Energy Code Trainings
- 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.
Energy Codes in Colorado
Colorado passed a law in 2019, House Bill 19-1260, 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 adopting or updating any other building code. The state law notes that jurisdictions may make any amendments to the energy code that the deem appropriate for local conditions, so long as the amendments "do not decrease the effectiveness or energy efficiency of the energy code."
Colorado has no statewide building code; building codes are primarily adopted and enforced locally except where noted below.
- The State Buildings Program, part of the Office of the State Architect is responsible for establishing minimum building codes for all construction by state agencies on state-owned or state lease-purchased properties or facilities.
- The Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, adopts building codes for the construction of public K-12 schools and junior colleges.
- The Division of Housing’s Building Codes & Standards Section, part of the Department of Local Affairs, enforces codes for manufactured homes built to HUD codes standards, adopts and enforces building codes for factory-built housing (also known as modular housing), and applies installation standards to all manufactured housing (including HUD, factory-built/modular). The Division also adopts and enforces building codes for site-built hotels, motels, and multifamily buildings in jurisdictions with no codes.
CEO has compiled a list of Colorado Building and Energy Codes by Jurisdiction. More than 2.7 million Coloradans, or 48% of the state's population, live in a jurisdiction that has adopted the 2018 IECC. More than 60 jurisdictions have adopted it so far, with many more in the process or under consideration. More than 4.9 million Coloradans, or 86% of the state's population, live in one of the 156 jurisdictions that have adopted a high-efficiency energy code—the 2018, 2015, or 2012 IECC. If you notice an error in codes by jurisdiction list or would like to notify the Colorado Energy Office of an update to your jurisdiction's codes, please email us.
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. The 2019 legislation also encourages jurisdictions to report to the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) any updates to their building and energy codes within a month of the change. CEO created this form for jurisdictions to report this information.
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.
Why Building Energy Codes are Important
Buildings account for about 40% of energy used in the United States and represent the fourth largest source of emissions here in Colorado. 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. The 2018 and 2021 IECC are cost-effective for both single-family and low-rise multifamily residential buildings in Colorado and results in a net-positive cash flow in year one. According to a study from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the 2021 IECC "provides statewide energy savings of 8.6% across all climate zones compared to the 2015 IECC. This equates to $156 of annual utility bill savings for the average Colorado household. It will reduce statewide CO2 emissions over 30 years by 20,301,000 metric tons."
Supporting the Energy Efficiency Workforce
The Colorado Energy Office, through a partnership with Energy Smart Colorado, provides partial scholarship reimbursements for individuals in mountain, rural, or other underserved communities in Colorado to maintain or obtain their Building Performance Institute (BPI), RESNET HERS Rater or Rating Field Inspector (RFI), or ASHRAE certifications through training, exams, or continuing education courses. Small grants or reimbursements are also available to BPI, RESNET, or ASHRAE-certified professionals to assist in the purchase, maintenance, calibration, or upgrade of energy testing equipment. This funding supports a geographically diverse energy efficiency workforce with a broad skill set, enables regional organizations to conduct residential and commercial building energy assessments to identify energy-saving opportunities, and empowers local governments to adopt advanced building energy codes.