New Construction Electrification Pilots

Overview

New funding is now available for additional commercial projects! Denver has funding remaining to support approximately five additional projects. We are seeking all-electric new commercial buildings, such as office, retail, restaurant, warehouse, etc. Interested project teams should apply today!

Denver is offering incentives for 100% all-electric new buildings and homes. Choosing electric equipment over natural gas equipment will reduce Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change we are already experiencing. All-electric new buildings and homes can be cheaper to build and operate with highly efficient technology like heat pumps. 

Designing and building new space and water heating systems comes with a learning curve, so we’re here to help. Denver offers the following incentives to help our community create a healthier and more sustainable built environment. Funding is available for both design incentives and pilot projects (only one application is needed if you're applying for both).

Design Incentives

Funding is limited to approximately five commercial demonstration projects (contingent on available funding).

  • $5,000 to $25k per project* in funding for architectural firms, MEP firms, and builders interested in designing all-electric new buildings and homes. 
  • Seeking drawing sets and as-built drawings for all-electric new buildings that can be utilized as examples for future projects. Identifying information can be redacted.
  • Examples of drawings may include but are not limited to:
    • mechanical, electric, and plumbing plans
    • mechanical notes and schedules
    • mechanical specifications, and 
    • mechanical standard details that demonstrate the design for an all-electric building.
  • Denver would especially like to see all-electric building designs from Denver or Colorado-based firms and/or Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) firms.  

Apply Today!

Pilot Projects

Funding is limited to approximately five commercial demonstration projects (contingent on available funding).

  • $10,000 to $75k per project* in funding for builders or property owners interested in using city funds to serve as an all-electric pilot or demonstration building project construction. 
  • Specific project types could include restaurants, hotels, retail, warehouse facilities, or other commercial building types.
  • Denver would especially like to see projects from Denver-based firms, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) firms, and/or affordable housing developers.  
  • Equity Focus: 50% of the pilot project funds will be prioritized for affordable housing or otherwise serve or benefit under-resourced communities in Denver.

Apply for new building incentives if you want to fund your project and be featured as a case study on how to build all-electric buildings in Denver.

Apply Today!

Generally, projects using higher efficiency products like air/ground source heat pumps and central heat pump water heaters will be prioritized over projects using less efficient products like electric resistance space or water heaters. Additionally, priority will be given to building types and/or electrification systems that are not currently enrolled in the pilot program to ensure diversity of building electrification projects.  

*Note: Available funding is intended to help with the cost difference and learning curve to transition from mixed fuel to all-electric design, equipment, and installation. Projects funded and the amount of funding will be at the discretion of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency staff, and will be based on projects costs, complexity, and replicability.  

Lower ranges are intended for smaller projects in smaller buildings, whereas the upper limits represent larger projects in larger buildings. 

Meet the Pilot Projects

These pilot projects showcase all-electric new buildings in a variety of building types, sizes, and uses to show how a new building can be built all-electric in Denver. The Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency centers its work around equity, so 50% of pilot funds were reserved for equity priority buildings such as affordable housing or frontline human service providers. To date, 76% of allocated funds are for equity priority buildings.  

Below are the leaders in Denver’s all-electric new building movement.

Disclaimer: this information is subject to change as projects advance through development, but all funded pilot- projects will be 100% all-electric. 

Multifamily Building Projects

Krisana

Address: 4343 E. Arkansas Ave

Equity Priority Building: Yes

Description: 151 affordable housing units.

Mechanical Systems: Cold-climate heat pump HVAC system and in-unit heat pump water heaters. 

More information

2915 Welton

 Address: 2915 Welton St 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 50 affordable condos with a neighborhood grocery at the ground level 

Mechanical Systems: Air source heat pump HVAC system and a water to air central heat pump water heating system.

More Information

 

 

The Irving at Mile High

Address: 3270 W Colfax Ave. 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 104-unit affordable units

Mechanical Systems: Packaged cold-climate terminal heat pumps in units, in-unit heat pump water heaters and on/offsite solar  

3840 York St.

Address: 3840 York St 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 75-unit affordable senior LGBTQ housing development located in Denver’s Clayton neighborhood. 

Mechanical Systems: Cold-climate heat pump HVAC system and in-unit heat pump water heaters 

1936 Grove St.

Address: 1936 Grove St. 

