Denver Invests $1 Million in Green Upgrades to Affordable Housing

Published on December 07, 2021

DENVER — Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) announced today nearly $1 million in funding awarded to the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to convert its Forum Apartments building energy use to electric. This major project is the latest clean energy investment supported by the Climate Protection Fund

On the steam system, heating is powered by fossil gas boilers, and currently serves 120 buildings in downtown Denver. The cost of operating a steam system has increased nearly 40% since 2019, leaving building owners in search of more affordable alternatives. By switching to electric heating, Forum Apartments can depend on long-term, stable energy costs instead of volatile gas prices. 

“We continue to look for creative solutions that reduce emissions, build resiliency in the face of climate change and deliver tangible results for those in our community who are most harmed by global warming,” said Jan Keleher, building electrification administrator for Denver. 

CASR sees this as a prime opportunity to electrify buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while prioritizing Climate Protection Fund benefits to Denver’s most under-resourced residents. Forum Apartments has provided the community with permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness since 1996. 

“The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is committed to providing safe, affordable housing to Denver’s most marginalized residents and the recent rise in energy costs has taken a toll on our available resources,” said John Parvensky, President and CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “Having predictable costs for our energy use will allow us to redirect funding to support people experiencing homelessness, with the added benefit of better indoor air quality.” 

The Steam to Electric Incentive program covers up to the full cost difference between gas and electric systems and is open to all buildings currently on the steam system. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. 

The estimated duration of construction at Forum Apartments is 12 months and is expected to start in early 2022. 

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About Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency  

Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver City Council created the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency to manage the City's ambitious emission reduction goals and sustainability programs in collaboration with fellow departments, other units of government, and community partners. The office ensures that the City's targets are aligned with current climate science, promotes the role that climate action and sustainability play in strengthening Denver's economic vitality and a prosperous future for all residents and businesses, and embraces equity as a value and practice in all of its work.  

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