Learn more about what the City has accomplished in climate, sustainability, and resiliency throughout the years.


Air Quality:
  • Implement the $1M Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge in partnership with Denver Public Schools to protect children with asthma from the negative effects of poor air quality.
  • Work with regional partners on strategies to reduce ambient ozone levels by end of 2020.
  • Facilitated Climate Action Task Force and community stakeholder process to analyze city climate goals, gaps, and revenue sources.
  • Received a $1,00,000 DOLA grant from the state to develop a community solar program.
  • Develop a 100% renewable electricity roadmap to support the 2030 community goal and the 2025 municipal facility goal.
  • Continue implementation of Denver’s Benchmarking Requirement, achieving ongoing 90% annual compliance and energy savings from covered buildings.
  • Energize Denver will continue to give Energy Efficiency Awards each year to buildings that have improved their energy efficiency the most.
  • Energize Denver will continue to promote the use of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE), which allows building owners to finance the up-front costs of energy efficiency improvements.
  • Energize Denver will begin an Energy Smart Leasing program to help owners and tenants save energy in leased space.
  • Denver’s new ambitious Green Building Ordinance will be in place requiring buildings to install cool roofs, green roofs, green space, solar panels and energy efficiency improvements.
  • Conduct a low-income and affordable housing energy services gap analysis to ensure equity in the move towards a low carbon future.
  • City agencies to collaborate on adopting the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code and creating the next Denver Building and Fire Code (DBC). Evaluate a “stretch” code that incentivizes building owners to go beyond Denver’s minimum requirements.
  • Work with other cities to organize votes for a major upgrade of the 2021 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (already underway).
  • Create a road map to net-zero energy new construction in Denver.
  • Conduct feasibility studies of systems that increase the amount of materials diverted from landfills, including cost-benefit analyses and market studies to determine any policy changes.
  • Launch pilot program in Highlands to reduce and compost commercial food waste. Also, explore methods to track food waste and/or diversion at large events.
  • Seek and leverage additional grants to support climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and enhanced mobility.
  • Develop an electric vehicle transformation plan to support the goal of 30% of Denver vehicle registrations being electric vehicles by 2030.
  • Accelerate electric vehicle adoption in the city fleet to support the goal of 200 EVs by the end of 2020.
  • In conjunction with regional and state partners, expand electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support increased adoption of EVs.
  • Evaluate the effect of new green infrastructure projects on stormwater quality
  • Extend the reclaimed water “purple pipe” to allow accelerated substitution of reclaimed for potable water, e.g. using reclaimed water in the downtown chilled water circulation system.


Mayor Hancock and City Council come together to create a new Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, & Resiliency under the Mayor's Office. In addition, they agree to a Climate Action Stakeholder Process to determine the best and most effective path forward for the City to mitigate climate change and prepare for its impacts.
  • Denver International Airport emerges as one of the greenest airports in the world. Despite continued growth, the airport has reduced electricity used campus-wide by over 14% since 2005 and reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions by over 23% from a 2013 baseline. DEN is a global leader in solar energy development. During Mayor Hancock’s administration, three solar arrays have been constructed totaling eight megawatts of new generation, and two Community Solar Gardens will be completed this year.
  • Denver converts all City street lights to LEDs
  • Denver receives a Platinum rating in US Green Building Council's LEED for Cities for its leadership in environmental and social sustainability.
  • The Solutions Journal devotes its entire 10th-anniversary issue to sustainability work in Denver.
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies announces Denver as a winner of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge for the top 25 cities nationally leading the way on climate action and will receive a $2.5 million prize. Denver will focus on using resources and experts awarded through the Challenge to transform its EV market through an education and test-drive campaign, new policies, and incentives to drive investment in infrastructure. The city is aimed at further reducing emissions from its transportation sector and will work with new corridors of high-frequency public transit service, redesign streets to prioritize safety for walking and biking, as well as offer incentives to increase public transit ridership.
  • Completed installation of an EV charging station and subsidized EVGo Carshare service for DHA Mariposa residents.
  • Joined a coalition of local governments to support the adoption of a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standard in Colorado by participating in the rulemaking at the Air Quality Control Commission.