Equity Priority Building: No 

Description: 28-unit urban infill market rate MF project near Sloan’s Lake.  

Mechanical Systems: Ductless air source heat pump HVAC system and central heat pump water heating system  

More Information

3495 Wynkoop

Address: 3495 Wynkoop 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 84-unit mass-timber high rise multifamily building in the RiNo district 

Mechanical Systems: In-unit VRP systems for HVAC and in-unit electric resistance water heating 

More Information  

 

Commercial/Office Projects

Bluff Lake Nature Center

Address: 11255 E MLK Jr Blvd 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: BLNC Visitor Center consisting of 3 buildings and 6,000 sq. ft. of conditioned office space, multipurpose rooms, and an outdoor workshop space. The project is targeting net zero energy, and to be a model for other non-profits to follow. 

Mechanical Systems: Cold-climate heat pump HVAC system, heat pump water heater, and solar array. 

More Information

Las Bodegas - Latino Cultural Arts Center

Address: 1935 W 12th Ave 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: Major retrofit/overhaul of a 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse building into an eco-focused cultural arts center that will serve as a learning space and community gathering venue.  

Mechanical Systems: Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) HVAC system with energy recovery ventilator for HVAC and a heat pump water heater. Project is also installing rooftop solar with a battery storage system. 

Illegal Pete's

Address: 4455 W Colfax Ave 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 3,500 sq. ft. all-electric restaurant striving for net zero energy and to be a model for other restaurants to follow. 

Mechanical Systems: Split air source heat pump HVAC system, ground source heat pump hot water system, and rooftop solar 

Soka Gakkai International

Address: 1450 N Speer Blvd 

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 16,000 sq. ft. assembly space with offices near downtown Denver 

Mechanical Systems: Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) HVAC system with energy recovery ventilator and an electric dedicated outside air source system for HVAC and a heat pump water heater. Project is also considering rooftop solar. 

Residential Projects

Stuart Street Home - Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 1,500 sq. ft. affordable single-family home developed by Habitat as of model for how the organization could build all-electric.  

Mechanical Systems: Mini-split air source heat pump HVAC system and heat pump water heater. 

Stuart Street ADU - Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 850 sq. ft. affordable accessory dwelling unit (ADU) developed by Habitat as of model for how the organization could build all-electric.  

Mechanical Systems: Mini-split air source heat pump HVAC system and heat pump water heater 

Gilpin Street Home

Equity Priority Building: No 

Description: 4000 sq. ft. single-family home for a single parent who is a healthcare hero. Homeowner is aiming for net zero or as close as possible. 

Mechanical Systems: Air source heat pump HVAC system and electric resistance tank water heater with rooftop solar. 

Multi-Unit Residential Projects

redT Townhome

Address: 1642 N Lafayette St. 

Equity Priority Building: No 

Description: 1500 sq. ft. urban infill market rate townhome project near Cheesman Park. Project team has a goal of LEED Gold for Homes certification 

Mechanical Systems: Air source heat pump HVAC system and heat pump water heater 

E. Dakota Ave Duplex - Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver

Equity Priority Building: Yes 

Description: 1400 sq. ft. affordable duplex unit developed by Habitat as of model for how the organization could build all-electric. We are funding two of these units.

Mechanical Systems: Mini-split air source heat pump HVAC system and heat pump water heater. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the intent of this funding?

The intent of this funding is to:

  • Demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of all-electric buildings with local examples
  • Show the process of how all-electric buildings can be designed, built, and operated in Denver 
  • Pair local examples with case studies and other resources to assist with the shift to all-electric buildings for new construction 

Is Denver going to require my building to be 100% all-electric?

The City and County of Denver is not currently considering mandates explicitly focused on small gas appliances. However there are individual and community health implications associated with some of these appliances, and less harmful alternatives are available.

Note: To be eligible for Denver's electrification incentives, buildings will need to be all-electric.   

Are there rebates or funding opportunities for heat pumps or other electrification equipment?

Yes, Denver has multiple incentives and financing opportunities for electrification equipment. 

Can the electric grid withstand Denver transitioning to all-electric buildings?

Denver’s electric grid should not need significant upgrades to accommodate medium or even high levels of electrification adoption.  Coordinating the electrification transition with Denver’s electric and gas provider, Xcel Energy, will help Denver plan for and encourage smart, efficient electric appliances that mitigate impacts on the electric grid. See the Renewable Heating and Cooling Plan for more information.

