Denver, Colorado- Green Building Ordinance

What is the Green building Ordinance and how it will affect your project?


On November 2, 2018, a Green Buildings Ordinance was adopted by Denver City Council and on November 15, 2018, an open house was held discussing the options available for builders. This ordinance replaces the voter-approved law requiring “green roofs”. The original green roofs law would have required rooftop vegetation to be installed to lower energy use and lower the City’s heat island effect (2). The new Green Buildings Ordinance is a compromise to achieve the energy reduction goals of the green roofs law while lowering the burden of cost to building owners by offering flexible implementation strategies.

Green roof in Downtown Denver. Photo credit:

In general, the Green Buildings Ordinance applies to new buildings greater than 25,000 square feet, additions greater than 25,000 square feet, and existing buildings that are recovering or replacing a roof. There are also exceptions for which the ordinance does not apply like greenhouses and parking structures.

Creating a cool roof with reflective paint. Photo credit: Green Building Advisor

The Green Buildings Ordinance offers a variety of paths to compliance with nine optional methods. All paths include the requirement for a Cool Roof to address the City’s heat island issue. In addition to the cool roof requirements, all projects must include one of the nine compliance options listed below:

  1. Green space at grade or on roof
  2. On-site renewables
  3. Off-site renewables
  4. Increased energy efficiency (+12%)
  5. Building certification
  6. Green space + on-site renewables
  7. Green space + off-site renewables + energy efficiency (+2.5%)
  8. Green space + energy efficiency (+5%)
  9. Off-site green space

Each compliance option has specific details, requirements, and differences between new and existing buildings. Contact EVstudio today to discuss how Denver’s Green Building Ordinance will affect you and to determine which compliance path may be right for your project.




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