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Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center Begins Journey to Creating Net-Zero Energy Campus

By District Energy posted 05-03-2018 00:00


Press Release, City of Denver

250-acre campus will minimize environmental footprint by utilizing readily accessible and renewable resources

DENVER – The Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center (NWCO) today announced the establishment of aggressive climate and energy conservation goals through a newly released Request for Qualifications (RFQ). NWCO seeks to build LEED Certified energy efficient buildings and utilize locally available and renewable energy sources to minimize the campus’ environmental footprint.

“Building a low-carbon campus is one of the many ways the National Western Center is seeking to pioneer innovative sustainability strategies,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “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.”

Denver has created aggressive citywide climate and energy conservation goals, including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Large, mixed use and infill development projects, such as the National Western Center, offer a critical opportunity to make progress toward those goals by developing diversified and integrated energy systems that maximize efficiency and use of renewable resources. 

“Our Campus Energy Concept includes two primary strategies:  a wastewater heat recovery system for heating and cooling buildings and rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar production to provide 100% of the campus’ power,” Gretchen Hollrah, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center said. “These are reliable, safe and proven methods.  Our hope is that the National Western Center, upon completion, will be one of the largest campuses powered entirely by renewable energy sources.”

The current energy concept contains four key elements: 1) A wastewater heat recovery system that transfers thermal energy from on-site wastewater pipes to buildings via a campus piping network, 2) high-efficiency HVAC systems within each building, 3) rooftop solar panels, and 4) potential for energy storage and/or biofuel generators used for campus load management and demand response. 

The Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center has worked extensively with partners at Metro Wastewater, Xcel Energy and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and has validated this campus-wide energy approach via input from the industry. The NWC Campus Energy Concept may evolve to include additional technologies or alternative approaches as design progresses.

The deadline for RFQ proposals is June 3, at which time four proposers will be selected to continue forward with the selection process.  Firms will be shortlisted based upon their qualifications as NWCO seeks a partner to develop, design, engineer, construct, fund, operate and maintain an integrated campus energy system for the 250-acre National Western Center via a joint-development arrangement.

For more information on the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center, please visit