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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

Printable Version
Greening of State Government   

Last DSIRE Review: 07/28/2014
Program Overview:
State: Colorado
Incentive Type: Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Eligible Efficiency Technologies: Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building, Specific technologies not identified
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal Heat Pumps, CHP/Cogeneration, Bio-gas, Daylighting, Small Hydroelectric
Applicable Sectors: State Government
Goal:20% reduction in energy consumption of state facilities by FY 2011-2012, using 2005-2006 as the baseline
Equipment/Products:Departments and agencies must purchase ENERGY STAR equipment when available
Purchases of electronic equipment must consider the life-cycle environmental and energy impacts of the equipment
Requirement:LEED Gold standard for all new and renovated facilities >5,000 sqft
Each state department and campus will create a sustainability management system to track and report their greening government performance. The Council will prepare an annual report card to the Governor.
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Executive Order D005 05
Authority 2:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Executive Order D0011 07
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Executive Order D0012 07
Authority 4:
CRS 24-30-1304, et seq.
Authority 5:
CRS 24-103-207.5
Authority 6:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
Executive Order D2010-006
Authority 7:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
CRS 22-32-124.3
Authority 8:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
S.B. 186

Colorado has established mandatory sustainability requirements for the design and construction of state-owned buildings (including schools), state-assisted buildings, and publicly-assisted housing projects buildings. In July 2005, Colorado’s governor signed Executive Order D005 05, mandating that state agencies and departments evaluate business operations and implement new programs “to promote environmentally sustainable and economically efficient practices.” The order also created the Colorado Greening Government Coordinating Council (CGGCC), made up of representatives from each state agency and department, to develop and implement new conservation policies and augment existing ones.

Green Goals

In April 2007, Colorado's governor signed S.B. 51 and the Greening of State Government Executive Orders D011 07 and D012 07, which, respectively, established a series of goals for the state's energy use and detailed how those goals are to be met by the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the CGGCC, and other agencies. Specifically, the orders direct state government to meet the following goals by June 30, 2012 (with 2005-2006 as the baseline):

  • 20% reduction in energy use,
  • 10% reduction in water consumption,
  • 20% reduction in paper use,
  • 25% volumetric reduction in state vehicle petroleum consumption, and
  • track and report performance through departmental sustainability management systems.

Each executive department, 17 institutions of higher education, the Secretary of State’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office have energy and water management plans in place.

In April 2010, Colorado's governor signed Executive Order D2010-006, creating new requirements for reducing and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and waste sent to landfills, as well as reducing consumption of paper, petroleum, and bottled water. State agencies are required to use energy-conserving software provided by the Colorado Energy Office and conduct an internal review at least annually to make sure their agency is on track to meet the targets associated with the Executive Orders.

Performance Contracting

Colorado encourages the use of energy performance contracting—funding energy efficiency measures through expected energy savings, avoiding large up-front capital costs—at state agencies, higher education institutions, and local governments. As of June 2014, energy performance contracting project investments totaled more than $447,000,000, with projects located in 75% of Colorado’s counties. More information on performance contracting in Colorado can be found here.

Colorado provides standardized, state-approved contracts, sponsored by CEO, Office of the State Architect, Office of the Attorney General, and the Colorado Chapter of the Energy Services Coalition, to insure high-quality work. Facility owner are also provided with a list of 15 pre-qualified energy service companies. Furthermore, Colorado offers free third-party coaching and technical assistance throughout the lifecycle of a performance contracting project. Upon signing a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CEO, a facility owner is assigned a CEO project consultant, who helps guide them through the sometimes daunting the technical, legal and financial complexities of EPC.

In June 2014, S.B. 186 was signed by Colorado's governor, granting the CEO power to aggregate energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in small or rural school districts, counties, and municipalities to create a portfolio of projects to attract private energy service company financing. Financed projects are charged an issuance fee of up to one percent, which goes to the Efficient Schools and Communities Performance Contracting Fund. The Fund is disbursed in the form of grants, prioritized by need, to reimburse unfunded schools districts, counties, and municipalities for the cost of a technical energy audit or to energy service companies for a portion of their costs if an efficiency project or renewable energy project is not financed.

Building Standards

S.B. 51 resulted in the implementation of the High Performance Certification Policy for government buildings. The minimum standard to be achieved by all new facilities and major renovation projects over 5,000 square feet that receive at least 25% of their funding from the state is U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold (unless the extra costs cannot be recouped within 15 years). As of July 2014, the CEO website indicates 70 buildings have been LEED-certified and an additional 44 are in progress to achieve certification.

Under Executive Order D2010-006, agencies are also required to include in their capital construction request a review of renewable energy systems and related opportunities to optimize savings, including use of third-party power purchase agreements.

In June 2013, Colorado's governor signed S.B. 279, which mandated that all schools that receive state funding and are new or renovated on or after January 1, 2014, meet the highest energy efficiency standards practicable, including ENERGY STAR or the highest performance certification possible. 

  Christian Williss
Colorado Energy Office
1580 Logan Street, Suite 100
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 866-2386
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

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