December 07, 2023, 12:00 AM
The price of steam in Denver recently increased by nearly 40% due to an Xcel Energy rate change approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. This change has prompted owners of buildings on the steam loop system to explore disconnecting from it and instead obtain energy by either connecting to the natural gas system or electrifying building heating equipment. Denver's Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) would like to encourage building owners to choose the electrification option because it will deliver significant benefits to the city and its residents above and beyond those that would be achieved by converting to natural gas, including the following:
To achieve the benefits stated above, CASR has established the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from each steam-powered building funded by this program by at least 20% as compared to the emissions of the average of the prior three years of typical operations. CASR intends to meet this goal by offering a financial incentive encouraging building owners who wish to disconnect from steam to choose electricity over natural gas. The program will provide a monetary incentive payment to buildings owners who choose to convert their buildings from steam to electric fuel systems by funding the incremental cost differential incurred by electing to implement an electric fuel building conversion at cost parity to a gas alternative.
Incentive payment applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for consideration:
The applicant must submit a budget for converting the building from steam power to electricity, including the following:
6. Data to inform a city assessment of greenhouse gas reduction for the conversion.
The application will be evaluated according to the criteria described below, with the weights allocated to each criterion set forth in the table that follows.
Greenhouse gas reduction assessment
Teaming plan and workforce standards
The city may request an interview as part of the evaluation process. Any such interviews will take place after CASR has conducted an initial review of submitted applications.
CASR encourages applicants to utilize small, minority, and woman-owned businesses on their project team and, where independent contractors are needed, consider utilizing individuals who identify as people of color, Indigenous people, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and people whose household income is below the area median.
The Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR) will accept applications on a rolling basis and will make award determinations by the end of each quarter. CASR reserves the right to not award any applications during a quarterly award period.
Selected applicants will receive an award notice via email and should be prepared to collaborate with the city to establish a formal written agreement utilizing the form of the agreement attached to the application. The agreement will not be effective or binding on the city until it has been fully executed by all required signatories of the City and County of Denver. Note that contracts more than $500,000 require City Council approval and will take longer to process. Contracts will contain reporting and milestone requirements that must be satisfied before the city will reimburse project costs.
Maximum award expenditure for 2022 incentives is $4 million.
Completed applications and required forms/documentation must be submitted via e-mail to Jan Keleher and Denver's Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency will evaluate applications received on a quarterly basis. All required forms and supporting documentation must be included at the time the application is submitted. Please review the sample agreement with the City’s standard language and insurance requirements before submitting your application.
The mission of the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR) is to act with urgency to proactively mitigate climate change by advancing science-based strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a scale and timeline that align with the recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; cultivate resiliency in the face of potential climate change-related emergencies; secure an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable city for generations to come; and ensure that the setting of goals and metrics and monitoring of results considers equity.
On November 3, 2020, the people of the City and County of Denver voted in favor of Ballot Initiative 2A, raising the local sales and use tax by 0.25% to create the Climate Protection Fund (CPF). The CPF is dedicated to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, supporting climate adaptation, and creating new jobs to improve the lives of Denverites. This program will be funded by the CPF and is intended to address the following allowable CPF uses contained in D.R.M.C. § 2-406: