Sustainability

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In June 2018, the Sustainable Wheat Ridge (SWR) Committee published recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge, provide strong financial returns, and bring substantial benefits to public health, community cohesion, and livability.

Our goal of this page is to provide a platform for residents to engage with the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee and city staff regarding sustainability topics in Wheat Ridge. We will be updating this page regularly with new topics, resources and programs and will utilize resident feedback to inform the development of future sustainability program offerings. We look forward to hearing from the community!

The six focus areas of Sustainable Wheat Ridge are:

Green Building and Energy Efficiency

Renewable Energy

Solid Waste and Recycling

Transportation

Water

Communications and Engagement

Join the conversation by engaging with the tools below!

In June 2018, the Sustainable Wheat Ridge (SWR) Committee published recommendations to enhance the environmental sustainability of Wheat Ridge, provide strong financial returns, and bring substantial benefits to public health, community cohesion, and livability.

Our goal of this page is to provide a platform for residents to engage with the Sustainable Wheat Ridge resident advisory committee and city staff regarding sustainability topics in Wheat Ridge. We will be updating this page regularly with new topics, resources and programs and will utilize resident feedback to inform the development of future sustainability program offerings. We look forward to hearing from the community!

The six focus areas of Sustainable Wheat Ridge are:

Green Building and Energy Efficiency

Renewable Energy

Solid Waste and Recycling

Transportation

Water

Communications and Engagement

Join the conversation by engaging with the tools below!

  • Sustainability Spotlight - December 2023 - Three Ways to Green Your Home in 2024

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    Investing in energy-efficient updates for your home isn't just a trend — it's a strategic move with many benefits. Here are the top 3 reasons driving home energy efficiency updates today:

    1. Cost Savings: Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, lighting and insulation can lead to lower utility bills. These updates may require an initial investment, but the long-term savings make it a financially savvy decision. Over time, the reduced energy consumption pays dividends, contributing to a more sustainable and budget-friendly lifestyle. Today, Wheat Ridge residents can take advantage of Xcel rebates and tax credits offered through the Inflation Reduction Act. In 2024, experts predict tax rebates will be available to consumers, making it even more affordable to update your home in a smart, efficient way!
    2. Environmental Impact: Traditional energy sources often result in harmful emissions and environmental degradation. By opting for energy-efficient updates, you're actively reducing your carbon footprint through decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. From energy-efficient HVAC systems to solar panel arrays on your roof, each choice contributes to a cleaner, more sustainable planet. It's a small step that collectively makes a big difference.
    3. Health and Comfort: Did you know that living with a gas stove is akin to living with a smoker? One way to combat health risks associated with energy that uses fossil fuels is to electrify your home. Not only will you create a healthier environment to live in, you’ll also be more comfortable. Better insulation and energy-efficient windows can regulate indoor temperatures, creating a more pleasant living space year-round. Smart thermostats and lighting systems offer convenience and control, adapting to your preferences while optimizing energy use.

    Many resources are available to offset the cost of making these updates to your Wheat Ridge home, here are some to consider:

  • Sustainability Spotlight - November 2023 - Compost Your Leaves

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    Three Reasons to Leave the Leaves!

    As winter approaches, leaving leaves on the ground during winter is not just a matter of convenience — it serves an important ecological purpose. Here are three reasons to leave the leaves:

    Insulation: These fallen leaves create a natural blanket that insulates the soil, protecting it from the harsh cold and preventing it from freezing too deeply. This insulation helps to maintain a stable soil temperature, which is vital for the survival of many underground organisms, including beneficial insects and earthworms. When these creatures are allowed to thrive, they contribute to a healthier and more balanced ecosystem by breaking down organic matter and improving soil structure. Additionally, this natural insulation reduces the risk of soil erosion by keeping the topsoil in place, preventing it from being washed away by winter rain or snowmelt.

    Soil Nutrients: Leaves on the ground also provide essential habitat and food for various wildlife species. Many insects and small invertebrates seek refuge among the leaf litter, providing a valuable food source for birds and other wildlife during the winter months. The decomposing leaves release important nutrients into the soil, benefiting plants and trees by enhancing their growth and overall health. This natural recycling of organic matter contributes to a sustainable and self-sustaining ecosystem.

    Saves Time & Resources: Leaving leaves on the ground helps gardeners and homeowners reduce the need for excessive yard work and the use of fossil fuels in the form of leaf blowers or lawn mowers. Allowing leaves to decompose naturally not only conserves energy but also saves time and resources while promoting a more environmentally friendly approach to yard maintenance.

