As part of its “Roadmap to Net Zero Buildings,” the City of Golden is currently considering proposed regulations to achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy for electricity by 2030, and 100% renewable energy for heating by 2050.  The proposed regulations would amend the building energy code (Title 18 of the Golden Municipal Code), which Golden’s Community Sustainability Advisory Board (CSAB) and Planning Commission (PC)  determined are insufficient for Golden to meet its renewable energy goals. 

The CSAB and PC prepared recommendations for Golden City Council’s consideration, which fall into four general categories.  First is the adoption of the New Building Institute’s Decarbonization Code, which includes an all-electric provision for new residential and commercial construction within six months from adoption, requiring all-electric buildings with 100% onsite renewable energy production and no natural gas connections (with some exceptions).   Second is a commitment that all new municipal buildings will be built with the same construction, in addition to the currently-required LEED certification.  Third is implementation of a commercial energy benchmarking program, with the data used to create recommendations for renewable energy requirements for existing buildings.  Last is the need to commit to further research and recommendations for converting existing buildings to net zero, all-electric, as well as other sustainable building code requirements, such as water efficiency, waste diversion, and sustainable building materials. The CSAB and PC have organized multiple meetings for public comment on various aspects of the proposals.  These included discussions regarding when installing solar panels or other renewable energy sources isn’t feasible and what alternatives could be established, the hardships that could be experienced for buildings without natural gas and what alternative pathways to compliance would include, as well as the definition of “new construction.”  Over the ensuing months, it is anticipated that council will work to prepare ordinances and/or resolutions for review and future public hearings.  Additional information about Golden’s Roadmap to Net Zero Buildings can be found here:

February and March were active months for the Colorado House of Representatives with respect to attempted reforms of current landlord/tenant laws in Colorado.  In addition to proposed major overhauls to Colorado statutory eviction procedures (House Bill 23-1171), on February 27th the House passed House Bill 23-1115, which proposes repealing the current statewide ban on local government rent control measures.

Under current state law, counties and municipalities are expressly prohibited from enacting any ordinance or resolution controlling rent on private residential property or individual private residential housing units (C.R.S. § 38-12-301).  In addition to repealing that prohibition, HB 23-1115 proposes a conforming amendment placing specific requirements on future local government rent control measures.

Continue Reading Colorado House Passes, Senate Considers Repeal of Rent Control Prohibition

In November 2022, Denver City Council passed the “Energize Denver” ordinance, which established a phased rollout of restrictions on the installation and replacement of natural gas appliances in commercial buildings and multi-family housing structures in favor of electric alternatives.  The ordinance does not require building owners to replace any existing functional gas appliances, but owners and developers will need to pay close attention to additional electrification requirements in the Denver building code as they take effect over the next 5 years. Below is a brief overview of when and how some of these restrictions will apply to current buildings and future construction. Click here for the full language of the ordinance.

Continue Reading Navigating Denver’s Natural Gas Restrictions

On Monday, January 9th, 2023, the Denver City Council voted to pass a new wage theft ordinance, which provides greater authority to the City Auditor’s Office to ensure employees are paid their promised wages.  Denver’s existing minimum wage ordinance continues to allow employees to file complaints to the City Auditor’s Office (the “City Auditor”) and provides employees with a right of private action to recover unpaid wages plus interest.  The new wage theft ordinance establishes a civil violation for wage theft violations whereby employees can submit complaints to the City Auditor and the City Auditor will pursue the complaint and seek restitution on the employee’s behalf. 

Continue Reading Wage Theft Ordinance Passes in Denver

In October 2022, I participated in an Urban Land Institute Colorado walking tour in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood exploring different types of affordable housing.

The Capitol Hill neighborhood is interesting to me because it is made up of so many types of housing in close proximity to one another:  multimillion dollar homes, duplexes, small and large apartment buildings, condominiums, and rowhomes. Very few historic neighborhoods offer a melting pot of housing options like Capitol Hill. Continue Reading Affordable Housing in Denver’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood