Mansion-Sized Homes In Boulder, Colorado Must Produce All The Electricity They Consume

solar house BoulderBuildings that are 5000 sqare feet or larger in Boulder, Colorado must now produce as much electricity as they consume.   Typically, this would be done with the use of solar panels.

The new rule was approved by Boulder County Commissioners on Tuesday, November 3rd.

The “net zero mandate,” as the energy production requirement is known, is part of the county’s BuildSmart program.

The BuildSmart program was adopted in 2013 under a more general sustainability plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and other climate impacts.

Originally the rule applied to homes 8,000 square feet or larger, then it was expanded to 6,000 square feet and larger and now to 5,000 square feet.

Earlier this year, county officials were set to impose the standard to homes 4,000 square feet or larger, but decided not to due to the county’s ongoing efforts to keep home costs from escalating even further.

Boulder has set its sights on having all new homes to meet the “net zero” energy standard by 2022, writes The Denver Post.

The net zero requirement does not apply to existing homes that are being remodeled.

Though estimates differ, building “net zero” houses powered with solar arrays that are large enough to sustain the entire home can add an estimated 15 percent to construction costs, according to

For the average Boulder County home, which is about 4,000 square feet and costs roughly $200 a square foot to build, that could add around $120,000 to the cost.

(Updated report)


2 thoughts on “Mansion-Sized Homes In Boulder, Colorado Must Produce All The Electricity They Consume

  1. I’m sorry, but the homes don’t cost $200 per square foot to build. That’s what the developers are able to sell the homes for, but to suggest it costs that much to build the houses fails to recognize the lack of connection between the cost of construction and the cost a home is sold for. Plus, identifying the cost of solar as a percentage of the cost of the home is also completely misdirected. The cost of the solar system is based on the amount of energy the building uses, not the square footage of the building or the cost to construct the building — the less energy, the fewer panels needed, the more energy, the more panels needed. We’re in the process of having solar installed at our house. I’m uncomfortable with the idea of a mandate, but it amazes me how much roof space there is on residential and commercial buildings that could house solar panels. Somehow we need to figure out how to make that happen.

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