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Mayor Hickenlooper, Denver Zoo Officials & Sea Lion Announce Significant Sustainability Milestone for City

DENVER, CO – Wednesday, March 4, 2009 – Mayor John Hickenlooper, Denver Zoo President and CEO Craig Piper and a 250-pound sea lion named Gidget today announced a significant milestone in the city’s sustainability efforts. Denver is the first city in the nation to voluntarily create an ISO-14001 certified Environmental Management System for multiple city agencies, programs and facilities.

The Denver Zoo – the site of today’s announcement – is the first zoo in the country to earn the certification for the entire zoo. This certification commits the zoo and participating City agencies to continuous improvement in their efforts to minimize the environmental impacts of their operations while reducing costs and increasing regulatory compliance, employee awareness and overall efficiency.

“This certification is a great honor for the City and carries with it an ongoing responsibility to do our part to make and keep Denver a sustainable community,” Hickenlooper said. “We are up to the task – managing to the ISO-14001 standards is consistent with the goals of our Greenprint Denver initiative and will help us protect our environment, improve our operations and save money as well.”

In addition to the Denver Zoo, the City & County of Denver’s departments of Environmental Health, Public Works, Mayor’s Office (including Greenprint Denver), General Services, and Theatres & Arenas Division have certified their Environmental Management Systems through the comprehensive, internationally-recognized ISO-14001 independent accreditation process.  

“We are so fortunate to live in a city where sustainable practices are valued so greatly,” said Piper. “As an organization dedicated to conservation, Denver Zoo is setting a high bar for environmental performance. This system will help us implement our goals, while enabling us to continuously improve our environmental practices and share our best practices with others.”

Denver International Airport received ISO-14001 certification in 2004, and was the first international airport in North America to do so. Since then, DIA has created many sustainability initiatives, including installing one of the largest photovoltaic systems at an airport (10,000 panels on 7.5 acres) in August 2008.

In 2009, Denver plans to certify an additional nine entities, including the Office of Economic Development, Community Planning and Development, the Department of Law, Denver Public Library, Parks & Recreation, Safety, City Council, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

ISO-14001 certification is issued by NSF International and more information can be found at For more information about Denver’s ISO-14001 certification or sustainability efforts, call EMS Program Manager Paul Schmiechen at 303-865-5412 or Greenprint Denver Deputy Director Scott Morrissey at 720-865-9047. 
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) Fact Sheet
City & County of Denver
Public Works:
• Doubled the number of vehicles in the City fleet that are retrofitted with emissions-control technology which reduces the release of harmful emissions.
• Increased the use of asphalt that contains reclaimed asphalt pavement by 61% between 2007 to 2008
• Switching the city's traffic lights to LED bulbs, saving the city more than $800,000 dollars per year in energy, labor and material costs
• Installed E-85 fueling system at Public Works’ Roslyn facility to improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental Health:
• Completed update of Denver greenhouse gas inventory, this provides baseline numbers which Denver can use in order to measure its performance.
• Completed a pilot outreach program to reduce vehicle idling at area schools and the Colorado Convention Center.
• Pilot project implemented in Environmental Health to save energy and paper by reducing personal printers by 30% with a  targeted 25% City-wide reduction for 2009
General Services:
• Installed Photovoltaic Solar Power system at the Colorado Convention Center
• Switched to Green Seal certified cleaning products at the Colorado Convention Center
• Developed and promoted “green” (environmentally preferable) purchasing guidelines for City agencies.
• Conserved water by replacing inefficient toilets and urinals in multiple City facilities
• Installed xeriscaping bluegrass areas at the Lowry Child Care Center and Colorado Convention Center
o At the CCC, the grass conversion was estimated to save 500,000 gallons of water per year
o Toilets were also replaced saving 1.5 gallons per flush and the urinals save 2.5 gallons per flush.
• Implemented Single stream recycling and composting at multiple venues:
o The Denver Coliseum diverted almost 100 tons from the landfill (37% of total waste – 21% composted, and 16% recycled)
o The Colorado Convention Center diverted 331 tons of waste from the landfill (28% of total waste –  11% composted, 17% recycled)
o Red Rocks Amphitheatre diverted 165 tons from the landfill (78% of total waste – 17% composted, 61% recycled)
Mayor’s Office (including Greenprint Denver):
• Best Workplaces for Commuters – Environmental Health, Career Service Authority and Greenprint led the effort to get the City & County of Denver registered as a Best Workplace for Commuters, which requires least 15 percent of employees to take alternative transportation.
• Launched the City Employee Bike Sharing Program B-Cycle in 2008.
• Formed the Neighborhood Weatherization Collaborative to provide Denver residents with services to save money on their utility bills through reductions in energy and water use
• Denver received a Solar America City award from the U.S. Department of Energy to promote increased use of solar technologies in the governmental, commercial and residential sectors
Denver Zoo:
• Creating a 10-acre redevelopment dedicated to elephant and rhino conservation, with a gasification power plant, that will create energy from the campus waste stream. Denver Zoo’s landfill contributions will be reduced by 1.5 million pounds per year, putting the zoo a giant step closer to becoming a “zero-waste” facility.
• Gold Member of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Environmental Leadership Program, which exemplifies outstanding commitment to environmentally-friendly business practices.
•  Denver Zoo is hiring a new permanent Green Coordinator dedicated to the coordination and management of the zoo’s environmental practices.
• Denver Zoo has implemented several water conservation projects over the last 10 years including xeriscaping, renovations to the water filtration systems at Sea Lions and Polar Bears, construction of a water quality wetland and recirculation system at the Flamingo Pond and installation of circulation and filtration system at the Northern Shores Duck Ponds. These projects, as well as operational changes have reduced overall annual water usage from approximately 320 million gallons in 1999 to approximately 150 million gallons in 2007. Beginning in 2003, Denver Zoo started adding new water lines which incorporate reuse water for horticulture and exhibit maintenance. As exhibits are revitalized, the zoo will implement more of Denver Water’s “purple” re-use lines.
• Denver Zoo monitors the amount and types of waste generated through our everyday operations to devise ways to reduce our waste stream and promote recycling efforts to both zoo staff and visitors. In June 2008, Denver Zoo hosted its first zero-waste event at the annual Do at the Zoo, using only recyclable and compostable utensils and service ware. In addition, Denver Zoo utilizes compostable utensils and service ware at our restaurants and encourages guest recycling on a daily basis.
• With support from City & County of Denver SEED grant through Environmental Health, a Procurement Database and software system is being designed to provide a method to make sustainable and socially-responsible decisions about all of the zoo’s purchases and the companies that the zoo supports to help make informed decisions that help minimize our negative effects on the environment, including carbon emissions.
• Denver Zoo provides an Eco Pass as a benefit to all regular full and part-time employees, promoting an ecologically-sound option for commuting through RTD public transit. The zoo also implemented a Transportation Logging Database to track the usage of the Eco Pass to provide metrics for our emissions reductions and to continually help improve alternative transportation usage.
• Denver Zoo is encouraging the public to recycle their e-waste, and partners with Luminous Recycling to collect members’ used electronics for free! More than 8,657 pounds of recyclable electronics were collected from members and guests in 2008.
• Denver Zoo consistently informs the public on grounds and through education outreach programs about environmentally-friendly acts they can perform at home to help protect planet earth and all of its inhabitants.

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City and County of Denver
Environmental Health
Meghan Hughes
O. 720-865-5429
Mayor’s Office
Sabrina D’Agosta
O. 720-865-9013
Denver Zoo
Tiffany Barnhart
O. 303-376-4844