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Exterior energy use, larger homes and heated garages represent a significant source of carbon generation in mountain communities. In addition, exterior energy use consumes excessive energy in comparison to a typical home that does not have heated exterior surfaces. Telluride therefore requires that certain exterior energy use and heated garages mitigate or offset these adverse impacts by either the provision of an on-site or an eligible off-site renewable energy system to offset the energy use as specified for the activity, or to make a payment in lieu in accordance with the annual fee schedule adopted by the Town Council. This mitigation/offset program shall be called the Telluride Energy Mitigation Program (“TEMP”).

(a) Applicability. The requirements of this Section apply to outdoor pools, custom-built hot tubs, factory-built portable spas, snowmelt systems, and heated garages. Replacement of hot tubs and spas with more energy efficient factory-built portable models that meet the most recent ANSI standards shall be exempt from the mitigation requirements of TEMP. The requirements of this Section also apply to single-family residential construction as outlined in Subsection (b) below.

(b) Energy Mitigation Requirement. The energy consumed by the uses specified in Subsection (f) of this Section shall be mitigated on the site of the energy use requiring the offset to the extent practicable, off site by an eligible renewable energy system, or by the payment of an in-lieu fee. The Town will also allow for energy mitigation by the installation of a renewable energy system on site or off site that provides for partial mitigation with the remaining mitigation to be met by the required fee.

(c) Renewable Energy Systems. The Town of Telluride accepts only the following renewable energy systems as providing offsets to exterior energy use:

(1) Solar hot water system.

(2) Solar photovoltaic system.

(3) Micro-hydro.

(4) Other renewable energy systems as approved by the Planning and Building Department.

(d) Practicability of Installing a Renewable Energy System On Site. In determining if it is practicable to install a renewable energy system, the Building and Planning Department will consider several factors, such as: (1) the location of the affected property and solar access; (2) the size of the property and the ability to reasonably install a renewable energy system; (3) any historic rating of a structure on the property and the ability to obtain permission for necessary additions or alterations that enable the installation of an energy mitigation system pursuant to the applicable Land Use Code requirements, such as zoning requirements and the requirements of the Historic Preservation Overlay District; and (4) reasonable use of the affected property.

(e) Legal Restriction Requiring Use and Maintenance. A deed restriction or other legal instrument approved by the Town that requires the renewable energy system to be operational and generating power, and to be maintained or replaced for the life of the project shall be executed prior to issuing a building permit for the project. Renewable energy projects constructed with TEMP fees shall be maintained by the Town or other designated public entity (when on other than Town-owned land or facilities) for the life of the project that originated the fees.

(f) Energy Use Table and Fees. Energy use for the regulated activities shall be per Table 15-2, with such annual energy use used to determine the required on-site mitigation, off-site mitigation, or the mitigation fee:

Table 15-2. Annual Energy Use

Energy Use Type

Annual Energy Use

Snowmelt system

90,700 BTU/sq. ft.

Custom-built hot tub

281,000 BTU/sq. ft.

Factory-built portable spa*

2,800 kW


359,000 BTU/sq. ft.

Heated garage

24,200 BTU/sq. ft.

*This value is based on an average standby energy use of 204.5 W/hour at sixty (60) degrees Fahrenheit for portable, factory-built spas, as listed in the California Energy Commission’s online Appliance Efficiency Database. This value has been converted to equivalent standby energy use at forty (40) degrees Fahrenheit, which is Telluride’s annual average outdoor temperature. It is possible to substitute the energy use for a specific spa model tested to the most recent ANSI spa standard.

The Town may issue energy mitigation credit for a geothermal system or other system that recovers heat from other sources, provided an applicant provides a summary of the amount of carbon offset by the installation of a geothermal or other system versus a system as required by this Article.

(g) Payment In-Lieu Fees. Payment in-lieu fees for each use shall be developed based on the annual energy use shown in the preceding table based on a methodology approved by the Town. The Town Council has reviewed and approved the initial fees and associated methodology for calculating the fees concurrent with the consideration of the ordinance adopting the TEMP fees. The TEMP fees may be adjusted by the Town Council as needed by resolution to address changes in the variables or assumptions that go into calculating the TEMP fees.

(h) Energy Code Review Fee. An energy code review fee equal to twenty percent (20%) of the project’s building permit fee shall be paid prior to building permit issuance in order to cover the Town’s administrative costs associated with verifying compliance with this Section and calculating the required TEMP fees, if any. Energy code review fees shall be required regardless of whether an owner elects to meet the applicable building efficiency standards, or pays a fee in lieu.

(i) Provision of Renewable Energy Mitigation System or Payment In-Lieu Fee Collection.

(1) Prior to issuing a building permit for a project that is subject to the TEMP, the plans will provide for a renewable energy mitigation system that is designed to offset the energy used for the regulated activity, and/or the owner/developer will provide the required TEMP fees (required mitigation can be met by both by a partial renewable energy system that provides some mitigation, with the remaining mitigation in the form of a payment in-lieu fee).

(2) Any required on-site renewable energy mitigation system shall be installed and fully operating in accordance with the Town’s applicable codes prior to the issuance of any certificate of occupancy.

(3) TEMP fees will be collected by the Town of Telluride Planning and Building Department prior to building permit issuance. Collected fees shall be deposited to the Town’s Energy Mitigation Program Fund.

(4) A building project will not be eligible to receive a building permit until the project owner has demonstrated that the required energy performance standards and/or on-site renewable energy generation requirements have been achieved, or that the Town has received payment of the in-lieu fee.

(j) Management and Appropriation of TEMP Funds. Fees collected and deposited into the TEMP account by the Planning and Building Department are to be managed by the Town Manager or its designated Town employee. Expenditures of TEMP funds shall be used for the following purposes:

(1) Planning, design, and implementation of renewable energy or energy efficiency generation projects within the Town of Telluride on:

a. Town projects, Town land or Town facilities.

b. Outside of the Town of Telluride on Town land or facilities within the Telluride Region as defined by the Master Plan.

c. When no Town-owned land, projects or facilities are available, funds may be used to install a renewable energy system on other public facilities, land or buildings as approved by the Town Manager.

(2) Other renewable energy or energy efficiency projects as approved by the Town Council by resolution. (Ord. 1502 §1, 2020)