Sustainability Initiative

Welcome! We’re helping to Sustain Golden’s future. Thank you for joining us.

Golden Sustainability Goals

Golden Sustainability Goals

Energy

  • Renewables: To achieve 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2030 and 100% renewable for heating by 2050. To align Greenhouse Gas Emission reductions with the Paris Accord by 2050.
  • Efficiency: To reduce consumption of electricity by 15% by 2030 and reduce consumption of natural gas by 15% by 2030.
  • Transportation: To achieve 20% fossil fuel-free transportation sector by 2030 and 100% fossil fuel-free transportation sector by 2050.

Waste

  • To reduce total landfill contribution by 40% by 2030.
  • Recycle 80% of recyclables by 2030.
  • Compost 80% of compostables by 2030.
  • Reduce total trash by 20% by 2030.
  • Strive for zero waste in municipal operations by 2030.

Water

  • Responsible Use: To reduce per capita total water use in Golden by at least 15% by 2030.
  • Drought Planning: To develop a resiliency plan by 2020 to prepare for a time where Golden’s and Colorado’s climate may be substantially warmer and drier than it is today.
  • Resource Recovery: To develop and implement a plan by 2020 where Golden’s surplus water is used effectively not only to manage the cost of water and sewer services, but to enhance the environment in Golden and elsewhere in our watershed. Additionally, to recover resources from the City’s wastewater by 2030.

FAQ’s

Thank you for your comments and feedback on our goals. The Community Sustainability Advisory Board and City Council have reviewed all survey responses, email comments and suggestions.  Please see the FAQ section below for answers to the thoughtful questions presented throughout the process. Stay tuned to this page for more FAQ’s and answers as we continue to receive feedback.

How can citizens track progress against goals easily (e.g. through a website) and get info on programs and what they can do? CSAB is working to create “sustainability dashboards” that will be posted to the City website. With the dashboards, citizens will be able to track progress on the goals. The Sustainability Department also posts frequent updates on the City Website and social media channels. Visit the Outreach and Education page for a list of ways you can connect with Golden Sustainability. Also, sign up for the Sustainability Email List to receive email updates on ways to share ideas, participate in projects, and contribute your knowledge to Golden’s Sustainability Initiative.

Are the goals intended for City of Golden facilities, or do they extend to the community as a whole? The goals also apply to City facilities and in some instances, have higher targets to achieve than the community goals. In the past, City Council adopted the LEED standard for new city buildings and the Community Sustainability Advisory Board recommended that the City demonstrate its commitment to the goals through transparency in adhering to the goals.

Is transitioning from natural gas for heating the most efficient thing to do with current technologies? The basic concept of transitioning away from natural gas is that solar power is renewable and conversion from natural gas appliances to electric appliances can help us achieve our 100% renewable energy goals and avoid the greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas.

How do you plan to reach out to other industries, Coors, and resources at NREL? The City communicates often with our neighbors and often has joint projects through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NREL, the Department of Energy, and the Colorado School of Mines. NREL offers technical assistance grants and MillerCoors participates in community sustainability projects each year. As an aside, the majority of MillerCoors’ buildings (except for only the North Office building) is outside the city limits and is not subject to the City’s sustainability goals.

Will building codes be improved to create better-insulated houses? Since 2007, the City has periodically updated the zoning and building codes each year to include best practices in sustainability and energy efficiency. The City adopts new versions of the International Building Codes every three years, as they are published by the International Code Council. Insulation and energy efficiency have increased significantly in these codes over the past ten years. New construction is highly efficient because of this, and the real challenge is improving existing, older houses in Golden.

What about adding more Super Charging EV stations? The City partners with other entities to bring Level 3 (480volt) charging stations to Golden, but currently the estimated $40,000 price tag and monthly energy costs are fairly steep, even with current grants. Like the affordable Level 2 chargers, which are more common, the superchargers will come down in price over time and we will continue to look for the best locations and optimal pricing for installation.

Are these goals for the City, residents, or both? These are goals for the entire Golden community; residents, businesses, and the City organization.

Will the energy cost of renewables be affordable to residents? At the utility scale within the past year, the market has already seen some favorability of renewables over traditional coal power. At home, the current return on investment or payoff period for solar is about 7 years. Prices for owning solar systems have come down 60% in the past ten years and is affordable even without any rebates or incentives.

In terms of space and resources, how will this be accomplished and is it feasible? A diversified approach will be necessary to achieve the energy goals. Our community’s utility, Xcel Energy, will need greater commitment to supply renewable electricity.

Sustainability Open House

With over 150 attendees, an effective and engaging Community Conversation event was held on September 17th. Thank you to those who attended and provided comments and feedback on our goals. Your participation allowed the Community Sustainability Advisory Board to capture valuable input and ideas about the future of sustainability in Golden. For a recap of the event, download the Sustainability Conversation Slideshowpdf download

Sustainability in Golden

Golden City Council and the Golden community made sustainability its top priority starting in 2007. As part of that endeavor, citizens were asked to engage in a broader community-wide effort to establish and implement sustainability goals through several Community Working Groups. The community working groups began meeting to study each of the goal areas in March 2007 and, in July 2007, made recommendations for consideration by City Council. A final evaluation report was produced by Natural Capitalism Solutions, an independent outside third party.

