What we do
The mission of the Colorado Climate Network is to support efforts by local governments and allied organizations in Colorado to reduce heat-trapping gases and to adapt to climate change – whether those efforts are styled as climate, sustainability, energy, or adaptation programs. Launched by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and local community partners in May 2009, the Network helps its members develop and implement those programs, learn of funding and other resources, and interact more productively with other local and state programs in Colorado. For more information about the Colorado Climate Network and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO), click on our About Us page.
Among the Network's services to its members are two priorities that local programs find particularly valuable:
State Policies: The Network Steering Committee establishes a State Policies Agenda to focus efforts on which state policy actions are of most signficance to the success of local programs and Network members. RMCO tracks and reports on actions by the state legislature, the Hickenlooper Administration, and state agencies related to those policies. Click on the CCN Programs page for more information, including the Legislative Wrap-up of the 2013 Session of the General Assembly.
- Annual conference and periodic workshops: Covering a wide range of climate-related issues, these conferences enable Network members to examine topics, learn new skills, and connect with colleagues, subject matter experts, and agency policy leaders at the local, state, and national levels. See our Programs webpages.
Fourth Annual Conference of the Colorado Climate Network
Local Emissions Reductions - Retooling for the Future
Thursday, December 12, 2013, 8:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.Colorado communities can point with pride to the progress they have made in reducing heat-trapping pollutants. Yet recent emissions inventories updates are telling us that the state and most local governments are not yet on emission reduction trajectories that will meet short and long term goals. The Colorado Climate Network’s fourth annual conference focused on new and emerging strategies that enable local governments to rethink and reframe emissions reduction approaches. Conference sessions included:
Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO
- State and local actions that are helping set the backdrop for future emissions reductions - new state rules to restrict methane emissions from oil and gas operations, plus what state and local emissions inventory updates are telling us.
- Breakout workshops on local programs that are breaking new ground in emissions reductions.
- Choosing midcourse corrections through effective program evaluation.
- Examining new and emerging approaches – net-zero communities, carbon neutrality, and more.
- Next steps forward for local governments to collaborate with each other and the state to promote successful local actions.
The Colorado Climate Network is grateful to those without whose assistance the conference would not have been possible. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science generously provided conference facilities and refreshments. Conference sponsors included the Colorado Municipal League, the Department of Environmental Health, City and County of Denver, and Stratus Consulting. Brendle Group was a conference contributor.
See complete agenda, conference proceedings, and presentations here.
Check out the latest grants listed on our grants page. New postings include Economic Development Assistance Program grants for environmental sustainability, Federal Transit Authority low or no emission transit buses grants, and Georgetown University Energy Prize.
New webinars and other events are also listed on our calendar.
New RMCO Report: More Extreme Heat in Fort Collins. RMCO and the City of Fort Collins released in early February a RMCO report documenting increases in hot days and heat waves in Fort Collins since 1961. Annual rates of 95 degree days and of three straight days of 90 degrees or hotter, for example, have tripled so far this century, compared to 1961-1999 rates. New climate projections prepared for the report also show large increases in these frequencies in the future, especially if future levels of heat-trapping pollution grows at about the current rate. With that medium-high level of future emissions, these 90-degree heat waves could occur five times as often as the historic rate by mid-century, and nine times as often by the end of the century. See more information here.
Colorado Energy Office Announces Energy Savings Mortgage Program. The program was developed out of House Bill 13-1105, legislation that was signed into law, in June of 2013, by Governor Hickenlooper. The incentive provides a loan benefit for Colorado homebuyers/homeowners who purchase highly efficient new homes or retrofit existing homes at point of purchase (or refinance). The loan benefit is based on a tiered rebate scale where homeowners can receive up to $8,000 for a new home and $6,000 for an existing home. Loan details and incentive amounts will be assessed by the lender directly (after confirmation from the CEO); to ensure that all lending guidelines are followed. The benefit will be reimbursed by the CEO for the portion of the incentive outside of the non-state contribution. For program detail please click here.
EPA releases a new climate and energy strategy guide for local governments, titled Green Power Procurement: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs (pdf). This guide provides comprehensive information for local government staff and policy makers on how to implement a range of heat-trapping gases reduction strategies, and includes case studies and examples from communities across the United States and also lLinks to technical resources, analytical tools, and sources of funding. Thes guide is part of EPA’s Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series.
Cities Almost Double Climate Actions, Bloomberg Sustainability, February 3, 2014. The world’s 63 biggest cities have almost doubled the activities they undertake to reduce climate change since 2011, according to a report from the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. C40 is a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are no C40 cities in Colorado.
