Building green in the city of Boulder and unincorporated Boulder County is more than a feel-good trend, it’s the law.
The city of Boulder became the first municipality in the country to pass a green-building code when the Green Points system hit the books in 1996. The program used to operate solely as a type of menu — similar to how LEED certification now works — allowing builders to choose certain options, each with a different point value, to reach the total number of required points.
The code was updated in 2001 and again in spring 2009. The Green Points menu is still there, but it’s been scaled down. Now there are more mandatory requirements, including energy audits and required recycling of construction waste.
The county’s green-building program, called BuildSmart, went into effect in May 2008, and has been called the strictest green-building code in the country. BuildSmart essentially requires houses larger than 8,000 square feet to be zero energy.