Zero Emissions Hub: Codes and Resources

This resource hub pulls together information from Denver and pairs it with resources from across the country to help building owners, professionals, and residents:

  • Learn how to navigate 2022 Denver Building and Fire Code and the 2022 Denver Green Code
  • Understand the importance of building electrification and energy efficiency
  • See examples of successful Zero Emissions building projects in a variety of building types and uses

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2022 Building Code Updates

Denver worked for over 18 months to develop a new building and fire code. In January 2023, Denver City Council adopted the 2022 Denver Building and Fire Code and the 2022 Denver Green Code. These new codes apply to all new construction, remodels, and building renovations. The codes also provide pathways for building projects to be more efficient and comfortable. The building code is based on the 2021 series of international codes. It also includes local amendments tailored to Denver’s unique climate, context, and goals. The 2022 Denver Building and Fire Code and 2022 Denver Green Code are effective as of May 1, 2023

2022 Denver Energy Code High-Level Overview


Denver Building Regulations Timeline

Below is a timeline of electrification and building performance-related goals and requirements for new and existing buildings and homes in Denver. 

A timeline showing the requirements and goals for buildings and homes between 2023 and 2050.

Note: this graphic is intended to be a high-level visual aid. For more detailed information on requirements, visit the corresponding webpages:  

Why does Denver have the goal for all new buildings and homes to achieve Zero Emissions by 2030?  

Greenhouse gas emissions trap heat and contribute to climate change. Buildings and Homes are responsible for 64% of Denver’s the air-polluting greenhouse gas emissions. However, a building or home that is Zero Emissions does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions once the local grid is decarbonized. Zero Emissions new buildings are:

  • Highly efficient
  • All-electric
  • Grid resilient and responsive to the grid
  • Powered by systemwide renewable energy

 Xcel Energy provides all the electricity that Denver purchases. Xcel Energy is on track to reduce carbon emissions from their electrical grid by 85% by 2030 by producing electricity with renewables, such as solar and wind. Since Zero Emissions new buildings and homes are all-electric, these buildings only use only electricity to heat, cool, and operate. They do not rely on the use of fossil fuels. These all-electric buildings can take advantage of the work Xcel Energy is doing to create a cleaner renewable grid. This is not the case if the building still uses natural gas or other fossil fuels. 

The chart below shows Xcel Energy’s grid moving towards lower carbon emissions by 2030. This is known as "decarbonizing the grid." The closer the line gets to 100% carbon emission reduction, the less greenhouse gas emissions Colorado’s grid produces. Through Senate Bill 19-236, the Colorado Legislature has required electric utilities to decarbonize the electric grid by 80% by 2030.  Xcel Energy has voluntarily exceeded that target and filed a plan that achieves at least an 85% emissions reduction by 2030.  

A graph that shows Xcel Energy's path to 85% emissions reduction by 2030  

There are also many additional benefits to Zero Emissions homes and buildings, such as:  

  • Improved indoor air quality
  • More comfortable buildings
  • Better health outcomes
  • Lower energy costs
  • Improved equity
  • Better returns for investors 

How Do We Make Buildings All-Electric? 

Heat pumps are a part of the solution. More efficient all-electric heating and cooling equipment, like heat pumps, are available. Heat pumps:  

  • Keep your home or building warm in the winter,
  • Keep your home or building cool in the summer
  • Are two-to-four times more efficient than gas or older electric equipment.  

Cold climate heat pumps are readily available. Cold climate heat pumps can maintain a higher efficiency and capacity at lower temperatures and work great in Colorado’s climate. They can maintain more than 70% of their capacity at temperatures as low as 5°F.  And many can operate effectively even when it is -10 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  

Learn More about Heat Pumps

Get Your Questions Answered

Community Planning and Development is your go-to source for any questions related to the building code. Speak with code experts who can walk you through specific code requirements, discuss plan review, permitting, and any other code questions.

Contact Community Planning and Development

Denver's Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency should be your go-to for questions about these resources, incentive or financing programs, or this website. We can get you connected to a program manager to walk you through program applications and answer your questions.

Contact Denver Climate Action