Denver, CO (February 13, 2012) – In a press conference on February 13, 2012, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced the launch of Better Buildings Denver, a new effort to upgrade the energy efficiency of Denver’s buildings.
Better Buildings Denver is a local extension of President Obama’s national Better Buildings Challenge launched in December 2011. Mayor Hancock accepted the President’s challenge – focused on upgrading the energy efficiency of buildings nationwide – and issued a local challenge asking the Denver community to help reduce local energy consumption in buildings by 20 percent by 2020.
Better Buildings Denver was created through the leadership of Mayor Hancock and a strategic partnership between the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, Certifiably Green Denver, Denver Energy Challenge, Greenprint Denver, Living City Block, the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program and Watts to Water.
The citywide effort commits Denver’s over seven million square feet building portfolio to energy reduction goals, and challenges commercial building owners to do the same. Leading the way are two commercial showcase projects: The Alliance Center High Performance Building Renovation (1536 Wynkoop Street) and Living City Block in lower downtown. These projects will demonstrate the commercial viability of energy efficiency as well as proven sustainable building practices.
"To deliver a world-class city where everyone matters we must create a sustainable Denver, one that is built for generations we may never meet," Mayor Hancock said. "We've accepted this challenge to reduce the City's energy use in municipal buildings, and we ask our community partners to do the same. Help us clean the air we breathe, conserve valuable natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
And representing the national perspective, United States Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu stated, “As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, reducing energy waste in buildings and factories is one of the fastest, cheapest ways for businesses to save money and increase their competitiveness. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the city of Denver is helping to create energy-efficient solutions that will boost manufacturing, create American jobs, cut pollution, and build an American economy that lasts.”
Better Buildings Denver offers a number of resources for helping participants meet the challenge, including energy audits and weatherization upgrades, educational resources, technical assistance, and certification programs. A seminar series is also planned for commercial building owners and operators to learn more about the various programs and how to use the City of Denver’s available resources.
For more information about Denver Better Buildings, seminar dates, and how Denver building owners can “Take the Challenge,” visit www.denvergov.org/bbd.
Who are the Better Buildings Denver Partners?
Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
The Alliance for Sustainable Colorado is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing sustainability through collaboration among nonprofits, government, business and education. The organization operates three integrated program areas: Alliance Center, Public Policy, and Education & Outreach. The Alliance Center is a century-old warehouse housing over nonprofit tenants all working on some aspect of sustainability. It has been awarded two Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications, and is recognized nationally as a model of sustainability. The Alliance Center is also considered a showcase project for the Better Buildings Denver initiative. As a mid-sized commercial building, the retrofit in the Center will highlight options for historic and existing buildings to become high performing ones. www.sustainablecolorado.org.
Certifiably Green Denver
The Denver Department of Environmental Health’s Certifiably Green Denver Program is a free, non-regulatory program that provides individual educational and technical assistance to any small business in the City and County of Denver. The primary goals of the program are to increase participation and adoption of sustainable practices to minimize the use of hazardous materials; to improve energy efficiency and water conservation; and to decrease the use of natural resources and generation of waste. After meeting rigorous certification requirements, sustainability certified businesses receive a window decal, are recognized as sustainable business partners on the City & County of Denver website, and receive certificates of achievement signed by Mayor B. Hancock. Certifiably Green Denver supports Better Building Denver by assisting businesses with achieving reductions in energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. www.denvergov.org/certifiablygreendenver
Denver Energy Challenge
The Denver Energy Challenge is a free commercial and residential energy program that offers energy advising services, education, and financial incentives to participants within the City and County of Denver. Business participants also receive recognition when they complete energy efficient upgrades. The primary goal is to help participants reduce their energy use by 15% or more, saving energy and money while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions in support of the Denver Climate Action Plan. Denver Energy Challenge supports Better Buildings Denver by providing guidance and resources to encourage business owners to take energy saving actions. Denver Energy Challenge is managed by the City & County of Denver Department of Environmental Health, and funded in part by the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings program, the Governor’s Energy Office, and the EPA Climate Showcase Communities program. www.DenverEnergy.org.
Greenprint Denver provides leadership and solutions to ensure a prosperous community where people and nature thrive. As Denver’s Office of Sustainability, Greenprint Denver builds the programs, policies and resources that help our community make sustainable living choices and help the City of Denver build a world class city where everyone matters. Better Buildings Denver lays a foundation for protecting the environment, conserving resources, and saving money across Denver’s commercial sector. www.greenprintdenver.org
Living City Block
A Denver based organization, Living City Block (LCB) works with communities on a wide array of sustainability programming beginning with energy and other resource efficiency issues. In partnership with Denver based law firms Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber & Schreck LLC and Moye White LLC, LCB is developing an aggregation model that allows owners of small to medium-sized commercial buildings to undertake deep resource retrofit measures that they would be unlikely to engage in one building at a time. LCB's pilot project is located in LoDo and is comprised of 17 different buildings totaling nearly 800,000 square feet. LCB is also the recipient of a DOE Commercial Buildings Partnership Program Technical Assistant Award. LCB's second project is in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. www.livingcityblock.org
Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program
Since 2007, the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, Energy Outreach Colorado, and Xcel Energy have been working together to reduce nonprofit energy costs through the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Program (NEEP). Recognizing the challenge rising energy costs have placed on nonprofits providing services to low-income individuals and families, NEEP provides the opportunity for select nonprofits to receive a free energy audit and free energy efficiency improvements to their buildings so they can save money on utility bills and invest those dollars back into vital community services. Participating nonprofits also learn what no cost steps can be taken toward energy conservation as well as receive assistance in developing a formal energy action plan. Investments range from $20,000-$100,000 and nonprofits see an average savings of 20% on their annual utility bill. The program has provided upgrades to over 100 nonprofit facilities since its inception. http://www.denvergov.org/strategicpartnerships
Watts to Water
Watts to Water is a sustainability program that recognizes high performance buildings focused on energy and water consumption reductions. The program creates a more sustainably built environment in the Denver metropolitan area through resource conservation and bottom line savings. The efforts help building owners and operators save energy and money while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions in support of the Denver Climate Action plan. To date, 130 Denver-metro buildings representing 28 million square feet of office & hotel space are participants. http://wattstowater.org