Denver Green Code
Taking action both to mitigate climate change, and to adapt to impacts of a changing climate, is critical to supporting a bright future for the Denver community. The Denver Green Code is based on the International Green Construction Code. Denver first adopted the green code on a voluntary basis in 2019. Starting in May 2023, the city will begin requiring commercial and multifamily development to meet some provisions from this code, while allowing projects the flexibility to choose which specific provisions to implement.
The Denver Green Code contains 116 provisions, organized under six key areas of impact:
- Site Sustainability
- Water Use
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Materials and Resources
- Construction and Plans for Operation
Commercial and Multifamily Development
The Denver Green Code applies to projects in two ways:
- Limited, mandatory use for all new commercial or multifamily projects and major renovations starting May 1, 2023
- Voluntary, enhanced use for commercial or multifamily project teams interested in providing higher benefits and significant leadership for Denver’s community. Residential project teams also have the opportunity to use the Denver Green Code voluntarily.
Limited, Mandatory Use
Project teams are encouraged to gain familiarity with all Denver Green Code provisions. Mandatory requirements for commercial projects are very flexible to allow project teams to choose a small number of provisions from each of the six key areas of impact (above) that best align with opportunities unique to each property.
The minimum requirements for commercial projects are outlined in Table 101.4.1 in the Denver Green Code. Shown below, this table specifies the number of provisions within each chapter that projects must meet. Projects have discretion over which provisions they implement, provided the meet the required quantity for each chapter.
|Table 101.4.1 - Limited, Mandatory Use
Quantity of Provisions Required
||Major Renovations, Commercial
||Scope and Administration: Ecological Impact Statement (EIS)
||Residential Energy [RE]
||Site Sustainability [SS]
||Water Use Efficiency [WE]
||Commercial Energy [EE]
||Indoor Environmental Quality [EQ]
||Materials and Resources [MR]
||Construction Plans for Operation [CX]
||Chapter 1: An Ecological Impact Statement (EIS) may be submitted as a substitution provision to satisfy one required provision from any single qualifying chapter. It may not be substituted for more than one qualifying provision.
||If less than 20% of the site is disturbed, then Chapter 5 Site Sustainability provisions are not required.
||No criteria associated with this item
Voluntary, Enhanced Use
On a voluntary basis, any project may choose to use one of the four enhanced options below. These are described in more detail in Section 101.4.2 of the 2022 Denver Green Code.
- Option 1: As-written, or
- Option 2: LEED Platinum, or
- Option 3: Zero Net Energy + All Electric, or
- Option 4: Passive House + As-written excluding energy chapter requirements
If you are interested in exploring the voluntary, enhanced use of the Denver Green Code for your development project, please email Christy Collins.
City staff will have standing availability on Thursdays from 1 - 1:30 p.m. to help answer questions about the new green code. Please use the information below to join this virtual session. For other questions, please visit our Contact Us page.
Virtual Office Hours
1 - 1:30 p.m.
Register via Zoom
Taking action in a changing climate
Taking action both to mitigate climate change, and to adapt to impacts of a changing climate, is critical to supporting a bright future for the Denver community. Since its 2019 adoption and through recent updates, the Denver Green Code prioritizes lower carbon impact attributable to new buildings citywide, lowering contributions to climate change. It supports community health and resilience in a warmer, drier environment, and bolsters availability of essential resources like water and clean air for all Denver residents. Through advancement and use of the Denver Green Code, developers, property owners, project teams, and city teams continue to respond to Denver voters’ prioritization of immediate climate action. Collectively, new codes and programs, including the Green Buildings Ordinance, Energize Denver Ordinance, and updated Denver Energy Code, serve to also advance the city’s goals tied to climate action, limited natural resources, and resilience as city agencies, voters, and Denver’s development community work to secure a livable and viable future for Denver.