Buildings in Denver emit a large percentage of our city's pollution (57). Help us push the city in lowering its building emissions. If you own your home, there are several things you can do to clean up your neighborhood's air as well.
Believe it or not, our buildings in Denver emit a lot of pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions in the city are higher from buildings than from cars (57). As a renter or just a concerned citizen, your impact can be great. If Denver could lower its building emissions, our brown cloud would greatly improve. Right now, the Denver Climate Action Task Force is a citywide committee working on electrifying heating and improving insulation codes for all Denver buildings. We strongly support this move and adoption of a green building code citywide. You can read more about it and sign up to have your voice heard here.
If you are interested in seeing a particular buildings score, Denver is now measuring each large building's Energy Star or efficiency score on their interactive Energize Denver Map. Check out the building you live in or your favorite building downtown to see how well it is doing and encourage your landlord or building owner to improve the building's performance. Higher ratings equal lower air pollution in Denver.
Just like we need to electrify our buildings to clean our city's air, you as a homeowner can clean your neighborhood's air as well. One of our partners, Electrify Now has a great description of how to do this in your home. Electricity in Denver and Colorado is over a third renewable now and will eventually be generated 100% from renewables (42). Over time, we will have pollution free heating, cooling and cooking in our homes.
Gas water heaters vent their exhaust into your neighborhood's air. With an electric water heater, heating your hot water with electricity creates no local pollution. We support a citywide transition to electric hot water heaters.
Most of our homes and buildings are heated still with fossil fuels. If you are able to, converting to a heat pump is a way to get your home off of fossil fuel use for heating your house. We at DeSmog Denver advocate for a citywide transition to heat pumps for home heating as technology of these devices advances. See the Department of Energy's description of heat pumps here.
Just improving efficiency of our homes can greatly reduce the emissions coming out of our heating devices. And insulating more effectively will save you money over time. If you are remodeling an older home or are building a home, visit the US Department of Energy's section on home insulation here.
For those building a home, a passive home or Zero Energy Ready home is another idea. These ultra efficient homes are built to greatly reduce any heating or cooling costs. See the Department of Energy's website on zero energy homes here.
Solar panels help lower the need for electricity generated by fossil fuels at surrounding power plants (there are gas fired power plants surrounding the city). Solar panels can lower your electricity cost and help clean our cities' air by using less of this fossil fuel generated electricity. Passive solar to heat water is an old technology that uses the plentiful sun we have here in Denver to heat your houses' water. See the US Energy Department's solar water heater guide here.
A great site to visit for more information and research on electrifying your home is Electrify Now. Visit them at electrifynow.net.