Building Code Update

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The City is considering ways to strengthen locally-adopted building codes to further the community’s climate and resilience goals.

The City periodically adopts a suite of international codes, together referred to as I-Codes (e.g., International Building Code). The City is currently on the 2015 version of the I-Codes and is beginning the process of adopting the 2021 I-Codes. As part of the adoption process, jurisdictions routinely include amendments to the base codes to align procures and requirements to local conditions and to introduce strengthening amendments to advance specific community goals. The City is considering local strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as part of the broader I-Code adoption that furthers some of the City’s sustainability, resilience, and building safety goals.

The City of Lafayette joined a cohort of eight nearby cities and Boulder County with the intent to adopt strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code that are consistent throughout the region. The cohort is also working to develop a common roadmap to achieve new net-zero construction and 100 percent renewable electricity.

Where are we now and how can I get involved?

After two engagement windows in 2022, City Council met in December to review two of the energy code efficiency requirements. A majority of council members indicated support for local energy code amendments requiring:

  • All-electric construction for all new residential and commercial projects, with certain exemptions for commercial projects (life safety systems, kitchens, hospitals, labs, industrial, etc.).
  • Increasing solar requirements to account for up to 60% of the building's energy load or maximized roof area for new buildings and major alterations of buildings over 5,000 square feet.

City staff are now drafting and vetting the new regulations and plan to post them to this page in February. Staff expects to present the proposed regulations to City Council for consideration at its March 21 meeting.

Weigh in by:

  • Leaving a comment of asking a question via the tools at the bottom of this page (note that this information will be posted to the page for others to view.)
  • Contacting staff: information is listed on the right side of this page
  • Visiting with staff through drop-in virtual office hours. Meeting links will be provided approximately two weeks prior to the meeting.

Virtual Office Hours
Meeting #1: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer, mobile app, or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 246 428 065 818
Passcode: JCAbGP
Download Teams | Join on the web
Learn More | Meeting options

Meeting #2: Wednesday, March 15, 5 – 6 p.m.

Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer, mobile app, or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 254 711 507 077
Passcode: tUG6Yu
Download Teams | Join on the web
Learn More | Meeting options

City Council Meetings
March 21: City Council First Reading and Public Hearing
April 4: City Council Second Reading

What amendments are being considered?

Below is a summary of the proposed code changes. Please refer to the project handouts for more detailed information.

International Energy Conservation Code

  • Solar Required: The solar-required amendments would require new commercial buildings 5,000 square feet or more and major renovations of buildings 5,000 square feet or more to have a solar system installed as part of the construction. The amendment will require that solar produce two watts per square foot of useable roof space or be sized to produce 50% of the building's anticipated load.

  • Solar Ready: The solar-ready amendments would prepare new homes, major renovations of new homes, new commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet, and major renovations of commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet for future solar installation by requiring the installation of wire or conduit from the roof to the electrical panel and providing adequate space in the electrical panel for future breaker installation. This makes the installation of solar panels in the future easier and more cost-effective to install. The amendment requires that 40% of the usable space on commercial buildings and 300 square feet for residential buildings be allocated for the installation of future solar panels.

  • Electric-Preferred: One of the City’s priorities is to reduce the reliance on natural gas. This amendment would require all-electric construction for all new residential and commercial projects, with certain exemptions for commercial projects (large systems, kitchens, hospitals, labs, industrial, etc.)

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Parking Space Requirements: The City currently requires that a percentage of parking spaces be set aside for electric vehicle charging. The proposed amendment includes two changes. The first includes a more nuanced approach to commercial projects, installing EV infrastructure where it makes the most sense. For example, a gas station would not need the same about of infrastructure as an office or hotel. Second, multi-family requirements are proposed to be increased; this increase is in recognition that renters cannot install this infrastructure themselves, and installing after construction is more expensive for owners.

  • Cool Roofs: Cool roofs are made of materials (typically lighter in color) that reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat. Cool roof requirements are already included in the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code, though the strengthening amendment will bring the requirements into our climate zone in recognition of increased summer temperatures and the growing problem of the heat island effect.

  • Horticulture Facilities: The City is exploring a strengthening amendment to improve lighting efficiency requirements in indoor horticulture facilities. Historically grow facility owners haven’t invested in efficient lights because of the industry’s volatile markets and shifting policies. This amendment will allow owners to install LED lights and decrease their energy consumption.


2021 International Residential Code – Fire Suppression Systems

The code requires that residential structures install a fire suppression system (i.e., a sprinkler system). This requirement was introduced into the 2009 International Residential Code. The City has historically amended the code to not include this sprinkler requirement for single family homes, duplexes, and townhomes, but is proposing not to delete this provision with the 2021 building code update.

The City is considering ways to strengthen locally-adopted building codes to further the community’s climate and resilience goals.