Air Quality:
  • Denver is selected as one of nine winners of the U.S. Mayors Challenge. Denver’s winning idea to place cutting edge, real-time air quality sensors at schools to measure particulate pollution beat out more than 300 other entries to win a $1 million grant. Denver will co-create programs with school communities with high percentages of students with asthma, near major roadways and high percentages of free and reduced lunch. It will develop culturally relevant, evidence-based interventions to reduce pollution and exposure for kids in environmental justice communities. This is a “smart city” technology that will be implemented on a scale larger than any direct attempt done by a U.S. city.
  • Thanks to many of the following 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.
  • Denver has grown by over 100,000 people in the last 10 years and still has reduced carbon emissions 7% during that same time, thereby decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas growth.
  • Mayor Hancock signs a partnership agreement with our utility, Xcel Energy, to achieve a clean energy future that is just, affordable and healthy for all people in our community.
  • In his State of the City address, Mayor Hancock announces the 80x50 Climate Action Plan with a bold goal of 100% renewable electricity community-wide by 2030.
  • 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 conveys its Multiple Program Award to the City.
  • Mayor Hancock’s administration is awarded a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to reduce the amount of food being wasted in Denver homes and businesses.
  • Denver is recognized for achieving all commitments under the Global Covenant of Mayors.
  • The Denver Convention Center is re-certified as LEED Existing Building to Level GOLD.
  • Nineteen miles of new bike lane get installed adding to the 274 miles of bikeways already in Denver. Additionally, 128 new bike parking spaces are created, and 500 new bikes are added to our bike share fleet. We also have a total of 35,277 participants in the Bike to Work Day! The Administration helps 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 launches the Heads-Up Denver campaign.
  • Mayor Hancock partners with Denver Housing Authority and EV Go carshare to build EV charging and provide a subsidized car share option at the Mariposa community.


Business Sustainability:
  • The DEN Hotel and Transit Center becomes the first airport hotel to earn LEED Platinum certification and receives the top award for “Outstanding Sustainability Infrastructure Development” from Airports Going Green. Since, DEN installed seven solar arrays totaling more than 15 megawatts of capacity and 58 electric vehicle charging stations in its parking lots for passengers and employees. In addition, DEN leads the nation by recycling over 70% of the deicing fluid applied to aircraft and recycles and composts over 2,000 tons of waste annually.
  • Denver wraps up the Denver Energy Challenge, which engaged over 12,500 households and 800 businesses, saving an estimated 5.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 1.1 million therms of natural gas, which is equivalent to taking 5,445 cars off the road. The program also leverages a 7:1 private sector investment ratio for every grant dollar spent. The energy efficiency revolving loan fund under this program provided over $1.6 million in low-interest loans for energy improvements. This program was supported by grant funds from the U.S. DOE and EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities program.
  • Residents can continue to find ways to save money and energy through the Home Energy webpage.
  • From the Denver Energy Challenge starts the new comprehensive Certifiably Green Denver program. Since 2017 the program has helped almost 2,000 businesses with their sustainability goals in the areas of efficiency, water savings, waste reduction, and alternative transportation options, and has certified over 294 businesses. Certifiably Green Denver has helped Denver businesses collectively save over 28 million kilowatt hours in electricity each year, worth over $2.6 million annually. 
  • Mayor Hancock’s administration is recognized as a GOLD SolSmart city for its leadership in advancing solar energy. SolSmart is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. 
  • Denver is ranked #9 of 51 large U.S. cities in the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy City Scorecard, with its municipal operations ranked #1. Denver has improved it position in this biennial ranking in every ranking issued while Mayor Hancock has been in office.
  • Mayor Hancock’s administration receives a Silver Award in the State Electronics Challenge for its achievements in green purchasing and responsible recycling of electronic office equipment.
  • The Denver Convention Center increases diversion of 609.5 tons (46%) in 2016 to 1,192.4 tons of materials diverted from landfill (49%) in 2017.


  • Denver passes a requirement for large buildings to benchmark and publicly report their energy use annually using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Buildings are the #1 source of greenhouse gases in Denver. Compliance was 90% in years one and two of the program, with year over year savings of 4.5% (weather normalized). This is the largest annual savings of any benchmarking program nationally to date.
  • DEN’s Food Donation Program is created. It has since partnered with airlines and concessions to collect and donate over 140 tons of edible food to Metro Caring. This award-winning program has grown to become the largest food donation program at any U.S. airport, donating over 117,000 pounds in 2017 and 163,000 pounds in 2018.
  • Mayor Hancock commits Denver to have 200 plug-in electric vehicles in the City fleet by 2020.

