Local Government Leading: City of Denver

This installment of the Local Government Leading blog series highlights the City of Denver, Colorado.

In addition to being a Better Buildings Challenge partner, Denver was recently selected as a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge. Denver was selected because of its innovative and ambitious 80x50 Climate Action Plan. The plan provides a framework and set of actions to meet a long-term climate goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.

As a winner of the Climate Challenge, Denver will receive technical assistance valued at up to $2.5 million. The city will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ acceleration program to achieve the following by 2020:

  • Transform the EV market through an education and test-drive campaign;
  • Create utility incentives to encourage investment in EV charging infrastructure;
  • Further reduce emissions from transportation sector and improve high-frequency transit lines, add 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. 


These actions complement and enhance the goals for building efficiency and transportation Denver released in July 2018 as a part of its 80x50 Climate Action Plan:

  • Reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings by 10% by 2020 and 50% by 2050;
  • Reduce energy consumption in residential single-family homes by 10% by 2025 and 20% by 2035;
  • Reach 100% electric vehicles for light duty vehicles, taxis, and transportation network vehicles by 2050;
  • Achieve 75% of freight trucks running on carbon neutral fuel and 100% of public transportation powered carbon-free by 2050.


Through a separate, voluntary commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge, the City of Denver also set a goal of a 20% energy use reduction across its 6.6 million square foot portfolio by 2020. Since 2011, Denver has improved energy performance by 10%. The city achieved this by implementing various capital improvements and retro-commissioning in numerous properties including five of Denver’s largest energy-using facilities.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment’s Environmental Quality Division is also administering a Home Energy Score pilot for single-family homes within the City and County of Denver. The pilot empowers residents to be better informed about their energy consumption and allows the city to explore how sharing a Home Energy Score can drive awareness of energy performance and energy and cost savings for recent homeowners and prospective home buyers and sellers.

Through innovative programs and ambitious goal-setting, the City of Denver continues to establish itself as a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency as it secures a healthier environment and economy for its citizens.

Be sure to check out our previous Local Government Leading installments featuring the City of SeattleDistrict of ColumbiaCity of PhiladelphiaCity of Los AngelesCity of BostonCity of San DiegoCity of Pittsburgh, City of Chicago and City of Atlanta.