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SmartRegs Steps to Compliance

Home | Steps to Compliance | Inspection Information | SmartRegs Renter Information | Program Progress |

Where do I start?

Please access the portal below to be guided through the steps you need to take to gain compliance and receive a rental license.  

For complete compliance details, please see the Applications and Forms Database and search for the SmartRegs Guidebook. 

Quick Resources

Incentives and Rebates

To assist owners and property managers with SmartRegs compliance, the City of Boulder provides specific heating and cooling, insulation and solar rebates. If you are upgrading your rental property and want to see if your improvements are eligible for rebates, contact EnergySmart to talk to an energy advisor at or call 303-544-1001. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the SmartRegs Inspection have to occur?

All rental properties in the City of Boulder must pass a SmartRegs Inspection before before receiving a rental housing license.

What happens when my rental passes a SmartRegs Inspection?

When your rental passes (at least 100 energy points and 2 water conservation points) a SmartRegs Inspection, the inspector will submit paperwork directly to the City of Boulder Rental Housing Licenses team indicating that the rental is SmartRegs compliant. No upgrades will need to be made. However, you will need to provide a hard copy of the SmartRegs compliance checklist with your rental license application

I have gotten a SmartRegs inspection, but haven’t received an updated Rental License.

If this happened after Dec. 31, 2018, your rental license expired, and you will need to reapply with your SmartRegs compliant checklist, as part of the application process. If you haven’t yet received your SmartRegs compliant checklist, check with your inspector to ensure they have submitted the SmartRegs checklist.  If they have submitted it, City of Boulder staff can look in our system to see if it is in process or if information is missing to complete processing the application.

Does my duplex need just one SmartRegs Inspection?

No. A duplex is two rental units, as denoted on the rental license, so each unit must have its own SmartRegs Inspection. A SmartRegs Inspection must be done for each unit or home that has a rental license.

I have a permitted accessory unit; do I still need to pass SmartRegs?

Properties with a detached accessory unit are required to pass a SmartRegs inspection. If you have an accessory unit which is attached to your main dwelling, you are not required to pass SmartRegs.

Does my rental need a SmartRegs Inspection if it had a Home Energy Rating System evaluation done?

Properties that have a HERS Rating of 120 or less do not need a SmartRegs Inspection, but must submit an application with the HERS Rating attached to be considered compliant and receive a certificate of compliance from the City of Boulder.

I have already had an energy audit, so do I still have to have a SmartRegs Inspection?

Yes. An energy audit can't be used as a substitute SmartRegs Inspection unless it resulted in a HERS index of 120 or lower. Energy audits are done by independent auditors while SmartRegs Inspections are done by Inspectors that have been trained and certified by the City of Boulder. The protocol is similar to other rental inspections that occur.

Do I have to go through EnergySmart with respect to having a SmartRegs Inspection done?

EnergySmart is no longer a service for SmartRegs compliance. The city created the SmartRegs portal to assist you with the steps and questions, including finding an inspector. Inspectors set their own rates and you must coordinate directly with these Inspectors.

What do my tenants need to do?

The SmartRegs Inspector must be able to move freely around the rental. Inspectors will need to access mechanical rooms in order to evaluate the furnace, hot water heater, etc. Crawl spaces and attics will also need to be accessed. Therefore, tenants should not have items obstructing any of these access points. Any type of wood fireplace or wood stove must also have its ashes completely cleaned out. No fire or significant heat is allowed during the SmartRegs Inspection.

Can a Rental License Inspection and SmartRegs Inspection occur simultaneously?

Yes. Some inspectors do both SmartRegs Inspections and the Baseline and Renewal Rental Inspections. The fee for other Rental License Inspections depends on the individual Inspector.

Can I choose a specific SmartRegs Inspector to work with?

Yes, SmartRegs inspectors are independent contractors. You can choose who you wish to work with for SmartRegs. You will schedule your inspection directly with the inspector of your choice.

Do I need to be present during the inspection?

No, it is your choice whether you are present during the inspection. However, you do need to coordinate with your inspector who will be meeting them for access to the property. The SmartRegs Inspector will perform a technical analysis of the rental, and an EnergySmart Advisor can answer general energy efficiency questions and assist you in understanding your inspection report.

Can a SmartRegs Inspection be done under any conditions?

No. A SmartRegs Inspection cannot be done if the rental is undergoing retrofits or construction. A SmartRegs Inspector should be consulted to determine whether or not an improvement project poses an obstacle. Wood-burning fireplaces or stoves must be cleaned of all ashes before the assessment occurs. A fireplace or wood stove should be at a cool state during an assessment.

Am I obligated to make upgrades to the rental after the inspection?

If your rental does not pass the inspection, then upgrades will be required so that the rental passes a follow-up inspection. The inspector can assist you with understanding your low-cost options for upgrade decisions and possibly refer you contractor selection once you are ready to pursue the recommended upgrades.

Do I have to make all of the upgrades if the rental does not pass an inspection?

Not necessarily. Enough upgrades have to be made so that you reach 100 points during the next inspection. For example, if the rental scores 80 initially, then you must complete enough upgrades to receive 20 more points. A free EnergySmart Advisor can assist you with figuring out which upgrades to make so it’s as cost-effective as possible.

How do I know that the contractor I hire is qualified?

The contractors partnering with EnergySmart go through an application process with Boulder County. Although we are not responsible for the work done by any individual contractor, we do perform quality assurance evaluations in order to verify that the contractors are meeting the standards that Boulder County has set for them.

What does it mean to request a review for a Technically Impractical exemption? pdf

SmartRegs allows for a Technically Impractical (TI) pathway if all upgrade options are performed and exhausted. The application process allows property owners to request an energy efficiency exemption for SmartRegs. Once the TI exemption application is submitted, a review team evaluates if the property should be classified as technically impractical for further upgrades to reach SmartRegs compliance.

The technically impractical designation was created to recognize that some rental properties will be unable to meet the full scope (i.e. all 100 points) of the SmartRegs requirements due to challenges that make the improvements infeasible due to either cost or constructability.  Rental property owners must demonstrate that they have exhausted all efforts toward compliance and have achieved all the SmartRegs points that are feasible. Their exemption application should identify and quantify energy efficiency work they have done, describe why the property is still not in full compliance, and provide documentation explaining why additional work is impractical. An example of a property that could be a candidate for this process would be a home that has historic designation and requires insulation upgrades that would be very expensive and disruptive to the space, and not result in significant energy cost savings and/or improvement in the tenant's thermal comfort.