    Overall, the practice of leaving leaves on the ground during winter is a simple yet powerful way to support a healthy and resilient ecosystem, enhance soil health, and reduce our environmental impact.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - October 2023 - Benefits of a Plant-based Diet

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    Embracing a plant-based diet is not just good for your health; it's also a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier planet. One of the key environmental benefits of reducing meat consumption is the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock farming, particularly cattle, produces a significant amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that accelerates climate change. By choosing plant-based options, you can help cut down on the demand for meat and thus decrease these harmful emissions.

    Vegetarian diets require fewer resources, such as land and water. Meat production demands vast amounts of both. The land used for grazing and growing animal feed could be repurposed for reforestation or cultivating crops that can feed more people. Additionally, the runoff from animal agriculture, including waste and chemicals, pollutes our waterways and contributes to dead zones in the oceans. By consuming more plants and fewer animal products, you contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and water conservation. It's a small change that can make a big difference. Whether it's for your health, the environment, or a mix of both, going vegetarian or even just increasing the amount of plant-based meals in your diet is a delicious and planet-friendly choice that can positively impact the world we live in.

    Over 1,400 US mayors supported a resolution to promote plant-based initiatives to help improve public health and reduce food-based emissions. The resolution, called “A Plant-Based Approach has Promise to Address Chronic Disease, Environmental, and Fiscal Burdens Facing Cities Across the Nation”, was introduced by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - September 2023 - How Can You Take Advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act?

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    Are $1800 per year household savings and $26,500 for a new EV of interest to you?

    The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides a number of tax incentives to increase home energy efficiency and reduce air pollution from transportation. The household energy savings could total a typical $1800 per year if the homeowner takes advantage of most available incentives. The vehicle incentives could amount to $26,500 on a less expensive vehicle if the purchaser does not exceed the income limits. While taking advantage of these savings, citizens also would be contributing to solving the increasing risks of extreme weather that locally include drought, wildfire, and the health impacts of extreme heat and ozone pollution, not to mention other extreme weather risks elsewhere.

    The $1800 per year household savings come from the following incentives.

    The Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit (26 U.S. Code § 25C) allows households to deduct from their taxes up to 30% of the cost of upgrades to their home including installing energy efficient equipment such as heat pumps, cook stoves (electric induction cook-tops boil water faster than gas stoves), home insulation, doors and windows, and upgrading breaker boxes to accommodate additional electric load.

    These deductions are limited to $600 per measure, up to $1,200 per household per year—except the limit is $2,000 for buying and installing a heat pump for hot water or heat pump for their home heating and cooling. Energy Smart Colorado adds to the federal incentives with tax credits and rebates for heat pumps, home electrification and appliances. Xcel Energy offers another $600-800 rebate for heat pump water heaters.

    The Colorado Energy Office and Denver Regional Council of Governments are applying for grants from the Department of Energy that will provide additional rebates to middle/low-income households for energy saving retrofits and high-efficiency electric home appliances. The rebates will be much more generous than the current tax credits, and so significantly increase the estimated $1,800 per year household savings.

    These incentives are most important if you currently are faced with an impending replacement of household equipment for heating, cooling, and cooking. Such replacements have a life of 25 years, and so it would be good timing to replace aging equipment with cost-saving modern equipment.

    The Residential Clean Energy Credit (26 U.S. Code § 25D), re-ups an existing program allowing households installing solar to deduct 30% of the cost of the project from their taxes. This credit includes residential battery storage. Energy Smart Colorado also offers a 30% tax credit for roof top solar.

    If you are also a business owner, 26 U.S. Code § 179D provides a tax deduction for energy efficiency improvements to commercial buildings, such as improvements to interior lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and hot water. The deduction is $0.50-$1 per square foot of building, depending on the efficiency increase.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - August 2023 - Help the Pollinators Prosper

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    Did you know that as a caterpillar, the monarch butterfly can only eat milkweed plants? As monarchs make the long flight north from their winter home in Mexico or California, they stop to lay eggs on milkweed. The new caterpillar eats the milkweed’s leaves, spins a cocoon and the monarch butterfly that emerges continues the journey to Canada. Monarch populations have been decimated recently due to degradation and loss of habitat. However, it’s easy to help the species survive by planting milkweed in your garden! There are several types of milkweed that thrive in a variety of conditions such as showy, common, swamp, and butterfly weed. Sometimes it might take a year or so before monarchs find the milkweed, but in the meantime, plenty of other pollinators will benefit.

    Colorado is home to many native pollinators. There are over 900 species of native bees plus the moths, birds, and even flies that pollinate our gardens. In fact, the honey bee is non-native and was brought over by European settlers. Colorado’s native pollinators rely on native plants to sustain them. Some native plants, like milkweed, are keystone species vital to more than just monarchs, they are essential to a healthy ecosystem.

