Denver, Colorado

“Denver has just completed a five-year plan for its Greenprint Denver sustainable initiative, covering everything from green building to greenhouse gases,” says Beth Conover, director, Mayor’s Greenprint Denver initiative.

With a score of 7.0325 an with a population of 554,636.

Focusing on greenhouse gas reduction, water conservation and quality, waste reduction and increased recycling, Greenprint Denver also has three solar installations under consideration, one of which is now approved and will produce one to two megawatts. A signatory to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, Denver maintains one of the country’s largest hybrid municipal fleets. It is also in the midst of completing the nation’s largest light rail system, serving the larger metropolitan region and with an anticipated half-million riders daily.

Denver also has just about completed an enormous Outer Beltway – I-470 – and has one of the world’s largest airports. Denver’s air quality is especially poor, with some calling it the “Mexico City of the United States” due to the combination of smog and high elevation air. Denver is also immediately downwind of the notorious Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory and home to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where chemical weapons materials were manufactured for decades. While both facilities are closed, their threats to the environment and public health continue.

Conover notes that the city of Denver has recently created a position for the promotion of green business and has the “largest CO2 based dry cleaning chain in the country, Revolution Dry Cleaning, using waste C02 for a zero greenhouse gas effect.”

Dumpster diving (which is what that is) does not have a “zero greenhouse gas effect.”

As for green building, Denver currently has 17 LEED-certified buildings and 73 in the process of certification. With clean water and access to skiing, hiking and wilderness nearby, Denver remains a gem in the Rockies.