Denver Housing Authority recognized for leadership in Better Buildings Challenge

The Washington, D.C.-based Energy Department and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recognized the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and the cities of Denver and Arvada, Colo., for their leadership in the Better Buildings Challenge. Together, these organizations are cutting energy waste across 10 million square feet of commercial buildings, municipal facilities and multifamily affordable housing facilities.

At North Lincoln Homes, DHA’s Better Buildings Challenge showcase project, 665 homes were upgraded with solar PV systems across the 57,000-square-foot affordable housing project and are generating solar energy through a unique power purchase agreement. In total, DHA has installed more than 10,000 solar panels and with efficiency measures has reduced energy use by 19 percent, saving $12,000 annually at the site.

The Energy Department toured the city of Denver’s Department of Human Services Castro Building and the city of Arvada’s Police Department’s West Woods Community Station, both of which are Better Buildings Challenge showcase projects achieving energy savings greater than 30 percent.

A partner in the Better Buildings Challenge since 2011, Denver has cut energy waste by 9 percent across a portfolio of 7 million square feet. At its Department of Human Services Castro Building, the city has completed a number of retrofits, resulting in annual energy savings of 36 percent, and installed 30kW of solar PV panels. The building’s automation system has been upgraded, new high-efficiency boilers were installed, and variable frequency drivers on HVAC units allow greater control and synchronization. In addition, the Castro Building serves as a pilot site for interior LEDs as replacements for T8 fluorescent tubes to determine how to upgrade indoor lighting systems in other city-owned buildings.

“Here at City Hall, we’ve made great strides to reduce the energy used across our government building portfolio … ,” says Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “It is important to showcase how the Better Buildings Challenge’s combination of federal leadership and local actions can lead to more savings, more investment and a more secure energy future for all Americans.”

The city of Arvada has already made significant overall progress, as well, with an 8 percent reduction in energy use since 2009. As part of the city’s Sustain Arvada program, Arvada has implemented a number of energy-efficiency retrofits, including a combination of high-performance lighting, envelope and equipment upgrades, resulting in an expected $6,500 in annual savings on the West Woods and Lake Arbor substations’ electricity and gas bills.

“The West Woods and Lake Arbor substations are signature examples of how we can embrace sustainable practices without sacrificing creativity, security or efficiency,” adds Marc Williams, Arvada mayor.

Learn more about Better Buildings Challenge partner results, showcase projects and innovative solutions being shared with others in the 2015 Progress Report at

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