Pitkin County’s proposed updated energy code is aimed at regulating what our design culture does not organically address: energy efficiency. More and more clients demand this of architects, but it’s still not the baseline. Not always.

With the recent proposed updates to Pitkin County’s REMP (renewable energy mitigation program), new construction in Pitkin County will be reviewed with the concept of an “Energy Budget.” The bigger the home is, the more efficient it must be in order to meet the budget demands (or the higher the fees collected).

Fees collected are pegged to costs to create renewable energy locally to make up for the (perceived) over-the-top energy use. This general energy code concept has been in place since REMP began in the late 1990’s and has been a source of some really tough conversations for local planners and architects. That’s OK with me. That’s my job. I’ll keep having those conversations.

With the new updates, fees will be higher than previous versions, because now they will be based on recent local data. The fees will also be more transparent. The formulas that generate the fees will be visible within the REMP calculator. Fee variables like the average installation cost of a Kilowatt of PV will be understood clearly and updated over time.

Homeowners will also be able to opt-in to a metering program so they can report actual usage, and in theory – recoup fees for homes that perform better than anticipated at permit.

The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the recent energy code updates, and the County Commissioners will be reviewing the updates in a first reading November 20, 2019.

PS: the commissioners are simultaneously reviewing land use code amendments that same evening on site planning code changes that are related to energy code. Should be an interesting meeting.