The City of Boulder welcomes your feedback. Use our Inquire Boulder customer service tool to tell us what’s on your mind.

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Solar Home
  • Energy Future
  • Climate Commitment
  • Boulder Building Performance
  • Water Conservation

Boulder Building Performance Efficiency Requirements

Boulder Building Performance Efficiency Requirements

Efficiency Requirements

The Building Performance Ordinance requires each affected commercial and industrial building owner to implement efficiency actions over a phased timeline. These actions are:

  1. Perform Energy Assessments Every 10 Years;
  2. Implement One-time Lighting Upgrades;
  3. Perform Retrocommissioning (RCx) Every 10 Years;
  4. Implement Cost Effective RCx Measures.  


The efficiency requirements are phased in based on building size with  June 1  deadlines of the year listed below. 

Requirement Existing Buildings ≥ 50,000 sf, New Buildings 1  ≥ 10,000 sf, City Buildings ≥ 5,000 sf Existing Buildings ≥ 30,000 sf Existing Buildings ≥ 20,000 sf
Energy Assessments 2019 2021 2023
Lighting Upgrades 2021 2023 2025
Retrocommissioning 2021 2023 2025
Implement Cost Effective RCx Measures 2023 2025 2027

1 New Construction Buildings are those permitted since Jan. 2014.


  • Efficiency Requirements How-to Guide pdf - Provides guidance and recommendations for completing the energy assessments. 
  • Cost Estimation Tool xlsx - A resource for building owners to estimate the costs of required energy assessments and retrocommissioning. 
  • Service Providers  -  Information on finding and selecting a Service Provider. 
  • Training Slides pdf - The city hosted trainings about the efficiency requirements and the slides are available for reference. 
  • Deadline Extension Request - Deadline extensions may be available. Submit the request online for review.
  • Exemption Request - Efficiency requirement exemptions may be available if a building can demonstrate a high level of performance. 

Energy Assessments

Every ten years, affected building owners must perform energy assessments that meet or exceed the requirements below per the Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits as published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in 2011, and as updated periodically.

Building Size Energy Assessment Required Scope
Buildings < 50,000 SF     ASHRAE Level I assessment
Buildings ≥ 50,000 SF     ASHRAE Level II assessment

For manufacturing buildings, an electrical utility’s process efficiency assessments and studies can meet this requirement, if the scope is approved by the City Manager.

Building owners must use a qualified service provider to complete a Level I or Level II energy assessment for compliance purposes.

Report Templates

Report templates are available that include current ASHRAE requirements and City Manager Rule requirements to ensure compliance with the ordinance. The use of these templates is not required, however they can be a reference to ensure all requirements are included in the report. 

*Note: If completing the Level I Energy Assessment through Xcel Energy's Onsite Energy Audit Program, that report will suffice for compliance.

Cost Saving Opportunities

Level I Energy Assessments

  • Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) Business Sustainability Advisors can help you   schedule a FREE Level I energy assessment to meet ordinance requirements. These free assessments are subject to availability so c ontact a PACE Business Sustainability Advisor at 303-786-7223 or email   [email protected] for more information. 
  • Xcel Energy offers an Onsite Energy Audit* for a small fee. These audits will be accepted for compliance with the Level I requirement of the ordinance as long as the audit covers both electricity and natural gas equipment. 

Level II Energy Assessments

  • Buildings 50,000 SF and larger must provide the capital to complete a Level II assessment. To help offset these costs, the city is offering rebates pdf up to 30% for buildings required to complete a Level II energy assessment. 

*Verify current program status at

Reporting Compliance

Submission Form - Coming Soon!

Submit completed energy assessment report and submission form to the Program Administrator.



Lighting Upgrades

Affected building owners must complete one-time lighting upgrades that meet the most current v ersion of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)* for interior and exterior lighting power, controls and sensors as outlined in the code sections below. 

Lighting Requirement Code Section
Occupancy Sensor Controls C405.2.1
Time-switch Controls C405.2.2
Exterior Lighting Controls C405.2.6
Interior Lighting - Power C405.3
Exterior Lighting - Power C405.4

*The current IECC code is IECC 2018.

Electrical Permit

If lighting upgrades are necessary to meet compliance, an electrical permit may be required. To ensure your lighting project is reviewed against the IECC (and not the City of Boulder code), ensure you submit the  Building Performance Ordinance Permit Checklist pdf with the Electrical Permit pdf.  Both documents must be submitted to  Planning & Development Services .

Cost Saving Opportunities

Lighting rebates may be available through   Xcel Energy and Boulder County PACE .

Reporting Compliance

COM check  Guidance - A COM check  report indicating 'PASS' for each ordinance-required code section is required to show compliance with the lighting requirements.  

Submission Form -  Coming Soon!

The COM check report, submission form, and all supplemental documentation must be submitted to the Program Administrator. 

BPO and the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance

Building owners are encouraged to ensure any lighting upgrades completed for the Building Performance Ordinance on the exterior of the building also meet the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance requirements. The Outdoor Lighting Ordinance of 9-9-16 B.R.C. 1981, includes specific lighting standards that apply to all new development and newly proposed exterior lighting. Additionally, 9-9-16 also contains thresholds for incremental compliance (based on cumulative project valuation compared to existing structure valuation) that must be addressed at the time of building permit application for work that triggers such lighting improvements. Lastly, the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance includes an amortization deadline requiring compliance of all exterior lighting of July 15, 2018.

The BPO lighting deadlines begin in 2021 based on building size. However, with the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance amortization deadline in July of 2018, owners are encouraged to comply with both ordinance lighting requirements at the same time to capture economies of scale and realize cost savings for the exterior lighting upgrades required by both ordinances. 


Retrocommissioning & Implementing RCx Measures

Every ten years, affected building owners must perform retrocommissioning, a process that improves the efficiency of existing building operations by “tuning up” and calibrating existing functional systems to run as efficiently as possible through low- or no-cost improvements.

Owners must implement the cost-effective measures (any measure with a payback period of two years or less with rebates) identified through retrocommissioning within two years of the study.

The scope of the requirements depends on the size of the building as shown below.

Building Size RCx Scope
Buildings < 50,000 SF Owners can participate in the  Xcel Energy Building Tune-Up Program  or meet the scope docx outlined in the City Manager Rules
Buildings ≥ 50,000 SF Owners can participate in the  Xcel Energy RCx Study Program  or meet the scope docx outlined in the City Manager Rules

Building owners must use a qualified service provider to complete the retrocommissioning.     

Report Templates

If completing the RCx study through Xcel Energy's Building Tune-up or RCx Study Programs, the program report will suffice for compliance.

If completing the RCx study through a third-party service provider, a report outline docx is available for reference. 


Cost Saving Opportunities

Retrocommissioning Study

Cost saving opportunitites may be available through participation in Xcel Energy's programs. 

There may also be opportunities to realize cost savings through implementing services concurrently (e.g. completing the energy assessment and retrocommissioning study at the same time). Work with your service provider to determine if there are opportuntiies to capture economies of scale.

*Verify current program status at


Measure Implementation

Prescriptive and custom rebates may be available through Xcel Energy  a nd Boulder County PACE  to reduce the costs of measure upgrades. 

Reporting Compliance

Submission Form - Coming Soon!

Retrocommissioning Study

Submit completed RCx report and submission form to the Program Administrator.

Measure Implementation

Submit submission form and paid-in-full invoices to the Program Administrator.


View Full Site