A Green Denver Top 10
With its abundant fresh air, crystal clear blue skies and wide variety of natural wonders, it’s no wonder that Denver takes being “green” seriously. Here's a quick look at some of the innovative ways that the Mile High City is setting new standards as an environmentally friendly metropolis.
1. Hybrid Taxis
Their color-scheme is white, but chances are good when you hail a cab in the Mile High City, it’s likely to be a “green” taxi. In 2007, Metro Taxi, Inc., the Denver area’s largest taxi service, has 40 eco-friendly hybrid-electric Toyota Prius' (pictured right) in its fleet and plans to convert the entire fleet by 2010. In 2008, the Yellow Cab taxi company also introduced 20 hybrids to its fleet.
2. Denver Loves the Outdoors
The Mile High City is home to the largest city park system in the nation, with over 200 parks in the city and an additional 14,000 acres of spectacular mountain parks. When you’re here in Denver, you can get to dozens of attractions on foot, thanks to 850 miles of off-road paved trails. Add in several pedestrian malls, including the famed 16th Street Mall, and it’s clear that the city is the very definition of “walkable.”
3. The Green Fleet
In the early ’90s, Denver created the first “Green Fleet” program in the nation by purchasing alternative fuel vehicles for city use. Today, the city’s Green Fleet remains one of the largest in the country. More than 43 percent of the fleet is powered by alternatives, including 138 hybrid electric vehicles, as well as vehicles fueled by propane, compressed natural gas and biodiesel. And that’s just the beginning – the Green Fleet grows with each passing year.
4. The Greenest Democratic National Convention of All Time
An estimated 50,000 Democrats and members of the media flocked to the Mile High City in August 2008 for the Democratic National Convention. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper vowed that Denver would host the greenest political convention in America’s history and all indications are that the city succeeded. There were 10 Greening Task Teams in place to ensure the use of renewable energy, reduce waste and maximize recycling, provide green transportation options, manage and mitigate all carbon emissions and use green building and design practices, in addition to a host of other eco-friendly activities. Some of the greening efforts included: eco-friendly wooden key cards; the use of gobo’s vs. vinyl banners in delegate hotels; recycled delegate bags, lanyards, and water bottles; DVD and voicemail welcome messages vs. welcome letters to the delegates; newspaper kiosks vs. individual room deliveries; Zero Heroes at all waste stations to separate recycled, compostable and trash; and the use of a green merchandise. In addition, on the eve of the Convention, Denverites enjoyed Green Frontier Fest, a celebration of everyday positive choices that individuals, families and organizations can make now to address global challenges.
5. Mayor John Hickenlooper’s GreenPrint Denver Initiative
Making an entire city Green takes a lot of work, and much of it is behind-the-scenes and technical. So it was with great vision that the Mayor created Greenprint Denver, a comprehensive program that focuses on energy management and energy efficiency goals, and addresses specific goals for cleaner water, air, and land. From utilities and transportation to parks and LEED-certified city buildings, Greenprint Denver offers a comprehensive and measurable plan of action that few cities can match. Get more info at www.greenprintdenver.org.
6. An Eco-Friendly Airport
It may be one of the largest and busiest airports in the country, but the Denver International Airport is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint. The airport in the process of replacing its computer and flight monitors with energy-efficient LCD screens that require less heat and thus less energy for cooling. In 2004, DIA became the first commercial airport in the country to attain ISO 14001 certification for its Environmental Management System, which encompasses all activities within the 34,000-acre site. Furthermore, DIA recycles more than 19 materials on a regular basis as part of standard airport operations. Finally, the DIA fleet is 100% alternative and includes vehicles powered by compressed natural gas, hybrid technology and biodiesel. In 2008, DIA completed it’s two megawatt solar power system that will generate over three million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually.
7. The Mile High Million
When you hear that Denver is going green, you can take that literally: in 2006, Mayor John Hickenlooper announced an ambitious tree planting program, with a goal of adding one million new trees in the metropolitan Denver area by the year 2025. Since then, the city’s tree canopy has increased by more than 74,000 trees, reducing Denver’s greenhouse gases, providing natural cooling and adding considerable beauty to the Mile High area. Denver is well on its way to a million new trees!
8. Green Attractions
From global warming and renewable energy to environmental cleanup, Denver is emerging as one of the premier places in the nation for a “green” learning vacation. Denver offers two national research centers that have tours and exhibits about the Earth’s climate and renewable energy, and a world-class museum of nature and science. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (www.eo.ucar.edu/visit), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (www.nrel.gov/overview) and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (www.dmns.org) all offer fascinating and educational tours and exhibits that highlight the prominent role Mother Nature plays in Denver.
9. Denver Recycles
Denver Recycles is one of the city's most successful environmental programs. In 2007, city workers collected more than 26,000 tons of recyclable materials, which generate an average of $800,000 in annual revenue. Since the launch of the program in 2005, recycling tonnage has increased by 18 percent.
10. A Greener Arena
In March of 2008, the Pepsi Center, the home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche (not to mention a regular series of blockbuster concert events), announced that it would be the first the arena in the United States to go 100 percent green. Plans are afoot for the 19,000-seat arena, which was the main site of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, to operate entirely on renewable wind and solar energy. The switchover will also include new recycling bins, a hybrid vehicle-only parking area and a “no idling zone” outside the arena.
Want to make your trip to Denver as eco-friendly as possible? Use the Denver Travel CO2e Emissions Calculation Tool, an easy-to-use online tool that calculates Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Equivalent (e) emissions that result from your vacation in Denver.
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