    Many people are planting keystone plants as they participate in the HOMEGROWN NATIONAL PARK® initiative. This grassroots call-to-action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks was cofounded by ecologist Doug Tallamy. Their webpage hosts a selection of his videos that discuss the importance of keystone plants and how you can join the movement by including native plants in your garden. Plants are the foundation of the food chain and fostering an environment where both plants and pollinators thrive will enhance the biodiversity of the whole ecosystem. There are many organizations along the front range to help you with native plant selection including The Colorado Native Plant Society and Wild Ones Front Range Chapter. These organizations hold plant swaps in early summer and seed swaps in the fall, everyone is welcome, with or without plants/seeds. Plus they have tours and educational materials!

    Don’t have the land to grow your own flowers and vegetables or want to join a gardening community? Wheat Ridge’s Happiness Community Gardens on Ammons St between 41st and 44th Avenue is the place to get your hands dirty! Stop by this blooming community garden full of flowers and vegetables at any time. Check out the event calendar to see how to join the community garden in 2024.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - July 2023 - Residential Waste Engagement Project

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    In recent years, waste management has emerged as a significant topic of discussion in Wheat Ridge. Residents have expressed both their desire for change and their satisfaction with current practices. In response, City staff presented plans at the April 24, 2023 City Council meeting to conduct a comprehensive public engagement process. The goal of this process is to gather feedback from the public so that Wheat Ridge can serve its residents in the best way possible.

    Throughout the project’s 18-month duration, information will be provided on the current system, potential alternatives, as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each approach. Ample opportunities will be available for public input.

    Want to get involved or stay up to date on this project? We would love to hear from you! Follow the Residential Waste Engagement page on What's Up Wheat Ridge to be notified of future engagement opportunities.


  • Sustainability Spotlight - June 2023 - Bike into Summer!

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    As we pedal our way into summer, it is a great time to consider how you can incorporate biking (and public transportation!) into your summer plans!

    Bike to Work Day

    Leave your cars at home and enjoy bicycling to work on June 28th, this year’s Bike to Work Day! This annual free event draws tens of thousands of Colorado commuters who celebrate the day by swapping a ride in their cars for a ride on two wheels. Participating helps improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce traffic congestion. Keep your eyes open for stations in Wheat Ridge, Edgewater and Denver. If you’re heading into downtown Denver, stop by the region’s largest Bike to Work Day breakfast station on Bannock Street in Civic Center Park, or bring your bike to the Webb Building Garage P1 anytime between 12:00PM and 2:00PM for a free tune-up. Sign up to ride and look for a station: https://biketoworkday.co/

    Big Bikes in the Community

    No wheels of your own? No problem! Organizations in Wheat Ridge, including the Senior Resource Center and the Active Transportation Advisory Team (ATAT) are working with other local organizations and event to provide fun mobility services. The Senior Resource Center has recently acquired an e-trishaw (the seats are in front of the bicyclist) to better serve their guests. In the months to come, they’ll be providing seniors with free bike rides around the neighborhood and to and from the Active Adult Center. Keep your eyes out for the Cycletrooper as well. The ATAT’s big, blue pedicab makes frequent appearances at community events and cruiser rides around town.

    eBike Vouchers

    The Colorado Energy Office is saving more for bicycle enthusiasts for a second year in a row. Thanks to the passage of SB22-193, Colorado will implement statewide e-bike rebates available to low- and moderate-income Coloradans. CEO anticipates that rebates will be available to individuals in August 2023. Applications will be open for one week each month, and individuals will be selected at random. The voucher amount varies based on equipment and other incentives, but the total amount is up to $1,750. There are three classes of e-bike – 1, 2, and 3 – and each have different thresholds of support for the rider based on speed and pedal assistance. For more details and to sign up for updates, please visit: https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/ebike-rebatesH

    RTD Zero Fare for Better Air: July and August 2023

    Can’t get there just by biking? This July and August RTD is offering zero fares across its system as part of the Zero Fare for Better Air Initiative. This is a collaborative, statewide effort designed to reduce ground-level ozone through the increased use of public transit. Calculate how much you could save on your commute here: https://www.rtd-denver.com/zerofare

  • Sustainability Spotlight - May 2023 - Current Opportunities

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    Dumpster Days

    Wheat Ridge Large Item Pick Up is an annual event hosted by the City of Wheat Ridge. Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 13 and Saturday, May 20, and take advantage of the opportunity to dispose of large or bulky items that may not fit in regular trash containers. Examples of acceptable items for disposal include furniture, appliances, and yard waste. Hazardous waste, such as chemicals or electronics, is not accepted at Dumpster Days. The event is free for residents, and it is a great way to declutter and dispose of unwanted items responsibly.

