The downtown Denver skyline on Oct. 3, 2020. (Forrest Czarnecki/The Denver Gazette)

Denver officials published a plan this week to reduce natural gas emissions and achieve “net zero energy” in new homes and buildings by 2030.

The city defines net zero energy as a building or home that is “highly” energy-efficient, completely powered by renewable energy, all-electric and a provider of demand flexibility for the power grid.

“Reducing emissions in new buildings and homes is a critical component to addressing climate change in Denver,” the city’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) stated in a news release.

Buildings and homes made up 63% of all greenhouse gas emissions produced in Denver in 2019, the climate action office estimates. The Net Zero Energy New Buildings and Homes Implementation Plan, released Tuesday, aims to lower these pollutants by updating building codes to require net zero energy in all-electric new homes by 2024 and in all-electric new buildings by 2027. New buildings will be required to “perform as designed” by 2030.

“Through extensive stakeholder input from the Net Zero Energy Stakeholder Advisory Groups and feedback from the community, Denver’s NZE New Buildings Implementation Plan details the targets, supports, and considerations needed to reach net zero energy by 2030 in support of net zero emissions,” CASR Executive Director Grace Rink said.

The goals outlined in the implementation plan will move forward in the Denver Code Adoption process, according to CASR, and will be incorporated into the Denver Building and Fire Code.

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