- New Webcasts:
National Association of Counties Webinar, Green Technology: How Tech Enables Counties to Invest in Renewables, February 27, 12:00-1:15 PM (MST). Technology is allowing counties to more efficiently develop renewable energy programs--from siting new wind energy facilities, to creating energy from once unused sources (including converting post-recycled solid waste into electricity), to ensuring reliable and secure transmission of energy via smart grids. Register here.
- Additional Reports and Resources
Powering Up Colorado: Economic Strength with Energy Efficiency, November 13, 2013, Carbondale, CO Sponsored by Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) and others, this conference featured national, state, and regional leaders discussing how your communities, the region, and entire state can fully tap the potential of energy efficiency and clean energy for a strong economy. Presentations now available on the CLEER website.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) report ranks U.S. cities' efforts to save energy, September 16, 2013. Ranking 11th among 34 large cities nationwide was the City and County of Denver, the only Colorado city rated. The 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard is the first to rank cities exclusively on energy efficiency efforts, focusing on five key areas: buildings; transportation; energy and water utility efforts; local government operations; and community-wide initiatives. It includes recommendations and strategies for all cities to lower energy use. ACEEE also launched a new interactive infographic accompanying the report that highlights each city's best practices and scores.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Georgetown University announce the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a competition to encourage innovative, replicable, and scalable approaches to reducing energy use in communities across the U.S. Beginning in February 2014, municipalities will be eligible to compete for the prize by reducing their energy use. Participating communities must develop a long-term energy efficiency plan and demonstrate initial effectiveness and sustainability during a two-year period. Participating communities will benefit from access to financial and technical resources and the winning community will receive $5 million provided by private sponsors, which will help to support their continuing community-based energy efficiency efforts. Interested communities are encouraged to submit a non-binding letter of intent as soon as possible.
EPA releases Smart Location Database version 2.0. EPA’s Smart Growth Program intends for the database to be a consistent nationwide GIS data resource for measuring location efficiency. It may be appropriate for use in local and regional planning studies when local data is unavailable. The database includes over 90 variables characterizing the built environment, transit service, destination accessibility, employment, and demographics at the census block group scale. Users can download data for their selected region, view data online in an interactive map, or access data through a variety of web services.
Drivers Can Compare Gasoline and Electric Fuel Prices with eGallon. DOE has launched eGallon—a way for consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles versus driving on gasoline. The current national average eGallon price is about $1.14, meaning that a typical electric vehicle could travel as far on $1.14 worth of electricity as a similar vehicle could travel on a gallon of gasoline. On the site, consumers can see the latest eGallon price for their state and compare it to the price of gasoline. Over time, consumers will notice that the eGallon price will be far more stable and predictable than gasoline prices. That’s because the eGallon price depends on electricity prices, which historically are very stable; gasoline prices depend on the unstable global oil market.
DOE Launches New Database on Residential and Commercial Building Energy Performance, June 17, 2013. The Energy Department today launched a new Buildings Performance Database, the largest free, publicly available database of residential and commercial building energy performance information. Currently, commercial and residential buildings account for approximately 70% of the electricity consumption in the nation. This database will allow users to access energy performance data and perform statistical analyses on more than 60,000 commercial and residential buildings across the country. The data can also be used to compare performance trends among similar buildings, identify and prioritize cost-saving energy efficiency improvements, and assess the range of likely savings from these improvements.
New EPA Report: How We Build Cities and Towns Impacts Public Health and the Environment. As part of the fourth anniversary of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities, EPA released its most comprehensive review to date on how the built environment – the way we build our cities and towns – directly affects our environment and public health. The publication, Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, provides evidence that certain kinds of land use and transportation strategies can reduce the environmental and human health impacts of development.
Sharing Success: Emerging Approaches to Efficient Rooftop Solar Permitting. This Interstate Renewable Energy Council report serves as both a prompt for discussing permitting challenges, and as a source of inspiration for communities looking for realistic and effective ways to improve solar permitting while ensuring safe solar installations.
DOE Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program Technical Assistance Program (TAP) resources:
Financing Energy Upgrades for K-12 School Districts. DOE and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released this guide to tapping into funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement in schools.
Commercial PACE Materials. In March, DOE published a set of resources to support the design and implementation of commercial property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs, including an updated Guide to Commercial PACE Financing with a sample application package, and new templates for marketing commercial PACE programs.
Guide to Community Energy Strategic Planning. DOE's Guide to Community Energy Strategic Planning outlines a step-by-step process for creating a robust strategic energy plan for local governments that can help save money, create local jobs, and improve national security.