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.
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 Net Zero Energy 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 Net Zero Energy does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
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. Net Zero Energy buildings and homes are all-electric. This means these buildings only use only electricity to heat, cool, and operate, rather than use 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.
There are also many additional benefits to Net Zero Energy 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.
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