Denver efficiency project aims for big energy savings

Photo: Carr Judicial Building
The Colorado Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are housed in the Ralph L. Carr Judicial Center in Denver. It's one of 57 buildings enrolled in the Denver City Energy Project.

Denver unveiled a plan on Tuesday to try to save $1.3 billion in energy costs and create 4,000 jobs.

Fifty-seven private and public buildings will be part of the Denver City Energy Project.

City officials hope to eliminate 800,000 metric tons of GHG emission reductions, the equivalent of 73,000 homes energy use for one year. They want to reduce energy use by 20 percent by the end of the decade.

"We must reduce the amount of energy we use in our buildings if we're going to achieve our 2020 sustainability goals and keep up Denver's reputation as a sustainable city and livable community," Mayor Michael Hancock says.

After creating a benchmark of current energy use, property owners receive training on how to boost that performance.

For example, a new computer system to monitor and optimize energy use at 1670 Broadway is expected to save $128,000 a year.

City officials also point to the Brown Palace Hotel as a case study. The hotel has upgraded its heating and cooling systems, made exterior building repairs and increased awareness of energy efficiency practices among its staff.

In the past two years, those changes have led to a 26 percent reduction in electricity costs and a 24 percent drop in natural gas costs.

“As an historic building, energy efficiency is one of our greatest opportunities for improvement,” says Brenna St. Onge, of the Brown Palace. “We have found that energy efficiency is one of the best investments a company can make as it keeps giving back year after year.”

Denver is one of nine major cities to take part in the City Energy Project.