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  • Ecosystems
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  • Climate Commitment
  • Climate + Sustainability

Boulder's Climate Programs and Projects

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Ongoing Energy and Climate Efforts

Building Performance An ordinance requiring rating and reporting and energy efficiency measures in commercial and industrial buildings   Intervention at the Colorado PUC At the Public Utilities Commission, the city advocates for solar, efficiency, electric vehicles, battery storage, emissions reduction at power plants and grid modernization.
Boulder Energy Challenge A grant program to foster innovative solutions from the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions EnergySmart A program that provides energy efficiency advising services and rebates to residents and businesses
Boulder Solar Tool An online tool that illustrates the solar potential of buildings and supports investments in solar power; available at Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE): A business sustainability advising service that provides free technical support to Boulder businesses looking to save money and energy
CU Energy Green Teams collaborative program to foster peer-to-peer energy efficiency education in student-heavy neighborhoods SmartRegs A series of ordinances that supports tenant comfort and reduced energy waste by requiring all rental housing to meet a basic energy efficiency standards
Energy Code Energy and sustainability requirements for new construction, additions and renovations, now including requirements for electric vehicle charging capabilities Solar Grants Programs that support Boulder residents, businesses and nonprofits in financing solar power installations at their homes, businesses and facilities


New and Emerging Strategies

Creating Tools to Phase Out In-Home Natural Gas Use

  • Through funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the City of Boulder has partnered with National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) to conduct one of the first neighborhood-scale renewable energy system transition assessments in the U.S.  This groundbreaking analysis will identify optimal pathways for supporting households in adopting solar, electric vehicles, deep efficiency upgrades and conversion of natural gas to renewable heating and cooling systems in ways that minimize impacts on the grid and maximize savings and energy resilience for residents.

  • Boulder is one of the first cities in the country to start developing and implementing a strategy to support residential households in replacing natural gas dependent appliances with high-efficiency electric heat pump alternatives. This initiative has now attracted participation by New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, Burlington and a group of 12 other observer cities who are replicating Boulder’s innovations in similar initiatives in their cities.

  • Comfort365 is a partnership between the City of Boulder and Boulder County’s EnergySmart Program to provide residents with a cleaner, more efficient and more comfortable option to cool and heat their homes​. This program helps residents explore all-electric heat pumps as a heating and cooling option and gives rebates (while funding lasts) to those who make the switch.

Working with Regional Partners to Maximize Solar and Storage

  • As one of the city’s largest energy users, the University of Colorado’s campus energy system significantly influences the city’s energy needs and opportunities.  Working with CU and NREL, the city is helping to identify opportunities for maximizing the installation of additional solar, storage and other renewable technologies in ways that reduce both the carbon emissions and dramatically increase the energy resilience of both the campus and the larger community.

Bolstering Resilience for our Most Vulnerable

  • As the primary provider of housing services to over 3,000 of the city’s lowest income residents, Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) is a critical service provider to some of the community’s most vulnerable residents. Through both city and federal funding, BHP is now installing a leading edge combination of solar plus storage and back- up generation to ensure it can maintain services even if the larger electrical grid outages.

  • Via is the city’s key provider of transportation services for mobility-limited residents. In emergencies, Via supports first responders and other critical logistics. Using DOE funding, the city has supported Via to develop a state-of-the-art energy system integrating solar, battery storage and back-up generation that can sustain operations during disruptions and significantly reduce Via’s carbon emissions and operating costs. The new system is also being designed to support Via’s move to electrify the city’s HOP bus line and other parts of its transportation fleet.

Community Climate Action Partnerships

  • The Just Transition Collaborative: Toward an Equitable Energy Transition for the City of Boulder. This project will build deeper representation of underserved communities and advance equity in climate and energy decisions, communication and planning in the City of Boulder. It will guide Boulder’s Climate Action Plan and implementation to be equitable, inclusive and work to cultivate a socially just green economy. In collaboration with community partners, the project will pilot an inclusive renewable energy and energy efficiency workforce development program. This work will also involve assessing and defining those populations most likely to be impacted by environmental problems and related climate and energy policies


Other Initiatives

Marijuana Facilities Carbon Offset
We’re creating a  local energy impact fund to support local projects and innovations in carbon reduction. All facilities are required to offset 100 percent of their electricity use with renewable energy or approved offsets. The city is writing its first-ever EV strategy to prepare the city for the future of transportation, including autonomous vehicles.
Clean Power Plan Solar Strategy Climate Policy Reform
Boulder is one of a handful of city and state governments that are defending the CPP from attempts to weaken it. Development of a solar 
and storage strategy to create a roadmap to meet local renewable energy generation goals.

The city advocates for climate policy reform independently as well as with partners such as the Colorado Coalition for Climate Action.


What We've Accomplished

*As of Oct. 2018

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions 15.7% below 2005 levels despite population and job growth

  • Achieved SmartRegs compliance in 89% of rental homes and apartments

  • Developed over 22MW of local solar installations

  • Installed capacity to generate 16MW of hydroelectricity at seven hydroelectric facilities throughout the city’s water system

  • Installed 46 public electric vehicle charging stations

  • Reduced energy consumption in city buildings by 47% 

  • Distributed $760,000 in Solar Grants

  • Funded $496,000 in innovation grants through the Boulder Energy Challenge

  • Founded and participates in the Colorado Coalition for Climate Action (CC4CA)  to build momentum for climate policy at the state and federal levels

  • Advised 3,000 and counting businesses  on energy and waste

  • Became a Platinum Solar-Friendly Community

  • Invested more than $13,000,000 in emissions-reducing programs and services since 2012