Denver's Green Buildings Ordinance

Downtown Denver skyline

Denver's Green Buildings Ordinance is one of many tools the city uses to reduce the environmental impact of new buildings and renovations.

Ensuring more sustainable new development

Denver's Green Buildings Ordinance (GBO) went into effect November 2, 2018. This city law requires developers and property owners to select from a menu of strategies for more sustainable development, which collectively seek to increase green space in Denver, improve water and storm water management, increase the use of solar and other renewable energies, foster the design of more energy-efficient buildings, and increase adoption of national green building programs, such as LEED.

The ordinance applies to the following:

  • New buildings 25,000 square feet or larger
  • Roof permits for existing buildings 25,000 square feet or larger
  • Building additions 25,000 square feet or larger

The ordinance does not apply to parking structures, temporary buildings, air-supported structures, greenhouses, single-family homes, duplexes, or dwelling units constructed in a group of three or more attached units, where each unit extends from foundation to roof and is not more than 3 stories above grade plane. Additionally, certain residential buildings only have to meet the ordinance's cool roof requirement but do not have to choose a compliance option.

Taking action on climate change
Adopting the Green Buildings Ordinance accelerated a citywide conversation about the role of Denver's built environment at combating climate change. Developers, property owners and project teams are participating in important conversations around the value of higher-performing buildings, both to the environment and for the people who live, work, and visit these places. The city continues to amplify Denver voters’ messages of the importance of immediate climate action and leverage this message into clear requirements for development projects. New codes and programs, including the Denver Green Code adopted in December 2019 and the Benchmarking Ordinance adopted in 2016, serve to further advance the city’s climate action goals as city agencies, voters, and Denver’s design and development community work to secure a more sustainable future for Denver.

Learn more about creating high-performance buildings and homes in Denver >