Loveland Building Code: Explaining the New Performance Path Amendment

Date Published: November 14, 2023

On June 1, 2023, the city of Loveland, CO officially adopted the 2021 IECC and implemented some specific amendments. One of the most significant changes has to do with energy compliance evaluation. In the past, builders were allowed to utilize a prescriptive path to make sure their project was code-compliant. However, the updated Loveland building code has mandated that the performance path must be used for new residential building construction. The amendment states the following:


Because the prescriptive path has been the “go-to” method for many contractors in the past, this recent change may require a little more attention from contractors and guidance from energy experts like us.

All this code jargon might be little confusing. So before we dive in to the details of Loveland’s new rules, let’s revisit what prescriptive and performance actually mean.

Prescriptive Path Vs. Performance Path

In modern day construction, buildings are required to meet certain energy-based criteria in order to be deemed code-compliant. Most municipalities in Colorado follow the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). In the 2021 IECC (the most recent iteration at the time of this writing), section R401.2 states that in order to reach energy code compliance, there are multiple paths you can take.

The first one is the prescriptive path. This is the “by the book” method. If you are taking this path, you must meet all of the requirements in R401 through R404 exactly as directed. It’s the stricter method, but has generally been the more popular route in the past. However, now that energy standards are becoming tighter, it is also becoming more difficult and costly to stick to the prescriptive path.

Builders following Loveland building code

On the other hand, you have the performance path. This is a less rigid pathway that gives builders more freedom in designing the home, as long as it meets minimum 2021 IECC energy standards. For this route, a certified HERS rater must first compile a projected energy rating report for the necessary permits. Then they must conduct code verifications throughout the construction process. And lastly, they need to follow up with final testing and a report when the project is done.

With this method, you are able to take advantage of “trade-offs.” Trade-offs are a concept established in the HERS Rating system. This means that a certain high efficiency component of your home can compensate for another aspect of the home that isn’t as efficient. For instance, if you have a very energy efficient heating and cooling system, you might have some leeway with your window U-factors and heat gain coefficients . If utilized correctly, trade-offs can actually prove to save you money! (Check out our article, Saving Money On Insulation With a HERS Rating/ERI in 2021 IECC )

2021 IECC presents two options for the performance path – The Total Building Performance Option, explained in section R405; or The Energy Rating Index (ERI) Option, described in section R406.

Loveland Building Code

While many jurisdictions allow builders the option to take the prescriptive or performance path, this is actually not the case in Loveland. As stated above, the city of Loveland has implemented an amendment making it mandatory for all new construction projects to use the performance path only.

Contractors are able to utilize the Total Building Performance method or the ERI method. Whichever option you choose to follow, you must make sure to hire a qualified individual to prepare the report and conduct the necessary tests. According to Loveland’s list of amendments, any one of the following credentials is acceptable:

Now that the prescriptive path has been phased out in Loveland, we will likely see a shift in how builders are approaching their projects.

Image sourced from:

Scott Energy Services

It seems like energy codes and requirements are constantly updating and changing. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up! At Scott Energy Services, we make it our priority to stay current on all municipality-wide building codes, so you don’t have to.

We have RESNET-certified HERS Raters on staff, who are well-versed in the procedures needed to successfully conduct a performance-based energy evaluation on your new build. And we serve a wide area of the state along the Front Range, from Wellington, all the way down to Colorado Springs and everywhere in between, including Loveland!

We hope that you will consider Scott Energy Services for your next building project. To learn more about our services, visit us online or contact us to get a HERS Rating quote.

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About the Author: Chris Kimmel

Chris Kimmel worked as an Associate Home Inspector for two years, handling numerous services including sewer scope inspections, pest inspections, mold air sample testing, radon testing, and water quality testing. Chris now works with Scott Home Inspection as a Content Writing Specialist.

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