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Pitkin County Colorado Adopts HERS® Index Into Its New Energy Code

Jun 16, 2020


As part of its drive to become carbon neutral, Pitkin County, Colorado has updated its energy code to be based upon the RESNET HERS® Index.

The Aspen Times reports that recent changes to Pitkin County’s land-use and energy codes hold new and renovated residential buildings to strict efficiency standards that officials say will significantly reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.  The Pitkin County board of county commissioners adopted the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and set strict energy requirements that apply to new construction and remodels and additions over 1,000 square feet.

The paper reported that Pitkin County will require that homes receive a score a HERS® Index Score of 60 or lower, before on-site renewable energy lowers that score to 30 or lower. Pitkin County calls this effort “Net-30”, a play on net-zero, which is expected to be the county’s requirement by 2030.

The new county code also requires that homes with large rooftop solar arrays that produce 10 or more kWh must also install battery systems to store some of that power.

Brian Pawl, chief building official for Pitkin County, was quoted that he had tried to to come up with a model to predict carbon savings under the old code, but it proved too difficult but that tracking emissions will be now easier under the new code, “since it uses the HERS® index, an industry-standard score”.

“We’re trying to come in line with climate action and be more responsible with our buildings,” said Cindy Houben, director of community development for Pitkin County. Buildings account for 53% of greenhouse gas emissions in Pitkin County, according to a 2017 greenhouse-gas inventory produced by the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE).

Pitkin County has a population of 17,767. The county seat is Aspen.

To download the feature click on “Pitkin County Targets Building Codes in Effort to Reduce Emissions”