Building and Energy Codes
Why Energy Codes?
Energy codes are beneficial beyond lowering energy use in residential and commercial buildings, and thereby utility bills, because energy use also impacts our economy and the environment. Energy Codes provide builders with minimum building standards helping assure new homeowners that their home will be to these standards. For consumers, current energy codes also provide buildings that are comfortable. Fort Collins found that the energy portion of their building code resulted in a 16% improvement in energy demand.
Because Colorado is a home rule state, city and county jurisdictions have adopted a variety of energy codes for both residential and commercial buildings. While a state-wide energy code is unlikely, increasing the uniformity of building energy codes across jurisdictions makes it easier and, thereby more cost-effective, for builders and contractors to construct residential and commercial buildings.
A 1998 report by the Alliance to Save Energy (Opportunity Lost: Better Energy for Affordable Housing and A Cleaner Environment), ranked Colorado 47th nationally in terms of energy use in single-family and multi-family buildings. Improving the adoption, compliance and enforcement of energy codes in Colorado, therefore, presents a tremendous opportunity for consumer savings. According to the report, "...the high potential for savings in these states likely stem from cold winters and/or substantial codes improvement potential." Substantial environmental benefits in the form of improved air quality are also available to Coloradans because of our large energy savings potential combined with our reliance on coal for electricity.
Nearly 43,000 new single-family homes are built each year in Colorado. Building these homes according to recognized energy codes promises tremendous savings for homeowners, improves the quality of our housing stock and makes housing more affordable.
What is the energy code in your local jurisdiction? The Colorado legislature adopted a minimum residential and commercial energy conservation code back in 1977 for those jurisdictions that adopted a building code. In the past 30 years, a vast number of improvements have been made to energy codes that focus on cost-effective means to improving home energy efficiency. Nationally recognized codes are revised regularly as technology, construction practices, and market forces improve the way buildings use energy.
Most jurisdictions have not adopted an energy code for residential or commercial buildings. Of those that have, most default to the 1977 Colorado State Code, while others have adopted their own local code or a version of the Model Energy Code. For more information on the Model Energy Code and its successor the International Energy Conservation Code, click here.
E-Star Colorado has surveyed building departments to identify residential and commercial energy codes that are in affect across Colorado. This information is posted on this website and provides information on what energy codes your jurisdiction is using as well as who to contact in your jurisdiction.
In January of 1996, a 10-member technical advisory committee convened to produce energy guidelines for commercial and high-rise buildings in Colorado. The committee was compromised of members from the commercial building community -- including architects, mechanical engineers, building owners/managers, lighting engineers, energy managers, building code officials, developers, financiers, electrical contractors, and utility companies. The committee’s recommendations for Colorado can be found in the following documents:
Want to Know More?
E-Star Colorado is currently providing information and assistance to builders and building departments on improving energy code adoption, compliance and enforcement. For more information, contact Matt Thornberry at E-Star Colorado at (303) 482-2072 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.