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Complying with the Green Building Ordinance

With the Denver Green Building Ordinance in place after passage by the city council, commercial real estate owners are looking at a new avenue to secure the best return on their investments.

The ordinance applies to:

  • Commercial buildings with more than 25,000 square feet
  • New builds or re-roofing projects involving 25,000 square feet or more
  • New commercial permits exceeding 24,999 gross floor areas

Goals include:

  • Energy consumption and urban heat island effect reductions
  • Stormwater management
  • Growth in urban biodiversity for pollinators to improve the city's air quality

Green Roofs vs. Solar PV

While installation of a green roof or combining it with solar photovoltaic (PV) is a valid option, using the latter material exclusively can be a lighter and more affordable option that reduces energy expenses. By evolving into a primary energy source, solar PV provides more certainty when it comes to energy costs.

Developers interested in the 30 percent federal investment tax credit for commercial solar panel systems should act quickly, as this is the last year for qualification.

For commercial builders looking to bypass the ordinance, payment to the Green Building Fund is an option, albeit costly. The amount is $50 per square foot of mandated green space. Adhering to the mandate makes good financial sense when it comes to operating expenses and returns on investments.

Exemptions exist and include:

  • Projects completing permit or site plan applications before the first day of 2018
  • Residential buildings less than four stories or 50 feet in height
  • Commercial greenhouses at grade and temporary/air-supported structures

While Solar PV carries significant tax benefits and property value increases, compliance with The Green Building Ordinance can also lessen the impact of climate change, attracting those who will be committed to a company with a commitment to sustainability.

Green initiatives continue to evolve in their standards for adherence. A knowledgeable real estate attorney based in Denver can help navigate the complexities of this ever-changing industry.

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