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CO-CHPS Criteria for New Construction and Major Modernizations

CO-CHPS creates a benchmark for the design and construction of Colorado high performance school buildings that are efficient, comfortable, environmentally responsible and healthy spaces.

A Colorado-based advisory committee, representing a broad range of school design and construction stakeholders, developed CO-CHPS. The committee, in partnership with the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, created a CHPS Criteria to the unique codes and regulations, climates, opportunities, and local priorities of the state.

“Energy efficient schools mean more money stays in the classroom to benefit students, teachers and learning,” said Tom Plant, director of the Governor’s Energy Office in Colorado. “The CHPS Criteria represent another important component of Colorado’s New Energy Economy - helping us design schools today that dramatically reduce energy costs long into tomorrow.”

Read the entire press release here.

Understanding the 2009 Edition Colorado CHPS Criteria Energy Efficiency Requirements



Requirements for CO-CHPS in CDE-Funded Projects
CHPS has received questions around the requirements for using CHPS in Colorado, particularly on the energy efficiency requirements. For public K-12 districts, understanding these requirements means understanding what the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) requires.

According to the High Performance Certification Program Summary provided by CDE, projects must comply with the High Performance Certification Program (HPCP) policy only if they meet ALL four of the following conditions:
  • 1. The project is a new facility, addition, and renovation projects funded with 25% or more of state funds.
  • 2. The new facility, addition, or renovation project contains 5,000 or more of building square feet.
  • 3. The project includes a HVAC system.
  • 4. In the case of a renovation project, the cost of the renovation exceeds 25% of the current value of the building.
Projects meeting the above requirements shall achieve LEED™ or CO-CHPS certification. The State of Colorado’s goal is LEED Gold or CO-CHPS Verified Leader. You can learn more about the program requirements here in the High Performance Certification Program for New Construction and Substantial Renovations Guide from CDE. That guide states the following requirement:

“The Department of Personnel and Administration, Office of the State Architect has established that the U.S. Green Building Council, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – New Construction (USGBC LEED™-NC) is the required guideline with Gold as the targeted certification level for the High Performance Certification Program (HPCP) as per section 24-30-1305, C.R.S. and Senate Bill 07-051. For the Colorado Department of Education, K-12 construction program, the Colorado Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CO-CHPS) is an optional guideline with Verified Leader (60 points) as the targeted certification level for the HPCP [emphasis added].”

Energy Efficiency Requirements for CHPS Verified and CHPS Verified Leader
The 2009 Colorado (CO-CHPS) Criteria requires the project achieves a 25% reduction in total energy cost savings compared to ASHRAE 90.1 2007, set an ENERGY STAR goal of at least 75 and use the resulting site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) as a performance target (Prerequisite EE1.0A: Minimum Energy Performance) and utilize the Flex Energy design tool (Prerequisite EE 1.0B). These apply to CHPS Verified and CHPS Verified Leader level certifications. For more information on this requirement, see page 98-100 in the 2009 CO-CHPS Criteria.

For school seeking the premier level CHPS Verified Leader certification, two points must be chosen from the Climate category, including CL1.2: Grid Neutral, which requires the project to produce as much electricity from renewable sources as it uses in a year, exceed 40% energy efficiency baseline over ASHRAE 90.1 2007 and receive points in other energy-related credits. For more information on this requirement, see page 125 in the 2009 CO-CHPS Criteria.

Flex Energy Tool


The FLEX energy tool was developed by the Colorado Governor's Energy Office (GEO) consultant Dan Bihn to help building projects plan for future shifts in energy use and delivery. The tool is made up of two parts:
  • Flex Energy Handbook: covers different types of renewable energy and energy distribution technologies and describes how to use the tool
  • Flex Energy eWorkbook: provides the actual tool for working with drawings to design in flex energy for particular projects
The tool is a required part of the CO-CHPS rating system and useful for any project looking to reduce long-term energy costs and design with a view towards the future.

Related Materials and Programs

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CO-CHPS Criteria
2009 Edition


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