Since I was elected to Denver City Council in 2011, I’ve expanded access to open spaces in the City and advanced policies to promote energy efficiency. The natural beauty of our region is at the heart of what we love about Denver, and just because our federal government has turned its back on climate change doesn’t mean we can’t be bold and make an impact in Denver.
As our city grows and changes, it’s important to maintain and sustain open space, parks, community gardens, and places to experience the outdoors for all communities. I’ve been a strong voice for open space investments in major redevelopment areas, and I led the effort to fulfill the community’s vision of transforming a blighted area in Globeville into the Platte Farm Open Space for residents to safely enjoy. The vision will become a reality in 2019. I’ve supported increased funding for parks in past budgets, but I also believe the time has come to move the city toward the dedication of specific funding to acquire land and build more parks and open space, to ensure we can keep pace sustainably into the future.
As a way to reduce our use of landfills, I have been a leading advocate for city-wide curbside composting, which is now available in every neighborhood. The next step is to ensure composting is available free to every household, along with incentives to recycle/compost that reduce the high volume of material going to the landfill that could have been diverted.
Climate and Energize Denver:
I participated in the creation of the Energize Denver ordinance, which requires large commercial and multifamily building owners to measure and publicly report their building’s energy performance. 85% of buildings over 50,000 square feet complied in the first year. Just the act of measuring and reporting energy usage results in owners taking steps to improve building energy efficiency. As the largest source of emissions within the City of Denver, improving building efficiency will help protect Denver’s quality of life and strengthen our economy. This is the first step to understanding and reducing energy consumption. The next step is ensuring that buildings with low scores are working to improve them.
Denver also must lead by example and accelerate the energy efficiency upgrades of our own building stock, utilizing unique financing that helps us pay back improvements over time through the savings of lower energy bills.
Lastly, it is time to set a concrete deadline and engage in strong negotiations with our utility partners for transforming the sources of energy in Denver to 100% renewables. Scientific evidence strongly points to 2030 as the right benchmark to aim for in terms of the climate. We need to confirm the path to achieving that goal and either commit to it or make the necessary adjustments.