Explaining the BuildSmart Retrofit Methods In Boulder County

Date Published: June 3, 2021

Boulder, Colorado has some very unique building requirements. If you are a builder that works within the county or the city, you know that it’s now always easy to understand what’s needed in regards to energy performance.

The fun part is the county and the city each have very different requirements. Today we are going to focus on the COUNTY requirements for remodels, alterations, or retrofits. This falls under what is known as BuildSmart.

Boulder county’s code requirements for retrofits are based on how large the project is. This can be beneficial for smaller projects as the requirements are less stringent. The county provides a table below to help you understand where your project falls:

BuildSmart Retrofit Methods

A question that we get all the time is, “What does ‘Choose a Retrofit Measure’ mean?”

The county outlines 9 retrofit measures. These measures are a list of options that improve the energy efficiency of a home. You have to choose the allotted number of options and work that into your remodel plan.

If some of these items are already completed in the home, that counts towards the total and you have one less measure to undertake.

The options are outlined in the table below:

BuildSmart Retrofit Methods - Full list

As you can see, there are many options all differing in costs and difficulty. Some may work for your project and others may not. Our resident energy expert, Joe Ophoff, explains each option in the video below:

The 9 BuildSmart Retrofit Methods

1. Replace Furnace or Boiler with Condensing Appliance.

Older heating devices with standard draft flues are typically lower efficiency units in the 80% range. There are higher efficiency gas burning condensing units that are power vented. These units will have PVC vent pipes and intake lines and can be up to 96% efficient.

If it makes sense to replace your heating device during the remodel, or if you already have a high-efficiency unit, this is a good measure to opt for.

2. Replace Water Heater with Condensing Appliance. 

Just like the heating equipment, there are higher efficiency versions of water heaters as well. Typically, when you think of a condensing water heater, you think of a tankless unit, but there are condensing units that have storage tanks as well that are slightly less costly.

Since water heaters need to be replaced m