Decarbonizing Buildings

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Park City established a net-zero energy performance standard for its municipal buildings in 2017:
Net-zero building performance standard

Municipalities in Utah are not allowed to set Energy Code more stringent than what is set at the State level. As buildings contribute almost sixty percent of our community-wide carbon emissions, decarbonizing the built environment is critical to achieving net-zero carbon. Sustainability staff worked with Utah Clean Energy to facilitate a community-led process to develop a strategic implementation plan to help decarbonize buildings in Park City and Summit County.

Strategies were categorized by topic. Each strategy can be implemented individually or partnered with complementary programs to increase impact.

Existing Buildings and Retrofits

Decarbonizing existing homes through energy retrofits can be complex and costly, yet the potential for cost-effective home energy retrofits is significant. The strategies outlined below increase consumer and public awareness of existing homes' energy use, cost, and carbon footprint, and thereby further the community’s sustainability goals:

  • Time-of-Listing Home Energy Score: Create a program requiring time-of-listing Home Energy Scores for residential properties in Park City. Begin with a pilot program to refine the process. Similar programs have been successfully implemented in Portland, OR and Boulder, CO.
  • Commercial Building Energy Transparency Ordinance: Adopt a policy requiring a Building Energy Performance Disclosure for commercial buildings in Park City. A similar program is being successfully implemented in Salt Lake City.
  • Residential Rental Energy Transparency Policy: Adopt a policy requiring long-term rental owners to procure a license from the City every four years to meet basic safety and code requirements. As part of the licensing requirement, rentals must undergo an energy audit to ensure that appliances and the unit are in good repair. The owner must disclose utility data, average costs, and needed repairs at license renewal and upon request from tenants.

New Buildings

In Utah, local governments are not able to adopt mandatory energy codes. The two strategies below provide a pathway for Park City to spur net-zero design and building practices in new construction and major retrofits.

  • Net-zero Building Benchmark: Implement a program to define, recommend, and accelerate net-zero building in Park City.
  • Net-zero Building Incentives: Provide building designers and builders incentives to meet Park City’s Net-zero Building Recommendation.


Capital is needed to finance building decarbonization projects, e.g. management of decarbonization and net-zero programs. Three financial strategies are outlined below to advance building decarbonization.

  • Statewide Clean Energy Fund: Develop a state-wide Clean Energy Fund to spur investment in clean energy solutions, including decarbonization and efficiency improvements to homes and buildings.
  • C-PACE Financing: Promote C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) to local developers.
  • Allocate Municipal Energy Tax/Franchise Tax Revenue to Support Decarbonization: Utilize a portion of City revenue to support decarbonization projects, including driving uptake of major energy retrofits and net-zero buildings community-wide.

Engagement and Empowerment

To achieve the community goal of net-zero carbon by 2030, buy-in from local businesses and residents is paramount. A certification and recognition program can motivate companies and residents by offering cost-effective resources and solutions. Access to tools and resources and capturing market potential can motivate local businesses to decarbonize their buildings and operations. Recognizing, rewarding, and celebrating environmental leadership will reinforce and encourage further action.

  • Certification and Recognition Program for Environmental Leadership: Empower and incentivize local businesses and community organizations, e.g. builders, realtors, property managers, and homeowners associations.
  • Equitable Outcomes: Identifying and producing equitable outcomes is a top priority. Utah Clean Energy and Park City Sustainability staff created two anonymous surveys to invite feedback on the energy performance of homes, focusing on affordable homes. In addition, Utah Clean Energy, with help from Mountainlands Community Trust and Holy Cross Ministries, organized two listening sessions (one in English, one in Spanish) to hear stories of energy performance behaviors and overall comfort of homes.

A full description of all strategies can be found here

For more information, please contact