State and Local Policy Database

Aurora

City Scorecard Rank

63

Aurora, CO

18.00Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
0.5 out of 9 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Aurora has a goal to reduce local government greenhouse gas emissions 10% by 2025 using a 2007 baseline. ACEEE does not project the city will achieve its GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations because no data was available to make a projection. 

Energy Reduction Goal 

We did not find information regarding a municipal energy reduction goal.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a municipal renewable energy goal.

Last updated: March 2019

Procurement and Construction List All

Fleet Policies and Composition 

Aurora’s SmartFleet Action Plan establishes a plan to set goals for replacing convention vehicles with “clean and green vehicles,” but we were unable to find information regarding vehicle type or fuel efficiency requirements in the city. Aurora’s municipal fleet is composed of 0.75% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and plug-in hybrids vehicles.

Public Lighting

We did not find information regarding the adoption of a policy requiring efficient outdoor lighting, such as the International Dark-Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance. We could not confirm if Aurora has an outdoor lighting upgrade program.

Onsite renewable systems 

Aurora hosts renewable energy systems at three city facilities: Aurora Municipal Court, Sand Creek Water Reuse Facility, and Facilities North Satellite Campus. We were not able to confirm the installed capacity at these facilities.

Inclusive procurement

We could not verify if the city has inclusive procurement and contracting processes.

Last updated: June 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting 

We were unable to find information regarding benchmarking practices or comprehensive retrofit strategies in in Aurora.

Public Workforce Commuting

We did not find information on a policy aimed at reducing commutes of city employees, such as flexible schedules or telework.

Last updated: March 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 1 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Aurora passed its Sustainability Plan in 2009. 

Last updated: March 2020

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

Aurora adopted a goal to reduce community-wide emissions 10% below 2007 levels by 2025. ACEEE projects the city will meet its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal.

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide energy reduction goal for the city.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide renewable energy goal for the city.

Energy Data Reporting

The city does not report community-wide energy data.

Last updated: March 2020

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether permanent city staff have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting outreach for multiple clean energy initiatives to marginalized groups compared with outreach to other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: March 2020

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

Aurora hosts three community solar systems on city property. 

Last updated: March 2020

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

We could not verify if the city has adopted an urban heat island mitigation goal nor if the city has adopted policies that target reductions in urban heat island effects.

Last updated: March 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 6.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Aurora has local authority to adopt building energy codes. The city requires plan reviews and site inspection to ensure building energy code compliance. We could not find information on city mandated benchmarking policies, incentives, or above-code energy action requirements.

Last updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code AdoptionList All

Overview

The State of Colorado is a home rule state with a voluntary building code for both residential and commercial construction. To learn more about the building energy code requirements for the State of Colorado, please visit the State Policy Database.

Commercial

Aurora requires commercial properties comply with the 2015 IECC. The code uses a commercial zEPI score of 53.6.

Residential

Aurora requires residential properties comply with the 2015 IECC. The code uses a residential zEPI score of 54.7.

Solar- and EV-ready

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted solar- and/or EV-ready ordinances.

Low-energy use requirements

New municipal buildings must be built to LEED Gold standards. 

Last updated: March 2020

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Aurora requires plan reviews and site inspections to verify code compliance. We could not find information on the number of full time employees the city staffs to enforce the energy code. We could not find information regarding upfront support for code compliance.

Last updated: March 2020

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure policy for commercial and multifamily buildings. 

Single-family     

We could not find information on whether the city has adopted a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure policy for single-family home.

Last updated: March 2020

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

We could not find information on the number of incentives the city offers for energy efficiency, solar energy, and/or low-income energy improvement projects.

Last updated: March 2020

Required Energy ActionsList All

We could not find information on whether the city requires building owners to conduct additional above-code energy actions.

Last updated: March 2020

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

Aurora has supported the research and development center SolarTAC, which has provided several workforce training opportunities.