The City periodically adopts a suite of international codes, together referred to as I-Codes (e.g., International Building Code). The City is currently on the 2015 version of the I-Codes and is beginning the process of adopting the 2021 I-Codes. As part of the adoption process, jurisdictions routinely include amendments to the base codes to align procures and requirements to local conditions and to introduce strengthening amendments to advance specific community goals. The City is considering local strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as part of the broader I-Code adoption that furthers some of the City’s sustainability, resilience, and building safety goals.

The City of Lafayette joined a cohort of eight nearby cities and Boulder County with the intent to adopt strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code that are consistent throughout the region. The cohort is also working to develop a common roadmap to achieve new net-zero construction and 100 percent renewable electricity.

Where are we now and how can I get involved?

After two engagement windows in 2022, City Council met in December to review two of the energy code efficiency requirements. A majority of council members indicated support for local energy code amendments requiring:

  • All-electric construction for all new residential and commercial projects, with certain exemptions for commercial projects (life safety systems, kitchens, hospitals, labs, industrial, etc.).
  • Increasing solar requirements to account for up to 60% of the building's energy load or maximized roof area for new buildings and major alterations of buildings over 5,000 square feet.

City staff are now drafting and vetting the new regulations and plan to post them to this page in February. Staff expects to present the proposed regulations to City Council for consideration at its March 21 meeting.

Weigh in by:

  • Leaving a comment of asking a question via the tools at the bottom of this page (note that this information will be posted to the page for others to view.)
  • Contacting staff: information is listed on the right side of this page
  • Visiting with staff through drop-in virtual office hours. Meeting links will be provided approximately two weeks prior to the meeting.

Virtual Office Hours
Meeting #1: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer, mobile app, or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 246 428 065 818
Passcode: JCAbGP
Download Teams | Join on the web
Learn More | Meeting options

Meeting #2: Wednesday, March 15, 5 – 6 p.m.

Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on your computer, mobile app, or room device
Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 254 711 507 077
Passcode: tUG6Yu
Download Teams | Join on the web
Learn More | Meeting options

City Council Meetings
March 21: City Council First Reading and Public Hearing
April 4: City Council Second Reading

What amendments are being considered?

Below is a summary of the proposed code changes. Please refer to the project handouts for more detailed information.

International Energy Conservation Code

  • Solar Required: The solar-required amendments would require new commercial buildings 5,000 square feet or more and major renovations of buildings 5,000 square feet or more to have a solar system installed as part of the construction. The amendment will require that solar produce two watts per square foot of useable roof space or be sized to produce 50% of the building's anticipated load.

  • Solar Ready: The solar-ready amendments would prepare new homes, major renovations of new homes, new commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet, and major renovations of commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet for future solar installation by requiring the installation of wire or conduit from the roof to the electrical panel and providing adequate space in the electrical panel for future breaker installation. This makes the installation of solar panels in the future easier and more cost-effective to install. The amendment requires that 40% of the usable space on commercial buildings and 300 square feet for residential buildings be allocated for the installation of future solar panels.

  • Electric-Preferred: One of the City’s priorities is to reduce the reliance on natural gas. This amendment would require all-electric construction for all new residential and commercial projects, with certain exemptions for commercial projects (large systems, kitchens, hospitals, labs, industrial, etc.)

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Parking Space Requirements: The City currently requires that a percentage of parking spaces be set aside for electric vehicle charging. The proposed amendment includes two changes. The first includes a more nuanced approach to commercial projects, installing EV infrastructure where it makes the most sense. For example, a gas station would not need the same about of infrastructure as an office or hotel. Second, multi-family requirements are proposed to be increased; this increase is in recognition that renters cannot install this infrastructure themselves, and installing after construction is more expensive for owners.

  • Cool Roofs: Cool roofs are made of materials (typically lighter in color) that reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat. Cool roof requirements are already included in the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code, though the strengthening amendment will bring the requirements into our climate zone in recognition of increased summer temperatures and the growing problem of the heat island effect.

  • Horticulture Facilities: The City is exploring a strengthening amendment to improve lighting efficiency requirements in indoor horticulture facilities. Historically grow facility owners haven’t invested in efficient lights because of the industry’s volatile markets and shifting policies. This amendment will allow owners to install LED lights and decrease their energy consumption.


2021 International Residential Code – Fire Suppression Systems

The code requires that residential structures install a fire suppression system (i.e., a sprinkler system). This requirement was introduced into the 2009 International Residential Code. The City has historically amended the code to not include this sprinkler requirement for single family homes, duplexes, and townhomes, but is proposing not to delete this provision with the 2021 building code update.

CLOSED: This quick poll has concluded.
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Quick Poll. After reading the handouts in the document library (estimated reading time: 10 minutes), are you:

supportive of the overall direction?
57%
prefer that the City consider more ambitious requirements for all topics?
0%
prefer that the City consider more ambitious solar ready requirements?
0%
prefer that the City consider more ambitious electric-preferred requirements?
14%
prefer that the City consider more ambitious electric vehicle requirements?
0%
prefer that the City consider less ambitious requirements for all topics?
29%
Total Votes : 7
Page last updated: 24 Jan 2023, 02:49 PM