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Aspen buildings going greener as city adopts new building codes

Aspen City Council to update to the city’s building code, focusing on environmental efforts like energy conservation, wildfire resiliency, and lowering emissions.
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Aspen City Council enthusiastically approved an update to the city’s building code, which focuses on environmental efforts like energy conservation, wildfire resiliency, and lowering emissions. 

The city updates building codes every six years, last updated in 2015. 

“Our two primary focuses are reducing energy loads and reducing emissions. These are essential first steps, which will make electrification more feasible moving forward,” said city chief building official Bonnie Muhigirwa.



These updates to the code coincide with the city of Aspen’s climate mission to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 63% by 2030.

Buildings are responsible for 58% of greenhouse gas emissions in Aspen, according to city officials.




The council unanimously supported the code updates, which faced first reading back on Jan. 10 and then took a moment to celebrate the years-long effort with staff.

Mayor Torre highlighted the appetite that the community has for environmentally-friendly initiatives from the city.

“It’s interesting we seem to be at a place where (environmentalism) is not such a hard push. You know, years ago, it seemed like everything that we were trying to do to gain efficiency didn’t work for the builders, didn’t work for dollars and cents, and et cetera,” he said. “And, it just feels like we’ve turned the corner a little on what you’ve brought back to us.” 

Dallas Blaney, CEO of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, voiced his support during the public hearing period but emphasized there is more work to be done.

“There are six years and 341 days left to reach our climate-action goal of reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions by 63%. And, this is a key component of that effort. It’s not going to get us all the way there. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the built environment, the existing buildings.”