    Future Waste Engagement Opportunities

    Wheat Ridge is in the process of bringing on a consulting firm to create and implement a public engagement campaign to better understand resident's thoughts about waste management practices in our community. Last year, the Sustainable Wheat Ridge presented research to the City about potential strategies and future changes that could made to encourage more sustainable, responsible waste management practices. Stay tuned for opportunities to give us your input!

    Mow Down Pollution

    Mow Down Pollution is a program in Colorado that aims to reduce air pollution caused by lawn mowers. Offered by the Regional Air Quality Council. this program provides a rebate for the purchase of electric mowers, and provides education on the benefits of electric mowers over gas-powered ones. The program is part of the state's larger effort to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Sustainability Spotlight - April 2023 - Earth Day 2023

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    Every year on April 22nd, we celebrate Earth Day to demonstrate support for the environmental protection movement. First held in 1970, Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans to take to the streets, parks, and campuses to demonstrate against the health and environmental impacts that 150 years of industrial development had brought. By 1990, Earth Day had gone global, mobilizing some 200 million people in 141 countries, and bringing environmental issues to the world stage. Thus, paving the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit.

    Over the decades Earth Day and EARTHDAY.ORG (formerly known as Earth Day Network) has brought hundreds of millions of people into the environmental movement, engaging with more than 1 billion world citizens every year. Earth Day has come to provide a voice for emerging environmental consciousness and putting environmental concerns at the forefront of society. It has become one of the largest secular observances in the world, marked as a day of action or change our behaviors and to create global, national, and local policy changes.

    This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest In Our Planet,” which highlights the importance of dedicating out time, resources, and energy to solving climate change and other environmental issues. By engaging governments, institutions, business, and more than the 1 billion world citizens who participate annually in Earth Day to do their part. As an individual, you yield real power for change through your influence as a consumer, a voter, and a community member. When your voice and actions are united with millions of others around the world, we can create an inclusive and impactful movement that is impossible to ignore.

    But where to start?

    How will you make an impact this Earth Day? Check out some opportunities below.

    Tree Sale April 15th & 16th - The Wheat Ridge Forestry Division will be hosting a tree sale at Anderson Park on Saturday April 15 from 8am-4pm and Sunday April 16 from 8am-12pm. There will be 17 different species available at wholesale prices ($75-$80). Trees are 1 inch caliper/diameter in #7 pots. Trees will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.



    National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation April 1-30 - Wheat Ridge is excited to participate in the challenge for the first time and encourages residents to take a brief pledge to conserve water. The pledge will be open from April 1-30, and residents can participate by visiting https://mywaterpledge.com/ and searching for Wheat Ridge. Water conservation is a key component of creating a sustainable, healthy future for our residents, and conservation is a goal we can all work towards together to protect this scarce and valuable resource.


    Wheat Ridge Searching for New Sustainable Neighborhoods - Wheat Ridge is looking for two new neighborhoods to join Applewood Villages, Fruitdale, Panorama Park, and Paramount Heights in the Sustainable Neighborhoods program! This program is a great way to meet your neighbors and get involved with the community. Sustainable Neighborhoods provides neighbors with support and resources to develop sustainability focused events in their neighborhood. Applications are open and will remain open until Friday, May 12. Apply today on the Sustainable Neighborhoods page: https://bit.ly/WRSNprogram.

  • We are searching for two NEW Sustainable Neighborhoods!

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    In 2020, The City of Wheat Ridge joined Lakewood, Denver and Fort Collins as the newest member of the Sustainable Neighborhoods Network! Currently, Applewood Villages, Fruitdale, Panorama Park, and Paramount Heights are participating in the program and cover around 30% of the City.

    The Sustainable Neighborhoods Program gives residents the opportunity to become active partners in building a vibrant and sustainable Wheat Ridge community. Neighborhoods participating in this unique certification program receive guidance and support from city staff to organize workshops, projects and events that enhance the livability of their neighborhoods and reduce residents' ecological footprints. Participating neighborhoods earn program credits and recognition from the community and the City.

    The City of Wheat Ridge is looking for two new neighborhoods to join the program this summer! To learn more about the program and the application process, please join us for an open house on Wednesday, April 12 at 5:30 P.M. at City Hall Council Chambers. Completed applications must be submitted by Friday, May 12, 2023. APPLY TODAY!

    Please be sure to read the Wheat Ridge Application Guide and Application Frequently Asked Questions before you apply! Download the Signature Support Form and upload the completed form with your application. For tips on how to gather signatures with low-to-no contact, read the Signature Support Ideas document. If you have any questions, contact Mary Hester at sustainability@ci.wheatridge.co.us.

    To read more about what our four Sustainable Neighborhoods have been up to, check out the Sustainable Neighborhoods website!

Page last updated: 04 Jan 2024, 10:42 AM