Task Force Recommends Buildings Cut GHG Emissions Nearly 80% by 2040

Published on September 09, 2021

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The Energize Denver Task Force has presented recommendations to the City and County of Denver that would reduce the 49% of Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions that come from buildings towards zero by 2040. Stakeholders across multiple industries came to consensus on an equitable path to healthier, safer, net zero energy commercial and multifamily buildings.

“The Energize Denver Task Force recommendations will help guide our work to improve the lives of residents and business owners across the City and reduce emissions over the next 20 years,” said Grace Rink, chief climate officer and executive director of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR). “We are greatly appreciative for the Energize Denver Task Force’s time and dedication, and look forward to planning next steps based on the recommendations.”

The recommendations are the culmination of eight months of collaboration and conversations between diverse stakeholders, including building owners and managers, local utility and energy providers, residents, tenants, non-profits, labor and workforce representatives, and environment and clean energy advocates. The Task Force recommendations detail how the City should implement a net zero building performance policy for existing buildings that will improve health and equity, create and expand clean energy jobs and advance climate solutions for buildings. The recommended policies would require improved energy efficiency, more renewable energy in existing buildings, and a transition to renewable heating and cooling.

“The transition to efficient, renewably powered buildings will improve safety, lower energy bills and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Denver’s biggest source of emissions,” said Christine Brinker from Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a member of the Task Force. “The Task Force recommendations will help bring the latest affordable and climate-friendly technologies to Denver residents and businesses.”

With equity as one of the Task Force’s guiding principles, members identified ways to ensure that the benefits of efficient, renewably powered buildings are delivered to under-resourced communities first.

“Efficient, renewably powered buildings are healthier for residents and help improve affordability by lowering energy bills,” said Aaron Martinez from the Urban Land Conservancy, also a member of the Task Force. “The Task Force recommendations will deliver significant climate benefits in a way that also improves the quality of life for people living in under-resourced communities.”

The Task Force and CASR engaged the community, sharing updates and collecting input on the recommendations, including two public briefings and a survey. Individual Task Force members hosted briefings, discussions, and collected input from the stakeholders in their respective industries.

The Task Force recommends the City should:

  • Set building specific energy use intensity targets that achieve at least 30% total energy savings across all buildings by 2030,
  • Require building owners to partially electrify space and water heating at time of system replacement, and
  • Provide resources and incentives to aid the buildings sector in making this transition, especially buildings serving under-resourced people.

The policies recommended by the task force result in a cumulative emission reduction of 11.8 million metric tons of CO2 saved between now and 2040.

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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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