Denver Water goes ‘Gold’ for its work to cut climate impacts

Utility recognized for a decade of work to closely track, and reduce, its emissions.

October 14, 2019 | By: Todd Hartman
The snowy Buffalo Peaks preside over Antero Reservoir in the bountiful winter of 2018-19.
The snowy Buffalo Peaks preside over Antero Reservoir in the bountiful winter of 2018-19. Denver Water depends on strong snowpack and is deeply engaged in efforts to address the impacts of climate change.

 

Denver Water has been formally recognized for its long-running work to track its carbon emissions.

The Climate Registry, a national nonprofit that verifies the work of major companies and governments to track – and reduce – emissions tied to climate change, has elevated Denver Water to “Gold” status for the utility’s 10 consecutive years of work to quantify the emissions related to its activities.

“This is an important recognition and the result of a decade of focused effort by our Sustainability Team and others to document our emissions so we can more accurately track our success at reducing them,” said Brian Good, Denver Water’s chief administrative officer.

Denver Water participates voluntarily in the Carbon Footprint Registry, a program administered by The Climate Registry. Xcel Energy, a major electricity and natural gas provider along the northern Front Range, also participates in the Carbon Footprint Registry.

Work to track emissions has grown increasingly sophisticated. The general idea: organizations can’t understand their progress in reducing climate change-related emissions if they don’t understand how much they are producing. Large governments such as Los Angeles and many major companies, such as Amazon, continue to join the effort, and standards for participation and recognition by third-party verifiers such as The Climate Registry are increasingly stringent.

“Organizations that become ‘Climate Registered’ are the leaders in a growing movement to address climate change by managing and reducing emissions at the subnational level,” said Amy Holm, executive director of The Climate Registry. “This kind of leadership is needed now more than ever.”

Denver Water continues to take aggressive steps to address climate change, including extending the life of its water supply, reducing the risk and intensity of wildfire, increasing its hydropower capacity and preparing for net-zero electricity use by 2020.

A tributary to the South Fork of the Rio Grande flows heavy in mid-September of 2019.
A tributary to the South Fork of the Rio Grande flows heavy in mid-September of 2019, a lingering sign of a big water year in Colorado. It stood in contrast to the drought years dominating the region since 2000.

 

In tracking its emissions, Denver Water looks at a picture more detailed than just how many kilowatt hours of electricity it uses. The utility’s Sustainability Team tracks emissions from vehicles, its use of natural gas and more obscure energy use, such as that consumed by refrigeration and welding.

“Our emissions have generally decreased over the last 10 years,” said Denver Water Sustainability Manager Kate Taft. “But we’re going to keep pushing. It is a project we tackle every day as part of our work to be an exemplary steward of Colorado’s natural resources. We’ve come a long way and we’re going to keep getting better.”

Read more about Denver Water’s ongoing sustainability initiatives in stories on recycling and reducing landfill wasteenergy efficient lightinge-waste recycling, its long history of green practicesthe sustainable elements of its evolving operations complex and overall sustainability goals.

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