Last updated: March 2020

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 5.5 out of 15 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Xcel (Public Service Company of Colorado), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary electric and natural gas utility for the City of Aurora. The State of Colorado requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS as well as efficiency requirements within demand-side management plans to be filed annually. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Colorado page of the State Database.

Aurora Water is the municipal utility that provides the City of Aurora with drinking water services, while the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District provides wastewater treatment and stormwater management.

Last Updated: March 2020

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2018, Xcel Energy reported 422,746 MWh of net electric savings at the meter, which represents 1.45% of its retail sales across the utility’s entire service jurisdiction, not only in Aurora. In 2018, Xcel spent $79,513,396 on energy efficiency programs, which represents 2.90% of its retail revenue.

In 2018, Xcel reported 6.05 MMtherms of net natural gas savings at the meter, which represents 0.51% of its retail sales across the utility’s service territory. In 2018, Xcel spent $15,424,453 on energy efficiency, which equates to $11.93 per residential customer. These savings figures cover Xcel’s entire service jurisdiction, not just the City of Aurora.

Xcel offers natural gas and electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and commercial/industrial customers.

At this time, the City of Aurora does not have a formal partnership with Xcel Energy in the form of a jointly developed or administered energy saving strategy, plan, or agreement. However, through its city franchise agreement, the city has access to resources to implement an energy saving strategy to make city facilities more energy efficient and conserving. The program is administered through custom rebates and other tools that bundle opportunities to upgrade equipment.

Last Updated: March 2020

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

Xcel Energy offers a portfolio of dual fuel programs to serve low-income residential customers, including the Single-Family Weatherization Program, the Low-Income Multifamily Weatherization Program, Low-Income Nonprofit Program, and Low-Income Energy Savings Kit Program. These programs provide no-cost weatherization measures through third-party product implementers. Measures include weatherstripping, insulation, replacement of inefficient furnaces and refrigerators, water efficiency measures, and installation of efficient lighting. Xcel Energy partners with the Colorado Energy Office and Energy Outreach Colorado, which actively work on low-income customer programs. Additionally, Xcel offers energy-savings kits to low-income customers. Xcel Energy’s low-income programs target high energy users and elderly customers and streamline eligibility through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Weatherization Assistance Program income qualifications.

In 2018, Xcel Energy saved 5,556 MWh and 0.74 MMtherms of energy from its low-income programs, while spending $3,779,035 on its electric low-income programs and $3,829,816 on its natural gas low-income programs. Xcel served 5,505 electric and 5,260 natural gas customers. Households served include those receiving energy-saving kits and those participating in weatherization programs.

Multifamily Programs

Xcel offers the Multifamily Weatherization Program. This comprehensive program provides funding for a wide variety of natural gas and electric equipment retrofits, process improvements, facility audits and studies for low-income multifamily buildings. The company's rebates supplement federal weatherization grants to produce incremental, cost-effective natural gas and electric savings. Each submitted project is evaluated using a custom analysis by the company's energy efficiency engineers to determine cost-effectiveness. In some cases, rebates for additional energy-saving equipment are also made available.

In 2018, Xcel Energy’s Multifamily program saved 5,628 MWh and 0.26 MMtherms of energy, while spending $1,232,569 on its electric multifamily programs and $706,534 on its natural gas multifamily programs. Xcel Energy served 227 electric and 126 natural gas customers. Customers served do not include those who also received low-income weatherization.

Last Updated: March 2020

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

Xcel provides the free automatic upload of monthly energy bill data to ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager accounts, including aggregated whole building data for buildings with four or more tenants. The City of Aurora does not advocate for better access to utility data for ratepayers or the establishment of data-sharing agreements between the city and its utilities.

