Denver city skyline under a pink sunset

As of May 1st, all new projects submitted to plan check in Denver, Colorado, for the first time are subject to the 2022 Denver green and energy codes. Here are some key points to remember:

Denver Green Code
  • Applies to all new construction projects and the below types of renovation projects
    • Commercial major renovations with one or more of the following:
      • 100,000 sf of gross floor area or greater; or
      • 50% improvement or more of the existing project’s gross floor area.
    • Residential major renovations with one or more of the following:
      • Work areas exceeding 50% of the building’s gross floor area; or
      • An addition containing the lesser of the following:
        • Gross floor area of 750 sf or greater; or improvements that are greater than 50% of the existing project’s floor area.
  • A small number of measures in each of the following six major categories must be satisfied:
    • Site Sustainability
    • Water Use Efficiency
    • Energy Efficiency
    • Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
    • Materials and Resources
    • Construction and Plans for Operation
    • Choose those that best align with the existing design, then pursue measures that are no/low cost.
Denver Energy Code
  • Prescriptive values will rule the day. Your project can follow the minimum prescriptive requirements to meet the energy code; however, whole building energy modeling (ASHRAE 90.1-2019, Appendix G) is permitted, which allows your project to value engineer certain systems. Performance modeling allows for more flexibility in design and hard cost savings as long as your energy budget is met.
  • Space heating equipment that uses gas or electric resistance will not be permitted for commercial or multifamily projects. Electric heat pump systems will likely be the primary source of heating for these projects moving forward.
  • New single-family homes and townhomes must install solar photovoltaic systems. There are exceptions for full electrification and increased efficiencies through envelope and MEP systems.

These are only a few of the changes Denver will see under the new code cycle. If your office would like additional training on the Denver Green Code or the Denver Energy Code, please reach out to Moe Fakih or Robyn Vettraino at VCA Green.

Moe Fakih, Principal

Robyn Vettraino, Principal