor for the City, our employees and our community partners,” Hickenlooper added. “It’s an important designation that recognizes our collective commitment to sustainability. This remarkable building now symbolizes that commitment and all that can be achieved when we establish ambitious sustainability goals and work together to achieve them.”
Hickenlooper formally adopted Denver’s Climate Action Plan, a series of steps intended to reduce the City’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent by 2012. This announcement is the culmination of over a year’s work by the 33-member Greenprint Advisory Council, which studied best practices from across the country to determine the top ten opportunities to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Council presented draft recommendations for public feedback in May 2007.
Greenprint Denver is the City’s ambitious sustainability initiative announced by Hickenlooper in July 2006. The Greenprint Advisory Council was appointed at that time. Its broad membership includes civic, business and environmental leaders.
“With adoption of the Climate Action Plan, our real work as a community begins,” Hickenlooper added. “If there is only a three percent chance that 95 percent of the world’s top scientists are right about the consequences of climate change, we all have a responsibility to act now. Denver remains committed to leading by example.”
The mayor also signed Executive Order 123, which contains the City’s first municipal green building policy, formalizes a comprehensive sustainability policy and creates an Office of Greenprint Denver, ensuring that future Denver leaders have the necessary tools to institute cost-effective sustainable practices.
The green building policy requires all City facilities to be constructed and maintained according to sustainable principles. To highlight this commitment, the City unveiled a plaque commemorating certification of the Wellington E. Webb Municipal Office Building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) Gold standard.
“We are proud of the LEED Gold certification achieved by the Webb Building, and we see this as just the beginning of our sustainability efforts,” said Kevin Patterson, manager of General Services. “Our goal is to maintain all of our City facilities in an energy efficient and sustainable manner. Sustainability is not just a buzzword; it is an integral part of our decision making process.”
LEED-EB is a high-performance building rating system developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council that provides guidance on operations and maintenance for existing buildings. LEED-EB evaluates criteria related to building location, exterior maintenance, water and energy efficiency, material and resource use, indoor environmental quality and occupancy comfort, and sustainability innovations. There are only four LEED-EB Gold certified buildings in Denver and 24 nationwide.
“Certification of the Webb Building clearly shows the City government’s commitment to this vision of sustainability,” said Michele Weingarden, director of Greenprint Denver. “We appreciate all the employees in the Webb Building who embraced the Greenprint Denver challenge and integrated recycling and energy efficiency into their daily operations.”
An early signatory to the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Agreement aiming for a 10 percent per capita reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012, the City and County of Denver completed its most comprehensive inventory of local greenhouse gas emissions to date in May 2007. The Climate Action Plan includes ten recommendations to help the City meet its commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These recommendations include:

1. Corporate and Residential Climate Challenges – Develop business and residential outreach campaigns related to energy conservation, purchase of renewable energy, support for multi-modal transportation, and waste reduction.

2. Incentivize Energy Conservation – Subject to voter approval, apply a tiered rate structure to electrical and natural gas usage. Similar to water rate charges, tiered rates would impose a premium charge for excessive electrical and natural gas usage. Funds generated would support energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction programs, especially for lower income neighborhoods.

3. Voluntary Travel Offset Program – Provide the opportunity to pay a small voluntary fee at the time of air ticket purchase or motor vehicle registration to offset the carbon emissions related to travel.

4. City Leading by Example – Pursue opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy at Denver International Airport, develop “carbon neutral” City buildings through purchase of renewable energy, and make additional City fleet improvements.

5. Enhance Recycling Programs – Support new and expanded recycling initiatives throughout Denver, including multi-family, commercial and green waste recycling.

6. Energy Efficiency Standards for New Buildings and Remodels – Adopt a set of mandatory building standards for commercial buildings and building codes for new homes and some remodels that incorporate energy efficiency standards and renewable energy requirements.

7. Increase Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes – Promote basic energy efficiency measures at residential properties as a way to improve the energy efficiency of Denver’s older housing stock.

8. Communitywide High-performing Green Concrete Policy – Require the use of “green” concrete, consisting of at least 20 percent fly ash, in all public and private construction projects.

9. Compact Growth Boundary with Incentives for Density in Urban Areas – Support maintenance of the existing DRCOG growth boundary and support additional population growth around transit in the Denver metropolitan area to promote denser, walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly neighborhoods that will reduce the demand for motorized personal transport.

10. City Support for Alternative Transportation Strategies – Develop City policies that promote the transition to the use of alternative transportation sources and alternatively fueled vehicles, including parking subsidies for car share, high fuel economy or alternatively fueled vehicles, or access fee discounts for hybrid taxis at Denver International Airport.
Greenprint Denver is the City’s action plan for sustainable practices. More information regarding Greenprint Denver and full text of the City of Denver Climate Action Plan is available, where Denver residents can also calculate their own carbon footprints at with a carbon calculator and find simple ideas for individuals and families to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
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Posted on Oct 24, 2007 (Archive on Dec 23, 2007)
Posted by kpellegrin  Contributed by kpellegrin