Sustainable Living in Denver

Denver is the most heavily populated city in the state of Colorado. With nearby mountain elevations and plenty of natural beauty, the city is a favorite location for urban residents who seek to be surrounded by nature. The city has been fortunate to have not faced any major environmental disasters. In addition, moderate air pollution is one of the only environmental issues the city faces. While Denver does not have a major pollution problem, the city has several programs and initiatives to encourage sustainable living.

Denver is one of the leading cities in the country to encourage composting. Denver provides free classes to teach residents how to compost using worms or composing piles. The city offers a fee-based program where participants can receive a 65-gallon trash can-like cart to store leaves, food, and other compostable materials. The city then collects the materials and uses it for a city composting pile. Those interested in doing their own home composting can even become master composters, receiving free training from the city and in turn assisting the city with composting.

Denver also has an extensive bike program to encourage residents to use bikes for transportation in the city. Denver has services to allow residents to rent bikes for a small fee. In addition, there are bike-n-ride programs and bike lockers throughout the city. Residents can also register their bikes so that if the bikes are stolen, it is easier to recover them.

Residents can also use sustainability practices to commute through the use of Denver’s public transportation system. The city has both bus and light rail service, with access to most areas of the city and surrounding neighborhoods. There is also an Access-a-Ride program for individuals with disabilities who cannot otherwise get to a bus stop.

Homeowners who meet income guidelines can also take advantage of energy efficiency upgrade programs from the city. Qualified households can receive up to 20 CFL bulbs installed in their home, free low-flow faucet and shower aerators, a low flow toilet, and a programmable thermostat. In addition, the city can provide free attic insulation assessments and free attic insulation to houses that qualify.

One group is attempting to change unsustainable living practices in major cities by creating a model program in Denver, Colorado. This program, titled Living City Block, aims at changing the way individuals live in the city, one block at a time. This six year transition began with changing how energy is used and will end in 2016 with two net-zero buildings, a zero waste neighborhood, and urban agriculture.

In the current stage of the project, the group is helping to transform the houses and corporate buildings into energy efficient buildings. Through the use of renewable resources such as solar and wind power, the group has already reduced the overall energy consumption in the project area. The group has also upgraded lighting and mechanical systems, installed high-efficiency windows, and added insulation to history buildings. By mid 2012, the group hopes to cut the energy level by half, and in a couple years the group aims to have the city block producing more energy than it consumes.

Future additions to the community include rooftop gardens shaded by solar panels and ground heating and cooling. The group also hopes to install permeable sidewalks to allow rainwater to soak into the sidewalk and ground below instead of running off into the storm drains. The community will also have access to public transportation and farmer’s markets while also making easy for residents to walk to get to many local destinations.

The city of Denver is generally known for being a clean and safe place to live and work. With new composting and energy initiatives, the city is also becoming a place where residents can easily live a sustainable lifestyle.

Companies interested in opening new office suites in Denver Colorado and Greenwood Village will find a range of ways to contribute to green initiatives and eco friendly office programs to help lower their carbon footprint.