Credit: Valentin Brajon

Later this summer, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) will institute more stringent, recalibrated Energy Star certification metrics in an attempt to reflect current market conditions. As a result of this recalibration, Energy Star scores are expected to drop an average of 10 points for office buildings and 16 points for retail buildings.

If maintaining your current Energy Star score is a priority, the EPA recommends that you apply for your building’s 2018 Energy Star certification no later than July 26, 2018. To accommodate as many applications as possible before the more stringent metrics kick in, the EPA will not enforce its typical 11-month waiting period between applications during this application cycle.  As a result, all buildings that earned a 2017 Energy Star certification will be eligible to earn a 2018 Energy Star certification before the deadline this summer.  Applications submitted after July 26, 2018 may be evaluated with the updated metrics, especially if extensive follow-up is required, and applications submitted after August 26, 2018 will definitely be evaluated with the recalibrated metrics.

For more information about Energy Star and this summer’s updates, please visit https://www.energystar.gov.

On Thursday, the Denver Election Division released the final unofficial vote totals for the 2017 municipal election, and it appears that Initiative 300 will pass with 54% of the vote.  We discussed the Green Roof Initiative in a post on October 24, but now that the measure has passed, we need to take another look at how its requirements will affect real estate development in Denver moving forward:

  • The Ordinance only applies to buildings of 25,000 square feet or more of Gross Floor Area, a term defined in the Denver Zoning Code.
  • “Industrial buildings” have a lesser coverage requirement than other buildings.
  • “Residential buildings” less than four stories are exempt.
  • The ordinance only applies to “building permit application[s]” and “site plan[s]” submitted on or after January 1, 2018. Because neither of these terms is defined in the Zoning Code, we expect the Community Planning and Development Department to provide some guidance as to which applications and site plans qualify.  When the City passed the Affordable Housing Fee in 2016, the City did not impose the fee for projects that had Concept Plans officially logged with the City by December 29.
  • The ordinance applies to all “roof replacements” for buildings with 25,000 square feet or more of Gross Floor Area. The ordinance does not define “roof replacement,” so again we will be looking to Community Planning and Development for guidance on this provision.

We will closely follow the implementation of this ordinance and provide updated information as it becomes available.

Last week, Denver voters received their ballots for the November 7 municipal election.  In addition to considering a $937 million bond issuance and a Denver Public Schools Board election that has garnered national attention, Denver voters will decide whether to mandate the construction of “green roofs” on large buildings throughout the city.  The proposed ordinance would apply to all new construction and every “roof replacement” on buildings of 25,000 square feet or more beginning in January 2018. Continue Reading Denver Voters to Decide Fate of Green Roof Initiative in Upcoming Election

Rows of tiny houses await final construction details from volunteers.
Rows of tiny houses await finishing touches from volunteers, which include future residents.

About two weeks into construction, the “Beloved Community Village” is taking shape on an otherwise vacant lot near 38th and Brighton. According to the group organizing volunteers for the build, the project for people experiencing homelessness currently has more volunteers than work, but encourages those who want to help to drop by with snacks, a donation, or just to say hi. As covered in an earlier blog post, the community will include eleven individual shelters, as well as shared kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Many of the residents selected for the Beloved Community Village have had issues getting into Denver’s shelters—there are a few couples who want to live together, a transgender person, a person in a wheelchair, and Sandra Herman, who has pets. Credit: Westword
Many of the residents selected for the Beloved Community Village have had issues getting into Denver’s shelters—there are a few couples who want to live together, a transgender person, a person in a wheelchair, and Sandra Herman, who has pets. Credit: Westword

Earlier this week, Denver approved a temporary zoning permit for a tiny-house community for homeless people, the “Beloved Community Village.” The community will include eleven 8-foot by 12-foot shelters, as well as shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, constructed for about $130,000 on Urban Land Conservancy-owned property at 38th and Walnut Streets in the RiNo neighborhood. Continue Reading Local Governments Making Room for Tiny Homes