Green Changes in Boulder's Building Code

by Osman Parvez
We have a ways to go before we balance our use of resources. However, I think that resource conservation and renewal is finally becoming a mainstream issue. Still, to get to where we need to be, we must continue to refine our standards.

Last month, Boulder City Council adopted numerous changes to the city’s Green Points Program and Building Code. The changes involve new commercial construction and residential remodels/additions and will go into effect on March 2, 2009. According to the press release, commercial energy efficiency requirements increase by 30 percent… Several new requirements were also added to the Green Building Green Points program for residential remodels and additions. These include tiered, above-code energy efficiency requirements (between 15 to 50 percent, depending on the size of the addition), air sealing requirements, and criteria for determining when the scale of an addition warrants the same energy efficiency compliance as new construction.
The key changes are detailed at the City of Boulder’s website. Six ordinances were passed in November that modify the building code. Here are the changes in brief:

New Construction and Demolition
  • For building projects that require a demolition permit, 65% of the demolished material must be recycled

  • 50% of all waste on a construction site must be recycled

  • Energy efficiency must be 30-75% above the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) depending on the size of the project
  • Remodels/additions above 500 square feet require a home energy audit on the existing structure. Energy efficiency must be 15-50% above the 2006 IECC depending on the size of the total conditioned area.

  • Subsidized and market rate home energy audits are available

  • Energy efficient light bulbs with a 40 lumens per watt efficiency must be installed on 50% of the existing home’s light fixtures
In addition to these changes, the Green Points requirements have been reduced. The new Green Points structure is detailed in Ordinance 7565.

image: alexanderdrachmann

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