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EPA Administrator joins Denver Mayor at Highlands’ Garden Village as part of President Obama’s “Clean Energy Week”

Release Date: 06/23/2009
Contact Information: Richard Mylott, 303-312-6654, mylott.richard@epa.gov

Administrator cites NW Denver community as a model, highlights new federal partnership to advance sustainable communities

(Denver, Colo. – June 23, 2009) As part of President Obama’s Clean Energy Week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson joined Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper for a tour of Highlands’ Garden Village community in northwest Denver. Administrator Jackson commended the residential, office and retail development as a model for urban planning and energy efficiency and highlighted a new federal partnership to advance sustainable communities across the nation.

Earlier Tuesday, President Obama spoke about a comprehensive energy plan for America's future, highlighting the potential for job creation, cost savings and environmental protection. Colorado and the City of Denver’s success and innovation on renewable energy and energy efficiency are leading the way in our nationwide transition to a clean energy future.

“Today President Obama called for America to lead the world in the clean energy future – and that leadership begins in our communities. The planning, energy innovation and efficiency at Highlands’ Garden Village provide a local model for economic growth and environmental sustainability that can happen all around the world,” said EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson. “Our national transition to clean energy – including sustainable communities – can create millions of jobs, give us global leadership in the clean energy industry, and provide the security of real energy independence.”

Highlands’ Garden Village is an EPA award winning mixed-use community at the intersection of West 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street that provides housing, office, retail, parks and entertainment. The 27-acre site contains 306 homes including multi-family and senior market rate and affordable apartments, and for-sale single family, townhome, co-housing and live/work units, as well as 75,000 square feet of commercial space. The community includes more than 140,000 square feet of common areas and open space.

“Highlands’ Garden Village is a great example of how, when we work together, we can bring about socially and environmentally responsible development,” said Mayor Hickenlooper. “This community is a model for the country that shows we can create an alternative to urban sprawl and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without sacrificing our quality of life.”

The energy-efficient residences in the Highlands’ Garden Village neighborhood were built in 1999 -2002 and include a mix of apartments, townhomes, single-family homes, and a co-housing community that host professionals, families and older residents. Residents can access downtown Denver easily via bus or bicycle and the many nearby services and amenities offer significant energy and pollution reductions associated with car trips and vehicle miles traveled.

Recent development at the site includes the addition of a 28,000 square foot food store, gym and a dry cleaning business that use renewable energy and employ environmentally friendly and resource-saving technologies. The Sunflower Market is a LEED Gold-certified facility with state-of-the-art energy and storm water management systems. Solar awnings operated on the windows of the 24 Hour Fitness generate electricity for the business area’s street and parking lights.

“America is going to grow by 90 million people over the next 40 years. We can either grow by sprawl, destroying the environment and diluting the economy, or we can grow by more compact urban infill,” said Chuck Perry, Managing Member of Perry Rose, LLC, Jonathan Rose Companies’ Rocky Mountain Region affiliate. “Highlands’ Garden Village was created by Jonathan Rose Companies as a model to demonstrate that garden filled, mixed use, mixed income urban infill has strong market appeal. Its success represents the smart growth solution needed to accommodate America’s growth in the future. We are currently working with EPA, HUD and DOT on policies to coordinate and target federal, state and local investments to promote smart growth."

The event at Highlands’ Garden Village underscores last week’s agreement between EPA, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help promote sustainable communities across the nation. The Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities outlines six guiding ‘livability principles’ that will coordinate federal transportation, environmental protection and housing investments.

These principles include:

1. Provide more transportation choices
2. Promote equitable, affordable housing
3. Enhance economic competitiveness
4. Support existing communities
5. Coordinate policies and leverage investment
6. Value communities and neighborhoods

EPA awarded the Highlands Garden Village project a national SmartGrowth Excellence Award in 2005. Since that time, the development has continued to adopt environmentally sensitive technologies and practices.

For more information on Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, visit: http://www.epa.gov/opei/ocmp/dced-partnership.html