EnvironmentHot Sheet

Denver says National Western is going green in billion-dollar makeover

Author: Joey Bunch - May 3, 2018 - Updated: May 3, 2018

National WesternExhibitors show off their entries during the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo and Horse Show in Denver. (Colorado Springs Gazette file photo)

Renewable energy and low greenhouse gas emissions will be a part of the plan for the billion-dollar redevelopment of the National Western Complex, the city of Denver said Thursday.

“Building a low-carbon campus is one of the many ways the National Western Center is seeking to pioneer innovative sustainability strategies,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement. “By utilizing renewable resources already on-site, we’ll be able to minimize carbon emissions while developing a responsible and sustainable campus for the community today and for future generations.”

That’s pretty green for a research and entertainment center that will celebrate fields, pastures and the agricultural industry that depends on them. The 250-acre redevelopment site near Interstate 25 and Brighton Boulevard in North Denver is paid for by a tourism tax on hotel rooms and rental cars passed by Denver voters in 2015.

Denver is one of the U.S. cities — among several in Colorado — pushing to meet goals to get all its energy from renewable energy,

“Taking advantage of local renewable energy and sustainable design in new developments, like the National Western Center, saves all of us money and keeps pollution out of our community,” Jim Alexee, director of the Sierra Club’s Colorado chapter, told Colorado Politics.

“Now it’s time to raise ambition and spread these innovative sustainability strategies across Denver, and continue to lead the way towards 100 percent clean energy.”

Denver also has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels over the next three decades. City officials said in a press release Thursday that the National Western Complex offers opportunities to try out development plans for a large, mixed-use areas.

Gretchen Hollrah, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center, said the power plan involves “a wastewater heat recovery system for heating and cooling buildings” along with rooftop solar panels.

“These are reliable, safe and proven methods,” she stated. “Our hope is that the National Western Center, upon completion, will be one of the largest campuses powered entirely by renewable energy sources.”

The city is working with Metro Wastewater, Xcel Energy and the National Renewable Energy Lab.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.