Sustainable Building Code Update

Updated: Aug 24


In 2020, the Breckenridge Town Council adopted amendments to the sustainable building code that required all new residential construction to comply with the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program in order to meet the goals of the Summit Community Climate Action Plan. After an extended training period, input from stakeholders recommended evaluating alternative pathways for compliance. Lead by the Summit County building department, a Steering Committee of the ZERH Technical Advisory Group met to discuss possible alternatives. Meetings took place on November 3, 2021, February 1, 2022, and April 26, 2022. After which time a recommendation was made for two new alternative prescriptive pathway options to the performance based ZERH program.


The first option is based on the 2021 IECC thermal envelope specifications. Currently, our jurisdiction is on the 2018 IECC. The second option is based on a solar PV offset requirement of 25% of the total annual energy use. The proposal was taken to Breckenridge Town Council beginning with a work session, then passing its first reading on July 26, 2022. The second reading of the bill will be August 23, 2022 during the regular meeting of the Town Council. Public comment will be available. Click here to view the staff memo and proposed amendment package from the July 26th Council meeting.


Should the ordinance pass second reading, it will go into effect September 28, 2022 at which time the Emergency Ordinance extending the training period for ZERH will effectively be repealed. All new residential projects from that date moving forward will require compliance with one of the three pathways in the Sustainable Building Code. Additionally, the requirement for an Energy Audit on residential renovation and addition projects over $50,000 in valuation will also be repealed.

A checklist will be provided and a commitment to a pathway will be required at the time of building permit application submittal. No substitutions are allowed for options 2 & 3. If substitutions are anticipated or required, the project must utilize the performance based DOE ZERH option. If a project has more than 30% window to wall ratio, it must use the ZERH pathway. We have seen challenges when trying to pass the performance model with >30% fenestration, so please consider this in the initial design of a project before a building permit is pulled.


Trainings and resources are made available through the High Country Conservation Center and through the Colorado Energy Office.


For more information, visit the Town of Breckenridge’s Building Department webpages.

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