2015 & Earlier


  • Mayor Hancock’s South Platte RiverPlace Initiative is awarded $400,000 from the U.S. EPA to restore and preserve the South Plate River Corridor as a natural resource.
  • Denver partners with Denver Water to hold per capita consumption of potable water at 21% below the level of 2001.
  • Mayor Hancock joins the Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda in 2015, just the fourth city out of over 330 to join, and the Global Covenant of Mayors.


  • The Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) opens the 126,000 SF Morgridge Family Exploration Center, the most energy efficient building in the city, receiving LEED-NC Platinum certification. Since then, DMNS also received LEED-CI Gold Certification for the Phipps Gallery Renovation, attained ISO-14001 certification, and installed 200-kilowatt solar array. Additionally, DMNS has installed low flow toilets, urinals and faucets which save around 4.8 million gallons of water annually.


  • Denver’s progress in addressing childhood obesity gets recognized by the National League of Cities when it awarded Denver a Gold Medal in the category of “Active Kids at Play.” Various Denver Recreation Centers offer free activities for MY Denver cardholders Monday through Friday, all cardholders have free access to all Denver Public Library locations and various Denver cultural facilities. Over 100 MY Denver youth and their families are given the opportunity to see American Mariachi free of charge thanks to partnerships with the Denver Center for Performing Arts. Additionally, the partnership with the Denver Broncos provides hundreds of MY Denver cardholder with the opportunity to receive a free Broncos Bunch membership. MY Denver also partners with Southwest Airlines, granting MY Denver cardholders the opportunity to ice skate for free at their skating rink located in downtown Denver.
  • Mayor Hancock’s administration is the first to join the Sustainable Neighborhood Network. Fourteen Denver neighborhoods have since joined the program, engaging over 10,000 residents in 350+ workshops, events, and initiatives.
  • Denver is 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. Since, DPR has focused on the Be a Smart Ash campaign, striving to protect our urban canopy from the emerald ash borer.
  • Denver partners with the Colorado Energy Office and several large for-profit companies to enter a Memorandum of Understanding that would accelerate the conversion of gasoline-powered fleet vehicles to cleaner-burning domestic natural gas.
  • Mayor Hancock issues an updated version of Executive Order 123, which establishes sustainability goals for all municipal government operations in the city.
  • To make solar energy available to everyone, including people who don’t own their own homes, Denver partners with private developers to open the city’s first community-owned solar array at Hangar #2 in Lowry.
  • The Denver Energy Challenge wins an award from the U.S. Green Building Council for innovation.
  • Denver finishes first in REI’s Cycling Town Showdown and is ranked as the third most bike-friendly city in America on the web site.
  • The Hancock Administration opens a new bikeway on 15th Street and the City’s 100th mile of bike lane.
  • The Denver Convention Center sets 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 is featured prominently when names Denver as the #1 location in America for green meetings.


  • Denver’s success in its pursuit of sustainability initiatives is recognized by the Siemens Green City Index, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Denver was rated as 5th for environmental performance among the 27 large North American cities studied. Notably, Denver was ranked first (tied with Washington, D.C., and New York City) in “Environmental Governance.”
  • Thanks to voter approval of Issue 2A, Denver creates the “MY Denver Card,” which allows children in Denver to gain free admission to all Denver recreation centers. Since then over 62,500 youth have signed up for the My Denver card, a critical first step in increasing physical activity and reducing childhood obesity.
  • Denver becomes a leader in reducing the cost and delay of obtaining permits to install solar power systems on private homes, which leads the Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association to name Denver as America’s first Solar Friendly Community.


  • Mayor Hancock’s administration wins two prestigious awards for the environmentally responsible redevelopment of Denver’s Central Platte Campus: The Brownfields Renewal Award for Environmental Impact and the Phoenix Award for EPA Region 8.


  • The City & County of Denver completes the process to certify all its staff, facilities, and operations under ISO-14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) standard. Denver remains the only city in North America to accomplish this. Denver’s EMS focuses on highlighting and promoting continual improvement in city-wide environmental performance and identifying areas to minimize environmental impacts from our operations.
  • Denver is the first and only U.S. city to achieve certification to the international Environmental Management standard ISO-14001 for all municipal operations, including the airport. ISO-14001 is the internationally recognized gold standard for managing environmental performance.