Last Updated: March 2020

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2018, Xcel Energy provided $460,801 in incentives for the installation of 21,753 kW of new distributed solar systems. This equates to $21/kW installed. These incentives were installed through Xcel’s Solar*Rewards program, which offers incentives for residential and commercial solar installations. The program is broken into a Small and Medium-sized offering, with $0.005/kWh provided for installations of 0.05 kW–25 kW and $0.0425/kWh for installations between 25.01 kW–500 kW. In 2018, the small program installed 8,218 kW and the medium program installed 13,535 kW.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

At this time, we cannot confirm whether or not the city of Aurora participates in activities or strategies to help spur or encourage more utility-scale or distributed renewable energy generation from its local electric utility, such as testifying in public utility commission proceedings related to renewable energy, creating a formal partnership with the electric utility on renewable generation, or participating in utility planning efforts to increase renewable generation.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

In 2019, Aurora Water entered a partnership with Xcel Energy to provide financial incentives for energy efficient and low water use commercial laundry machines. The annual water savings from each machine is projected to be 1.23 million gallons for a 400 lb. capacity washer. Aurora Water strives to achieve a 10% reduction in GPCD by 2040.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

Aurora Water has studied energy efficiency measures for many years. In 2011, a formal Energy Master Plan study was commissioned to identify cost-effective energy saving measures for AW’s facilities. Among the desired outcomes of the study was to establish a baseline carbon footprint and a methodology for long term measurement and tracking and to evaluate the potential for renewable energy and energy recovery. The Energy Master Plan study identified multiple programs and projects that have been implemented over a multiyear timespan. These projects include increased pump motor efficiency and replacement with more efficient parts, pump automation, major lighting upgrades, and creation of a power monitoring dashboard across all systems city-wide, along with facility-specific upgrades and installations. The Energy Master Plan continues to be updated and implemented, with a proposal for installation of 1,440 kW of solar panels over a buried finished water reservoir in 2020-21.

Metro Wastewater Reclamation District, which treats Aurora's sewage, uses methane gas from the solids digestion processed as fuel to make enough electricity to power almost 5,000 homes.

Last Updated: March 2020

Transportation
Score: 7.5 out of 30 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

 Sustainable Transportation Plan

The City of Aurora does not have a standalone transportation plan, but it does have a Sustainability Plan with strategies to reduce transportation emissions and energy use. In addition to the sustainability plan, the city's 2018 Comprehensive Plan defines current and future high frequency transit networks, primary bike routes, and off-street trails.  The street typicals defined in the Northeast Area Transportation Study (2018) all feature  buffered bike lanes or separated bike lanes.  This area is rapidly developing, so the resulting roadway network will have a dense network of comfortable and protected bike infrastructure.  The street typicals with buffered bike lanes or separated bike lanes are currently being integrated into city-wide roadway design & construction specifications. 

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

At this time, the City does not have a codified vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

We could not determine if the City tracks VMT or GHG numbers.

Last Updated: March 2020

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

The purpose of the City Center district is to establish an identity for the city through the establishment of a full-service central district with business, residential, employment, and government activities. The district is intended to create a unique place by encouraging the use of special land planning principles and high-quality design. The City Center district is created in recognition of the economic and cultural advantages of an intensive, planned, mixed-use City Center of sufficient size to provide intensive non-residential activities and high-density residential uses.

The city's updated 2018 Comprehensive Plan "Aurora Places" defines and identifies nine transit oriented development  areas around light rail stations, and completed individual station area plans for each location.  The city's zoning code, the 2019 Unified Development Ordinance has a "Mixed Used - Transit Orientated Development District" with a stated purpose that includes "reduce reliance on the automobile and encourage the use of transit".

Residential Parking Policies

The City requires 2 parking spaces per dwelling unity.

The city's recently updated zoning code, the 2019 Unified Development Ordinance.  The update restructured parking requirements for several land uses, including industrial land uses, from a per square footage amount to a peak employee amount. This has decreased the amount of required parking throughout new developements or redevelopments in the city.   The new MU-TOD zoning has a parking requirement of 0.85 spaces per unit.  In addition, developers can utilize parking incentives such as being near a high-frequency transit line, providing more than required bicycle parking, or providing public EV charging stations, to qualify for as much as a 30 percent decrease in their total parking requirements. 

