A 2018 Northglenn initiative to make the city, its residents and businesses more efficient and sustainable has managed to eliminate the equivalent of the emissions of 1,583 gas-powered cars, members told City Councilors March 6.
“We think that Northglenn has a big potential to implement and adopt climate action goals,” said Renata Trisilawati, chair of the Northglenn Sustainability told councilors.
Trisilawati's presentation outlined achievements and changes to the plan. Not only does it include sustainability in terms of climate goals, but also in terms of sustaining other city priorities and programs.
At the present, the plan consists of nine goal areas: Arts, Culture and Events, Sustainable Economy, Human Dignity, Transportation, Open Space and Land Use, Housing, Resource Conservation, Community Education and Civic Engagement and Environment and Public Health.
The sustainability committee is looking to add another goal area – Climate Action. Becky Smith, Northglenn planning manager, said that goal area would focus on carbon emissions.
“We hope in the future after we implement this new action goal, we can address the biggest challenge of the community (right now), which is climate change,” said Trisilawati.
Mayor Meredith Leighty agreed.
“I had the opportunity to hear the Vice President speak today and her whole focus was on climate action, so it definitely resonated,” she said.
The new goal would address targets directly related to human activities that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Goals would include things like expanding energy efficiency and sustainable transportation options and investing in renewable energy.
The indicators include electric vehicle adoption, energy use and air quality. The target they'd like to hit get bigger ever decade. They'd like to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2030, by 50% by 2040 and 90% by 2050.
Northglenn would be taking a more aggressive approach than the state, because their base for the reductions would be from 2019 levels, compared to the state’s which is 2005.
Smith said that another goal, hiring a sustainability coordinator for Northglenn, is in the budget for 2023 and will be looked at later in the year. She said the new staff member would work with each department to coordinate sustainable projects.
Smith presented some of the revisions and achievements of the plan.
Revisions and achievements
For Arts, Culture and Events, the committee added that the city will strive to meet waste reduction goals. They also changed from focusing on increasing participation at city events to focusing on the quality of the events.
With the new The city has expanded its programming with the opening of the Parsons Theatre and she said it's on track to achieve a 10% participation increase before 2030.
With the addition of Prost coming to Northglenn, the city may be home to one of the most sustainable and technologically advanced breweries in the country.
In addition to Prost, 80 new businesses have opened and they created 205 new jobs in 2021. Also, 95 businesses participated in Xcel energy programs in 2021 and seven received energy assessments.
The committee did remove the goal of Northglenn becoming a Smart City and Leighty asked why.
“Our economic development department didn’t want that goal in Sustainable Economy. The city is still a member of the Smart Cities alliance, but we haven’t participated heavily throughout the alliance in the last few years, mostly because of staff capacity,” Smith said.
With the committee noting that environmental justice was missing from this section of the plan, they decided to add goals, indicators and targets with help from the Diversity, Inclusivity and Social Equity Board.
They will meet with the board to discuss how to move forward.
Some of their achievements in this category include the opening of the Recreation Center, Senior Center and Parsons Theatre. The whole complex has seen drop-in rates almost double from 2019.
Smith also cited the creation of the Crisis Response Unit in 2021 as an accomplishment.
The city has been working on multi-modal transportation options, which includes lining 6.41 miles of road with on-street bike lanes. By 2025, their goals is to increase the number of students biking or walking to school by 25%
They’ve also opened 35 new bike racks, and 11 residents are in the Smart Commute Metro North eBike program.
Teleworking is also a goal, with hopes to see the number of city employees working from home at least one day per week increasing by 20% in 2025. As well, they hope to see transit ridership numbers go up by 30% by 2030.
Open Space and Land Use
A target for Open Space and Land Use is to “concentrate new and re-development in compact, human-scaled, walkable centers and neighborhoods to connect to transit, offer diverse uses and services and provide housing options for families of all income levels.”
One of the successes was the adoption of the Unified Development Ordinance in 2019, which includes new mixed-use zone districts in the city.
That policy may aid in one of this section’s goals, which is to implement land use and transportation policies that are “encouraging open space, parks, trails and mixed-use communities.
With the development of Karl’s Farm, the diversity of Northglenn’s housing stock is going to increase. The committee sees that as an achievement, as well as allowing Accessory Dwelling Units on single-family home properties.
They hope to see a 10% decrease of cost-burdened residents by 2028. To see if they’re on track to do so, looking at the type of housing available will be one indicator.
The committee also hopes for a decrease in residential energy usage of 25% by 2038.
Potable water use has dropped by 7% since 2018 and residential waste diversion is between 12% and 13%.
Also since 2017, 231 commercial energy efficiency projects and 2,603 residential energy efficiency projects have been completed.
That resulted in over 527,000 kWh of electricity saved. As well, 289 new participants in roof-top solar have been added to the 2017 baseline.
Community Education and Civic Engagement
Northglenn wants community members of all demographics to be involved in civic affairs and community improvement efforts.
So far, the update didn’t list any increase in engagement. But some of their goals are to increase voter registration by 10% by 2024, see 15% more voters by 2024 and hold various events to help get people involved.
Environment and public health
Two air quality monitoring stations have been installed in the city, and residents can check the data from those stations whenever they want. They, and other sites around the Denver metro area, are available at www.denveraq.com/tricounty on the internet.
For the future, some of the goals include increasing public outreach on topics about environmental protection and health, increasing the number of community gardens in the community and decreasing the average residential distance from fresh produce by 15%.