Isn’t gas heating a more reliable option if the power goes out?

Both gas and electric heating systems are affected by power outages. Natural gas furnaces do not work when the power is out. Natural gas furnaces use an electric starter to ignite and require an electric-powered fan to move heat through the home.  

Can heat pumps maintain a comfortable heating level when outdoor temperatures are below freezing?

Yes, see this Minnesota study on cold climate air-source heat pumps as an example and a testament to heat pump ability to provide efficient heat down to -20F. More information is also available in Denver's Renewable Heating and Cooling Plan

What is the City and County of Denver doing to ensure Denver has a trained workforce capable of building electrification?

Our team has developed a webinar library with training resources to help with the building electrification learning curve. Denver is also investing in workforce training and development through the Climate Protection Fund.

What are the benefits of all-electric buildings?

The transition to renewable heating and cooling will cost-effectively benefit Denverites. Benefits include providing air conditioning as temperatures rise, reducing children’s exposure to carbon monoxide, and rapidly mitigating climate change by lowering potent methane emissions.  

  • Add Jobs: An analysis by Inclusive Economics forecasts that building electrification for both space and water heating will result in 643 to 1,047 jobs in Denver within the next 30 years.
  • Proven, Reliable Technology: Heat pumps have been in use since the 1800s in American refrigerators, and for decades to heat homes and buildings in Asia and Europe. Heat pumps move heat instead of making it, achieving 250-300% efficiency (100% efficiency is based on a source that makes heat).
  • Contributes to Innovate Grid Management: Heat pump water heating can help utility providers further manage the electric grid and align electric energy use with availability of renewable electricity. Heat pump water heating can store energy in the form of hot water when surplus power is available.
  • Promotes Greater Equity: Transitioning to renewable heating and cooling and all-electric buildings can provide air conditioning to those who lack it today, improve resident and building safety by eliminating the potential for gas leaks, and lower exposure to indoor air pollutants.
  • Can Reduce Utility Costs: An RMI study found that an all-electric home has 2% lower annual utility costs than mixed-fuel home.
  • Is Cost Effective: When existing furnaces, air conditioning compressors, or hot water heaters fail, most homes and buildings can find an electric equivalent at a similar cost for both installation and operation, as a new gas system.
  • Improves Air Quality: Fossil gas burned to heat homes and buildings results in 20% of Denver’s greenhouse gas emissions. As Xcel Energy's electric grid moves to 100% carbon free power, electric heating and cooling provide a clear path to reducing emissions and improving air quality.
  • Fights Climate Change: 97% of building's greenhouse gas emissions come from space and water heating. Replacing gas equipment with renewable energy-powered electric equipment helps slow down and reduce the worst impending impacts of climate change.

Will an all-electric building cause a large increase in my utility bill?

No, an RMI study found that all-electric homes have 2% lower annual utility costs than mixed-fuel homes. A literature review of multiple studies found that all-electric multifamily buildings were 1% cheaper to build than traditional construction and had operating costs that were 14% lower. In commercial buildings, upfront costs were 8% lower for all-electric and 3-9% higher for operating costs. However, this analysis was conducted before the recent increase in gas prices. 

If my project has all-electric space and water heating, but uses gas for cooking can I still qualify for incentive funds?

New building electrification incentives are reserved for projects that are 100% all-electric, meaning there are no gas lines connected to or extended to the development.

 

Grid Reinforcement Support for Projects

We recognize that a select few Pilot Program projects have encountered additional costs for grid reinforcements. This ensures that there is enough electrical service to the site and surrounding area. To ensure the success of these Pilot Projects, we have allocated additional funding specifically to help to defray grid reinforcement costs. Equity Priority Buildings may also receive funding support for grid reinforcements, at the program's discretion.  

Grid reinforcement funding is intended to act as immediate support for all-electric projects that encounter grid reinforcement challenges and costs. However, we intend for this to be a temporary and interim solution while the city works with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Our goal is to ensure that regulated utilities identify and propose solutions to building electrification barriers, rather than passing those costs to building projects. 

Pilot Program participants can contact us to request grid reinforcement funding support. New Equity Priority Buildings that are not enrolled in the Pilot Program can request grid reinforcement funding support by completing the Electrification Pilot Funding for New Construction application.