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

Several of the city's zoning classifications have minimum required densities, include 60 dwelling units / acre in MU TODA (Core), 20 dwelling units / acre in MU-TOD (Edge), and 40 dwelling units / acre in MU-A. The city has removed maximum residential densitiies from most zoning districts.

Last Updated: March 2020

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

At this time, the City does not have a codified mode share target for trips within the city. 

 

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

No progress has been achieved, as there are no targets in place.

Complete Streets

At this time, the City of Aurora does not have a complete streets policy.

Car Sharing

The city's updated 2018 Comprehensive Plan, Aurora Places, identifies locations throughout the city for mobility hubs. At these mobility hubs, developers are required to provide a combination of transit accomodations, on-street or off-street carshare parking, public EV charging stations, and secure long-term bicycle storage. In the Unified Development Ordinance (i.e. zoning code), developers can reduce the number of required off-street parking spaces for residential and commercial users by 10 percent when developing any property within a point-to-point care or bicycle share service area.

 

Bike Sharing

The city previously had two bike share operators within the city.  Lime Bike had a permit allowing 2,000+ bikes to be deployed, Ofo had a permit allowing 501 to 1000 bikes to be deployed.  The operators both left the city in August 2018 (Ofo global business collapsed, Lime chose to focus their operations on the Denver market).  We currently are accepting applications for dockless mobility companies, and know of one company preparing to submit an application, but the city is not served by a bikeshare at this time. 

Last Updated: March 2020

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

We could not determine how much per capita Aurora spends on transit.

Access to Transit Services

The Transit Connectivity Index measures transit service levels. It is based on the number of bus routes and train stations within walking distance for households scaled by frequency of service. The City of Aurora’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 6.4, putting it in the fourth highest category (5-6.99) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2020

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

The City partnered with Nissan to offer half off of a Nissan LEAF SV in November 2018.

In 2016, 2017, and 2018, the City partnered with a local Nissan dealership to offer specially negotiated pricing on all Leaf models. Over 200 Nissan vehicles have been sold through that program. In 2017, the City also partnered with a BMW dealership to offer special pricing. In 2019, the Nissan dealership offered special pricing again without involvement from the City, showing the maturity of the City’s special program and continued demand for the vehicles.    

State and federal tax credits along with price discounts and rebates offered by Xcel Energy and the auto dealership, Tynan’s Nissan Aurora, ratcheted the price down by $19,500. (2019)

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

The City of Aurora currently does not offer incentives for installing private or public EV charging infrastructure.

EV Charging Locations

The City has 27 charging stations available for public use, equivalent to 7.217 stations per 100,000 people.

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of Aurora has no incentives or requirements available for the installation of private or public EV charging infrastructure powered by renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.).

Last Updated: March 2020

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Aurora does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place, nor does it have any policies that address freight efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2019

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

The city’s new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) added a land use definition for “Affordable Housing Structure”, described as a multifamily structure that received public funding to ensure that some portion of the building is dedicated as affordable housing. This land use is permitted as a multifamily development in the MU-TOD zoning district as well as other districts in key transit corridors. The Affordable Housing Structure designation offers relief from various zoning requirements and development standards, including increased building height and building length; reduction in masonry building materials requirements; exemption from garage/carport requirements; and a reduction in required parking from 1.0 spaces per unit to 0.85 spaces per unit.

Additionally, the UDO converted most previously commercial districts into mixed-use districts. This change significantly expands opportunities for residential land uses, including the Affordable Housing Structure and other innovative residential types, like townhouses, cottage, and co-housing developments, into transit-served centers and corridors.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

Aurora does not currently provide rebates or incentives to low-income residents for efficient transportation options. That being said, the City's dockless mobility permit program requires operators to serve an area in northwest Aurora that traditionally have a high proportion of low-income or vulnerable residents. The city also requires dockless mobility operators to include with the permit application a plan to provide an equitable mobility sharing service for patrons without smart phone or are unbanked.  

Last Updated: March 2020