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.

Adopted: Updates to the Green Buildings Ordinance + Rules & Regulations

The city adopted several simple updates to the Green Buildings Ordinance and associated Rules and Regulations. These updates will make the ordinance easier to administer and use. 

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.

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