Commercial projects will soon face new air efficiency test requirement

Denver remains a coveted metro area for commercial property owners and developers. The most recent Emerging Trends in Real Estate report from pwc ranked the city as 17th best overall for real estate prospects heading into the new year.

Come spring 2020, new commercial projects (or those undergoing major renovations) will have another code change to account for: Air-tightness testing requirements.

Air leakage testing will be required

In recent years, the city of Denver has established goals meant to reduce the local output of greenhouse gas emissions. This effort has included changes to building code meant to reduce buildings’ energy use. Among the latest measures to get the green light? Air leakage.

According to a report from the Colorado Real Estate Journal, Denver will soon require major commercial building projects – both new builds and those undergoing major renovations – to conduct air-tightness testing. This means each project must undergo the blower door test to ensure the level of escaping air is under the mandated threshold.

According to the Real Estate Journal, one 2014 study found 71% of commercial buildings were not meeting the recommended leak requirements. This led to 55% higher natural gas consumption, as well as 22% more electricity use, when compared to buildings in other cool climates.

This new air-tightness testing requirement is expected to go into effect on May 1.

Ever-changing rules and requirements

Most commercial real estate developers can understand Denver’s desire to encourage more energy-efficient buildings. However, this new mandate typifies what can be a frustrating aspect of the industry: the rules are constantly changing.

There are legislative and administrative regulations to account for, potentially coming from authorities on the state, county, or city level. This ever-shifting landscape can sometimes feel like a regulatory minefield for real estate developers. While sometimes discouraging, forward-thinking support can help ensure your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed, no matter what has changed in recent months.