Aspen, Colorado’s Pro-Active Codes Lead to Federal Funds for Energy Efficiency

The federal stimulus package could result in major improvements to the energy efficiency of commercial buildings in downtown Aspen, but the funds wouldn’t be available if it weren’t for the City of Aspen, Colorado’s history of being on the cutting edge with energy efficient building codes.

ARTICLE | May 11, 2009

The federal stimulus package could result in major improvements to the energy efficiency of commercial buildings in downtown Aspen, but the funds wouldn’t be available if it weren’t for the City of Aspen, Colorado’s history of being on the cutting edge with energy efficient building codes.

“Since 1995, Chief Building Official Stephen Kanipe has spent countless hours bringing strict energy efficient codes to the City of Aspen,” said Community Development Director Chris Bendon. “And now the rest of the country – literally – is catching up.”

Pending a City Council vote on Monday, May 11, the City of Aspen would be the first city in the state to adopt the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), which would allow private sector applicants in Aspen to apply for federal funds, tax credits and state assistance to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings.

The 2009 IECC has the same standards the City of Aspen has been imposing for more than a decade. That means rather than continuing to work with a building code unique in the region and the state, the City can now adopt the IECC and still maintain its high standards. Federal officials estimate that the 2009 IECC will improve the energy efficiency of buildings up to 18 percent over the 2006 IECC. That’s why the federal government is tying some of the stimulus funding to upgrade commercial buildings to the new standards of the 2009 IECC.

“Considering the advanced age of many commercial buildings in the City of Aspen, the long-term benefits of promoting energy conservation through these stimulus funds could be significant,” said Bendon.

The Colorado Governor’s Energy Office is expecting about $33 million to flow from the federal government through the state, to cities and counties.

As President of the Colorado Chapter of the International Code Council, Kanipe met in February with the Governor’s Energy Office to help the state qualify for the federal funding. The federal funds will be made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1).

For more information contact Sally Spaulding, Community Relations Specialist, at (970) 920-5082 or email at: sally.spaulding@ci.aspen.co.us.

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