On Aug. 23, 2007, Golden City Council formally adopted the working groups’ revised sustainability goals with Resolution No. 1793 pdf download and later updated in 2014 through Resolution No. 2330 pdf download. The Community Sustainability Advisory Board was created in 2008 by Ordinance 1789 pdf download  and is assisted by the city’s sustainability manager.

Get Involved

Golden Sustainability Email ListPassionate about sustainability? Sign up for our mailing list, to receive email updates on ways to share ideas, participate in projects, and contribute your knowledge to Golden’s Sustainability Initiative.

Colorado Sustainability Legislative Bills

Bill                 Title                                                                            Status

2019

HB19-1159 – Concerning Modifications to the Income Tax Credits for Innovative Motor Vehicles – Passed
HB19-1003 – Expanding the Size and Allowable Locations of Community Solar Gardens – Passed
HB19-1037 – Colorado Energy Impact Assistance Act – Lost
HB19-1050 – Encourage Use Of Xeriscape In Common Areas – Passed into Law
HB19-1143 – Distribute Plastic Straws Only Upon Request – Lost
HB19-1165 – On-site Wind Turbine Manufacturing Property Tax Exemption – Lost
HB 19-1198 – Strengthening the EV infrastructure grants program administered by the Colorado Energy Office – Passed
HB19-1260 – Requiring local governments to adopt up-to-date versions of the International Energy Conservation Code – Passed
HB19-1231 – New Appliance Energy And Water Efficiency Standards – Passed
HB19-1261 – Big Climate Bill, sets state emissions reduction targets reductions – Passed
HB19-1272 – Enabling public housing authorities to participate in the state commercial PACE program – Passed
HB19-1314 – Setting up programs to assist in the transition of coal-impacted communities – Passed

SB19-034 – Local Government Recycling Standards For Food Containers – Lost
SB19-053 – California Motor Vehicle Emission Standards – Lost
SB 19-077 – Utility Financing of EV Charging Infrastructure – Passed
SB19-096 – Collect Long-term Climate Change Data – Passed
SB19-192  –  Front Range Waste Diversion Enterprise Grant Program – Passed
SB19-243 –  Prohibit Food Establishments’ Use Of Polystyrene – Lost
SB19-198  – Continued Management Of Waste Tires – Passed
SB19-181, – Overhauling the regulation of the oil and gas industry, including adoption of regulations to control escape of the powerful heat-trapping gas methane -Passed
SB19-236 – PUC sunset review, expanding and strengthening the agency’s oversight authority – Passed

2018
HB18-1054 – Affordable Housing Plastic Shopping Bag Tax  – Lost, not approved
HB18-1069 – Reclaimed Water Use for Toilet Flushing  – Approved and signed into law
SB18-003 – Colorado Energy Office – Approved and signed into law
SB18-045 – Repeal Architectural Paint Stewardship Act – Lost, not approved
SB18-047 – Repeal Tax Credits Innovative Vehicles – Lost, not approved
SB18-064 – Require 100% Renewable Energy by 2035 – Lost, not approved
SJM18-002 – Eliminate Energy Subsidies – Lost, not approved

The Golden Sustainability Initiative Progress Reports & Work Plans

Golden periodically issues progress reports and annual work plans by the Board. The 2013 progress report pdf download and 2015 Work Plan pdf download outline progress toward the city and community goals.

A few interesting facts about achievements to date include:

  • More than 2,000 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic panels have been installed on Golden homes and businesses since 2008. Put together, a system this size would cover more than 10 acres.
  • Since 2009, more than 500 pounds of pharmaceuticals have been collected and diverted away from our landfills and groundwater.
  • More than 3,400 Golden households use the Pay-As-You-Throw waste, recycling, and compost service.  The highest monthly diversion rate achieved by the households in this program was 48% in November 2015.

Sustainability Strategic Plan

City of GoldenIn Golden, as across the U.S. and other nations, we are faced with impacts as a result of population growth, resource consumption, and energy needs. Golden is also affected by regional impacts such as the economy, the structuring of local tax revenues, and competing needs for resources by adjacent communities.

Balancing these factors, the Community Sustainability Advisory Board has adopted the definition of sustainability as “living or acting in a manner that balances improving our quality of life, a healthy vibrant community, and mindful stewardship of the natural resources and environment while protecting the ability of future generations to do the same.” With this in mind, the Board recognizes that sustainability efforts are not an end goal, but endeavors to continually strive toward improvement.

In late 2010, the Community Sustainability Advisory Board prioritized a list of sustainability policies and projects that the Board will work toward over the next few years. You may read the current Sustainability Strategic Plan pdf download or previous, 2013 City of Golden Sustainability Strategic Plan pdf download and learn more about Golden’s plans for a greener future.

Additional Resources

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory & Sustainable Energy Benchmarking and Actions Plan pdf download is a CU-Denver Report that measures the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the City’s baseline year, 2007, and provides recommendations on reducing GHG and meeting the City’s sustainability goals. The Report was made possible through a Colorado Municipal League grant in partnership with Walmart.

COG Mesa

 Golden has 402 acres of open space
and maintains 253 acres of parks right within the city itself.

Additional Resources

City of Golden, Colorado
COG Mesa