Building Energy Codes
State Law Sets New Building Energy Code Requirements
Colorado House Bill 19-1260 updated the 2007 state law that established a minimum building energy code. Effective August 2, 2019, the law requires local jurisdictions in Colorado to adopt and enforce one of the three most recent versions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) upon updating any other building code. Jurisdictions do not need to modify their timeline for adopting new building codes; they simply need to adopt one of the three most recent versions of the energy code at the same time they adopt or update other building codes, if they have them.
The legislation also requires every Board of County Commissioners and every governing body of a municipality which has enacted a building code to report the current version of their building and energy codes to the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) by January 1, 2020. CEO has created this form for jurisdictions to report this information. Alternatively, you may report this information by emailing Kim Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org. Going forward, jurisdictions are encouraged to report to the Colorado Energy Office any updates to their building and energy codes within a month of the change.
Training and code adoption assistance
CEO has no rule-making authority to make jurisdictions adopt any code. However, in order to assist jurisdictions with code adoption, CEO provides energy code education at no cost to local governments and stakeholders. We provide in-depth, in-person trainings across the state as well as one-hour webinars taught by code experts on a variety of residential and commercial code topics. In-person training is available upon request and can be scheduled for local government staff such as code officials, inspectors, and planners as well as other building industry stakeholders including builders, designers, engineers, contractors, and architects.
CEO also provides technical assistance to jurisdictions to support the adoption of new codes and code enforcement. This assistance is provided at no cost to jurisdictions and is customized to their needs. Assistance may include:
- A review of a jurisdiction’s current code and policies
- Education for stakeholders about the major changes in new codes compared to the jurisdiction’s existing codes
- Recommendations for proposed code amendments tailored to the jurisdiction
- Subject-matter expertise to answer questions and address concerns about code-related issues, for example, in city council or county commissioner public hearings
- A review of a jurisdiction’s existing building code implementation and enforcement policies and proposed changes that align with the new codes, as amended and adopted by the city or county.
To request code training or technical assistance, please contact Kim Burke at email@example.com.
Why Building Energy Codes are Important
Buildings account for about 40% of energy used in the United States. Building energy codes establish minimum construction or major renovation requirements that enable buildings to use energy more efficiently. But building energy codes do more than improve the efficiency of buildings; they also help ensure the safety, durability, sustainability, and affordability of homes and buildings in your jurisdiction. Based on building science and physics principles, life-safety aspects of the energy code include moisture management (avoiding mold, mildew, and rot), indoor air quality, increased fire protection, and protection during severe weather.
Did you know that energy codes are the only building codes with a return on investment? That’s because building to newer energy codes pays building owners back by way of reduced operating and utility costs. In fact, moving from the 2009 to the 2015 or 2018 IECC saves an average of $4,491 on a 30-year mortgage here in Colorado, with a net-positive cash flow in under a year.
Energy Codes in Colorado
Approximately 76% of Colorado’s population lives in jurisdictions that have adopted the 2012, 2015, or 2018 IECC. If you take into account jurisdictions that are planning to adopt the 2015 or 2018, then that figure jumps to 84%. For more information, see a list of Energy Codes in Colorado Jurisdictions.
CEO recommends that jurisdictions update their building codes on a regular cycle, typically every three years, which is how often the International Code Council updates its model codes. Incremental changes are much more manageable to adopt when codes are updated on a regular cycle as opposed to skipping several editions of the code. Failing to update building codes regularly can be challenging since there aren’t resources that compare much older codes to newer ones and changes add up when codes are updated more than a decade apart.
CEO is a member of the Colorado Energy Code Compliance Collaborative. The Collaborative consists of code officials, builders, energy raters, utilities, energy advocates, and other stakeholders who are interested in working together to improve and advance energy code compliance in Colorado. New members are always welcome! For more information or to join the Collaborative, please see this fact sheet.