City of Denver
Community-wide Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Inventory

What is the impact of homes, businesses, industries, institutions and visitors in Denver?







Building Energy Use

Building Energy use accounts for the total energy used in homes, businesses, institutions and industry within the community, including heating fuels such as natural gas, and fuels used in electricity generation such as natural gas, coal, fuel oil and biomass.

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Transportation accounts for the fuels burned for on-road transportation, off-road operations, aviation, commuter and freight rail, and waterborne transit. Fuels include motor gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, biodiesel and electricity. Energy to produce these fuels is included in the Materials Use sector.

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Materials Use

Materials Use includes the embedded emissions from the production of fuels, cement, food, and clean water. Most of these materials are produced outside the community and then transported into the community to support the economic activities of homes, businesses, institutions and industry. Therefore, these emissions often occur outside the community but are induced through materials use within community boundaries.

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Waste accounts for the total solid waste and wastewater generated by our community's homes, businesses, institutions and industry. Waste is categorized by the method of management, including landfill and the amount of diversion to recycling, compost, anaerobic digestion, and incineration.

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The City and County of Denver recognizes the importance of and our commitment to sustainability for maintaining and enhancing the health of the community for present and future generations. In order to track our progress over time and set goals, the City and County of Denver completed its most recent GHG inventory update in 2017. So what is a greenhouse gas inventory? Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories are an important step towards reducing GHG emissions into the atmosphere. Globally, cities are responsible for two-thirds of the world’s energy use and 70% of global carbon emissions, representing a major opportunity for tackling climate change, especially as changes to the climate will continue to challenge the community in the years and decades to come. Used as a tool for tracking a community’s emissions trends over time, GHG inventories help focus strategies to achieve the city’s GHG emissions reductions targets and goals.

GHG inventories identify different activities that contribute to GHG emissions and map the activities to the sources where emissions occur. Some emissions occur within our community boundaries while others are induced by our communities activities and can occur outside our boundaries.

Where do Greenhouse Gases Come from - Emissions by Source and Activity

Most GHG inventories are organized into emissions sectors that show the sources and activities that emit GHG gases. The City of Denver's inventory is organized into emissions from building energy use, transportation, waste, and materials use. These emissions represent the community-wide contribution, including emissions from producing goods and services, and emissions from final consumption generated from community activities. Studying these sectors and how they change over time will help us identify the greatest opportunities for emissions reductions.


Energy use in residential, commercial and industrial buildings have the largest contribution to total City emissions, about 57%. Denver’s biggest success in stabilizing emissions has been in the areas of per capita residential energy use—an area targeted by the city’s climate programs and related initiatives between 2009 and 2016.

Transportation from on-road vehicles and aviation is the second largest source of emissions, followed by emissions from materials consumption, which includes food, cement for construction, and water use.

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Denver values sustainability, and is currently working on a number of climate, energy, and sustainability initiatives—from alternative transportation and energy conservation to forestry/agriculture and waste management.

It’s our future, our community. Learn more about how you can get involved with Denver’s climate, energy, and sustainability initiatives.

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200 W 14 th Avenue
Denver, CO 80204