The City of Denver has released a plan to decarbonize existing homes and buildings within the city limits and beyond to Denver County.
The heart of the plan is to replace traditional gas space and water heating appliances with electric heat pumps that are powered by renewable energy. The city moved ahead with the initiative buoyed by a commitment made by Xcel Energy, Denver’s utility, to generate 80% of Denver’s electricity by renewables by 2030.
Today, 97% of natural gas consumed in buildings and homes is used for space and water heat, the city says. Emissions from these uses account for 24% of Denver’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
The city says that under the plan, 66% of homes, 69% of multifamily units, and 49% of commercial buildings can be fully electrified when existing systems reach their end of life. This would keep total capital and operating costs within 10% of baseline costs under existing electricity and gas rates.
The plan strives for racial and economic equity in achieving these goals in a “managed transition” to electrification.