In 2006 Boulder’s City Council adopted the Climate Action Plan (CAP).  The CAP is a set of strategies designed to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions within the City of Boulder.  The CAP followed the decision of the council to adopt the principles set forth in the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement not ratified by the United States Federal Government.  Within the City of Boulder taxpayers approved to be taxed for the purpose of funding energy efficiency programs (a first in the U.S.).

“At a Nov. 18, 2008 City Council Study Session on the CAP, council identified strategies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet CAP objectives.  One of the primary strategies for reaching this goal is to reduce energy use in buildings.  Since 2007, several energy efficiency measures were implemented for residential and commercial buildings in new construction, remodels and additions that exceeded 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) minimum standards.

Addressing energy efficiency in existing rental housing and existing commercial buildings has been the focus of the 2009/2010 work plan.  Proposed changes to the Housing Code and Rental License Code, including options for energy efficiency requirements, have been developed as part of the broader effort to improve energy efficiency across all building types in the city. The energy efficiency proposal for existing rental housing has been scheduled for consideration first to coincide with the updates to the Housing Code and Rental License Code.  These proposed changes directly address the issues of long-term public health and safety, consistent with the stated purpose of the housing code.” (source )

On the table right now is a provision which would force energy effiency upgrades to roughly half the housing units in Boulder.  47% of the housing stock within the city limits is rental property.  The City currently has a rental licensing program which up until now has been concerned with the habitibility and safety of the rental units and welfare of the tenants.  The City has proposed an expansion of the rental licensing program which would force owners of rental units to do upgrades that would make their properties more energy efficient.  The expected burden for each unit in order to make various upgrades is estimated to be up to $2,000.

If passed there would be two ways to comply.  The first is to demonstrate that the property is already energy efficient.  The second is to make a series of upgrades to the property to satisfy a set requirement.  The SmarReg proposal is not yet approved but if you would like to have a voice in the wording or implementation of the rule, now is the time.

This will definitely burden landlords with an increased bureaucratic process with increased fees and a large up front costs.  It will benefit renters in the short term who will pay lower utilities but they end up paying higher rent in the long run.  The landlords and tenants are secondary in the minds of the City Council.  The environment is number one.


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