Statewide Energy Code Update Bill Passed

AIA Colorado was proud to recently support HB22-1362: Building Greenhouse Gas Emissions, an energy code modernization bill that will result in more use statewide of the 2021 and 2024 International Energy Conservation Codes (IECC) as the new baseline for energy performance for every new building in Colorado. Representative Tracey Bernett of Longmont introduced the bill and was a strong partner as one of the many stakeholder groups offering input.

The Colorado constitution largely prevents our legislature from implementing strict statewide building codes, but HB22-1362 makes some important changes to what kinds of energy code local building departments can enforce moving forward. What’s not changing is that no local jurisdiction will be forced to update its codes until ready to do so. But when they do, they will have to meet the following requirements depending on the year of their next update:

  • Before 2023, energy codes must be one of the three most recent versions of the IECC.
  • From 2023 to July 1, 2026, energy codes must be equal to or better than the 2021 IECC and include solar- and electric-ready language to be developed by a state energy code board.
  • After July 1, 2026, energy codes must be equal to or better than a future “model low energy and carbon code” developed by the state. This code will mostly likely be based on the 2024 IECC with its net-zero appendix. However, there are many restrictions in place that prevent the state from going further than the stricter of either the 2021 or 2024 IECC. Affordability and other factors may result in more flexible requirements.
  • Nothing stops a local jurisdiction from writing its own equivalent energy codes or adopting newer energy codes sooner. Even cities that are pushing the envelope on energy efficiency like Denver and Boulder have timelines putting net-zero code adoption in 2030/31.

AIA Colorado worked to ensure that an architect will be one of the 11 state energy code board members selected by the Colorado Energy Office. The Department of Local Affairs will select an additional 10 members. This will create a diverse board including both design and construction professionals and will include members with both commercial and residential experience.

Finally, the state will invest $25 million divided between grants to help install high-efficiency electric heating and appliance upgrades and to help train design/construction professionals, and building department officials/inspectors on how to implement the new energy codes.

AIA Colorado would like to thank members of both our Government Affairs Committee and Committee on the Environment for helping our staff and lobbyist effectively represent the profession at the Capitol as we worked to get HB22-1362 across the finish line. If you have any further questions, contact AIA Colorado Advocacy Engagement Director Nikolaus Remus.

Meet the Co-Chair: Committee on the Environment

Sustainability Advisor and Business Developer, Iconergy Co.

Maria Agazio

This year, the Committee on the Environment (COTE) has taken deep dives into best practices, the 2030 Commitment, and a sustainability survey designed for Colorado architects. With environmental stewardship as an AIA Colorado imperative—and to learn more about the COTE initiatives—we caught up with Maria Agazio, who co-chairs the committee with Beverly Pax. Read on as Agazio brings us up to speed on the latest concerning environmental stewardship in Colorado.

What drew you to this group?

I was drawn to COTE, because my career is centered on the idea of furthering sustainability in the built environment and the idea of being able to discuss these topics with a group of architects seemed like a great opportunity.

How has this committee grown or changed since you initially got involved?

We have made progress toward communicating environmental topics more affectively with AIA Colorado members and the general public. The sustainability survey has been a major part of the group discussion and published this year. (We encourage you to take it!)

What do you think is the biggest contribution that this committee brings to the Colorado architecture community?

Resources around “demystifying the 2030 Commitment,” as well as survey results that will help us understand architects’ perspectives on various sustainability topics and themes.

As AIA Colorado strives to create a culture of belonging, what steps have you taken to reach beyond Denver?

We consistently look to other chapters to gather resources and provide resources for movement toward sustainable progress. This can also be seen by our awareness of national events and articles that are presented at each meeting.

What are some immediate and long-term plans we can hope to see from the committee?

I remain committed to addressing methane emissions, working to establish a more comprehensive electric grid. We hope to release survey results around sustainability awareness in Colorado firms, and we also hope to release a 2030 Commitment roadmap that helps firms sign and understand the 2030 Commitment.

What one thing do you wish that more architects knew about environmental stewardship?

Every building has the opportunity to add positively to its environment. It is the responsibility of the architect and design team to incorporate sustainable practices and elements into every design regardless of the overarching focus of the building.

Decarbonization—An Open Invitation

Virtual Connect: Designing Zero Net Energy and Resilient Buildings

Zero-Energy Schools

Civic Activism and the Greater Good

The Business Case for Sustainability

Decarbonizing the Built Environment Town Hall with West Metro Legislators

Decarbonizing the Built Environment Town Hall with Durango Legislators

Decarbonizing the Built Environment Town Hall with Ft. Collins Area Legislators

© AIA Colorado 2022