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Need to Meet Energize Denver Targets? Go Solar

Blog Updated: June 2024

The City of Denver is taking big steps toward the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One significant initiative is the Energize Denver program. Energize Denver was created to improve energy efficiency, encourage electrification, create jobs, and curb climate change.

What is Energize Denver?

Energize Denver is a program that sets energy requirements for existing commercial buildings within Denver city limits. There are staged goals for the city's climate action plan and Energize Denver's goal of reducing energy use 30% overall in the buildings covered by the ordinance is an important part. The first is to have all municipal buildings running on 100% renewable energy by 2025. The next goal is to move to 100% renewable electricity for Denver by 2030. The final goal is for the city to be net zero in terms of energy by 2040.

Commercial buildings in particular are being asked to decrease their energy use intensity (EUI). EUI is a measure of a building’s energy use per square foot. Energize Denver requires commercial buildings 25,000 square-feet and larger to meet a series of reduction benchmarks in 2024 and 2027, leading up to a final energy performance targets that must be met by 2030.

You can check the status of your building’s compliance at any point using this Benchmarking Map. On the benchmarking map, you'll also find a lookup tool where you can find more information on performance metrics.

It’s important to note that buildings between 5,000 and 24,999 square-feet have a different set of requirements. Owners can choose to lower energy usage through LED lighting options or improve energy sources by investing in onsite or offsite renewable energy to offset 20% or more of the facility’s annual energy consumption. The compliance deadlines vary based on building size and start on December 31, 2025.

Why Choose Solar for Energize Denver Requirements?

There are multiple ways to reduce your EUI and meet Energize Denver requirements, and installing solar to offset some (or all) of your energy consumption is one with a significant impact to both EUI and your bottom line. For example, Energize Denver assigned office buildings a target EUI of 48.3, and according to the Benchmarking Map, most office buildings are currently sitting at site EUI’s of 41-80. A typical 30,000 square-foot office roof can accommodate a 200kW solar system, which will produce enough electricity to reduce the building’s EUI by 33. That’s enough to bring many of these properties into compliance.

Additionally, given the available tax benefits and utility savings and incentive income, a commercial solar investment will typically breakeven in 7-9 years on this 30+ year asset with a 10%+ internal rate of return (IRR). It’s a win-win!

If building owners don’t reduce their EUI they will have to pay heavy fines, so why not spend those funds on an asset that will provide a sizeable return on investment instead? Plus, you can enjoy all the other benefits of going solar: increased property value, stabilized energy costs, decreased dependence on fossil fuels, and a positive marketing opportunity.

One thing to note is that this obligation to meet Energize Denver targets runs with the building. Whoever owns the building at the time of each compliance deadline is responsible for complying with the requirements. If a building is sold, compliance status transfers to the new owner.

Additionally, Denver municipal code requires building owners to disclose their building's compliance status, including all performance targets, to potential buyers. 

Note: If you’re a building owner that is leasing to NNN tenants, not to worry! You and your tenants can still reap the financial benefits of solar.

You Have My Attention, Now What?

For 98% of Denver's buildings over 25,000 square feet, the first Energize Denver target is 2025. The next benchmark in 2027 and the final deadline in 2030 will be here before we know it as well. From consultation to installation, a commercial solar system takes time. We encourage you to get started now, so you can skip the fines and start earning a return on your investment.

If you get started now, you might break even by the 2030 deadline!

When you reach out for a consultation, we'll ask you for some basic information (your property address and the last 12 months of utility bills). From there we'll be able to put together an indicative proposal so you can see what solar might look like for your building and what your return on investment could be. Our indicative proposals are thorough enough to give you a clear idea of what solar could look like for your property. Once you're ready to proceed, our team will dig in with a complete technical site visit to create a detailed design, financial analysis, and proposal for your review.


Why Namaste Solar?

Reach out to one of Namaste Solar’s commercial solar experts. We’re 100% employee owned and a Certified B Corp. Our team does not work on commission. Instead, they are focused on your goals and providing you with all the context and information you need to make the right decision for your business and your building.

Namaste Solar has designed and installed large-scale projects like the 4.2 MW portfolio with Colorado State University, and we've worked with small, local businesses like Jax Home & Ranch to offset 100% of their energy usage. We have worked C-PACE financing for full energy improvement projects, and we've worked with triple net leases to create savings for both the owner and the tenants.

We're are a full-service solar company offering decades of experience. Our vertically integrated model provides consistency throughout your project, and peace of mind that details won't be missed in the handoffs. From consultation to design and installation to long-term operations and maintenance support, you'll be in good hands. 

Namaste Solar has been in business as a local Colorado company since 2005. We know the ins and outs of solar in our state, and we want to make your project a success.

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