Program Greening of State Government
Category Regulatory Policy
Implementing sector State
Last Update
State Colorado
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Daylighting


Colorado has established mandatory sustainability requirements for the design and construction of state-owned buildings (including schools), state-assisted buildings, and publicly-assisted housing projects buildings. In July 2005, Colorado’s governor signed Executive Order D005 05, mandating that state agencies and departments evaluate business operations and implement new programs “to promote environmentally sustainable and economically efficient practices.” The order also created the Colorado Greening Government Coordinating Council (CGGCC), made up of representatives from each state agency and department, to develop and implement new conservation policies and augment existing ones.

Green Goals

In October 2015, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed Executive Order D 2015-013. This order established targets for state agencies to reduce energy, water, fuel, and paper consumption, and to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. Executive Order D 2018-026, also signed by Governor Hickenlooper, amended the previous executive order to allow state agencies to count renewable electricity generated on or off-site in the energy use reduction goal.

In April 2022, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Executive Order D 2022-016, creating new requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by establishing more targeted efforts in energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy, and fleet management.

State agencies are required to report on or before June 1, 2023, and on or before June 1 of each year, their building energy use for the previous calendar year in the format set by the Colorado Energy Office to comply with annual building energy and emissions benchmarking requirements (§ 25-7-142, C.R.S.)

Performance Contracting

Colorado encourages the use of energy performance contracting—funding energy efficiency measures through expected energy savings, avoiding large up-front capital costs—at state agencies, higher education institutions, and local governments. As of July 1st, 2021, energy performance contracting had saved Colorado Jurisditictions $45 million and totaled more than $710,000,000, in investments. More information on performance contracting in Colorado can be found here.

Colorado provides standardized, state-approved contracts, sponsored by the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Office of the State Architect, Office of the Attorney General, and the Colorado Chapter of the Energy Services Coalition, to insure high-quality work. Facility owners are also provided with a list of pre-qualified energy service companies. Furthermore, Colorado offers free third-party coaching and technical assistance throughout the lifecycle of a performance contracting project. Upon signing a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CEO, a facility owner is assigned a CEO project consultant, who helps guide them through the sometimes daunting the technical, legal and financial complexities of EPC.

In June 2014, S.B. 186 was passed, granting the CEO power to aggregate energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in small or rural school districts, counties, and municipalities to create a portfolio of projects to attract private energy service company financing. Financed projects are charged an issuance fee of up to one percent, which goes to the Efficient Schools and Communities Performance Contracting Fund. The Fund is disbursed in the form of grants, prioritized by need, to reimburse unfunded schools districts, counties, and municipalities for the cost of a technical energy audit or to energy service companies for a portion of their costs if an efficiency project or renewable energy project is not financed.

Building Standards

S.B. 51 resulted in the implementation of the High Performance Certification Policy for government buildings. The minimum standard to be achieved by all new facilities and major renovation projects over 5,000 square feet that receive at least 25% of their funding from the state is U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold (unless the extra costs cannot be recouped within 15 years).

Under Executive Order D2010-006, agencies are also required to include in their capital construction request a review of renewable energy systems and related opportunities to optimize savings, including use of third-party power purchase agreements.


In June 2013, Colorado's governor signed S.B. 279, which mandated that all schools that receive state funding and are new or renovated on or after January 1, 2014, meet the highest energy efficiency standards practicable, including ENERGY STAR or the highest performance certification possible. 

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