New Codes Push More Electrification, Renos Included

Grandpa has left the building. And he may not be coming back.

Last year, the Colorado House of Representatives passed House Bill 22-1362 requiring all Colorado governmental agencies to develop a model electric and solar ready code on or before June 1, 2023. So they did, and the new rules went partially into effect this July. Following on its heels, on or before July 1, 2025, the bill mandates local governments develop a model low energy and carbon code, using “model green code language for adoption by counties, municipalities, and state agencies.”

The codes must meet or exceed both the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code and the new state requirements.

What’s Required
Effective July 1, municipalities that update their building codes or adopt new ones must implement codes that require new construction to be ready for solar panels, electric vehicles (EVs), and electric appliances. This goes even farther than codes in Denver and other cities that require provisions for EV charging and prohibit adding natural gas lines in new construction.

The new codes apply to new buildings and ones that undergo “substantial renovation.” What counts as “substantial” is unclear, but it’s fair to assume that “grandfathering” may be less common than in the past. Adios, gramps.

Regardless of how much new construction and remodeling occurs, serving the added electricity demand will require considerably more power generation than is currently in place.

There Will be Consequences
While acknowledging that there may be long-term benefits, builders say electrifying all new construction will increase the cost of new homes and commercial spaces. The impact on renovation costs will depend on the scope of the project and whether it’s considered “substantial.”

Rapidly electrifying homes and businesses will mean greatly increased electricity consumption and high conversion costs, as exemplified by Xcel Energy’s recent request for a $1.7 billion rate increase. Switching existing gas- and coal-fired power plants to renewable energy sources is an expensive and time-consuming process and the renewable energy sources currently available are insufficient and unreliable. As technology improves, better renewable sources are bound to become available, but still at a cost, one that will likely be borne by consumers.

Even if cost-effective solutions are found, the current electrical grid will need to be massively upgraded to carry the added load. That will also be expensive and time-consuming, and again, the cost will be passed along to customers and taxpayers one way or another. And it won’t be cheap.

And while governments and utilities offer grants, discounts, and rebates for electrifying, that money has to come from somewhere, most likely taxpayers, rate payers, and inflation.

Going Electric? It’s Time to Call a Pro
“Going electric” can be complicated and expensive. If not done carefully, it can cost more than money—it can pose serious risks to both your property and the precious things it houses.

Let Allstar Electrical Services help you assess the costs and benefits of such a move, including how to take full advantage of the various federal, state, and local programs to keep your costs to a minimum. Give us a call at 303.399.7420 or visit our website. We’re top-rated by the Better Business Bureau and a preferred contractor by Angi’s Home Advisor. We’re ready to work with you to get the results you expect and deserve.