Price Reduced on Great Westminster Home

This well maintained 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom brick 2-story home at 4029 W. 104th Place in The Windings subdivision is conveniently located near great shopping restaurants, walking trails and lots of open space.  The price was just reduced to $585,000. Legacy Ridge and Hyland Hills public golf courses, nearby, are top rated. The home is highly efficient with a newer furnace and A/C. The utility bills are low, thanks to its on-demand Rinnai hot water heater and solar panels. The large bright family room has a gas fireplace, vaulted ceilings and skylights. The large covered deck with mountain views is perfect for entertaining. The basement has a large game/TV room, a ¾ bath and a large storage area with built-in closets. The garage is oversized with natural light, a workbench and storage closets. Get more info and take a narrated video tour at www.WestminsterHome.info.

Conserving Water Is Likely to Become More Important in Coming Years

My understanding as a layman is that al-though one of the impacts of warmer oceans due to climate change is increased precipitation over land, it won’t be as predictable and consistent, so we need to include water conservation in any discussion of sustainability. Or think of it as water management, since we’ll need to be concerned about flooding just as much as about prolonged droughts.

At the local level, we need to be smart about conserving water. It’s a practice we need to implement in times of abundance, because we can’t be sure when the pendulum will swing the other way and we’ll endure periods of water shortage.

For homeowners, the biggest consumption of water is typically the irrigation of our lawns and landscaping. Even though Rita and I replaced our Kentucky Bluegrass lawn with Bella Bluegrass, which requires less mowing and watering, we still need to use our sprinklers, although not as much. We would have done better to install buffalo grass, which is not as verdant, but requires zero irrigation and mowing.  (I can provide the address of a home I know in Golden that installed buffalo grass a couple decades ago.)

There are sprinkler systems which adjust the amount of watering that is done based on rainfall and ground moisture, but I haven’t investigated those devices, since I usually am home and adjust our watering according to the weather. For example, this spring I didn’t turn on our sprinkler system until June 1st because of our unusually wet May.

There are other residential strategies for saving water. I have learned to take showers in which I only run the water to get wet and to rinse off, without running the water while washing.

We also installed 1.2-gallon-per-flush toilets, which perform as well as the 1.6-gpf models.  We have a sensor faucet on our kitchen sink which operates like those sensors you’re probably used to seeing in public restrooms. The faucet (by Moen) also allows us to turn the water on and off manually when needed.

We also installed a recirculation line on our water heater, which saves a lot of water by producing hot water more quickly in the kitchen and bathrooms. Think of all the water you run waiting for it to get hot. Not only are you wasting that water, but you paid to heat that water, only to have it cool off sitting in the pipes between your water heater and your sink. You’ll also save energy (i.e., money) by installing such a recirc line. Ask your plumber for an estimate.

High efficiency washing machines are efficient in their use of water, not just energy. Front loaders use less water than the older top loaders, but the new top-loading high efficiency machines, such as our LG unit (the kind with a glass top and no agitator), automatically sense how much water is needed and do an amazing job. We’re glad our front-loading high efficiency washing machine died and had to be replaced!

At the governmental level, I’m surprised that CDOT and other jurisdictions don’t install buffalo grass in the medians and on the shoulders of our highways. Doing so would not only conserve water but save a lot of money on mowing, which can also endanger workers on high-speed highways.

Recently I saw a report on the blue jean industry, which uses an immense amount of water not just to grow the cotton (1,800 gallons per pair of jeans) but even more water to dye them blue!

I expect to learn even more about water conservation and management at this Thursday’s (tonight’s) session on this topic at Golden Real Estate’s office., 17695 S. Golden Road, Golden.  It starts at 5 p.m. and is scheduled to last only 1 hour.  We still have seats available. Email me (see below) or just show up.  The presenter is Ben Wade from the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

If you can’t attend this Thursday’s session, a video of it will be archived by Saturday at www.SustainabilitySeries.info, where you can already find archived videos of the previous five sessions on other sustainability topics.

Please consider coming if you, too, have water conservation or management ideas to share, such as I have done in this column. I’m certainly looking forward to learning things I don’t already know.

5-Bedroom Columbine Knolls Ranch Has a Finished Basement

This 2,963-sq.-ft. brick ranch at 8006 S. Vance Court is in the Columbine Knolls South subdivision, north of Chatfield Ave. between Wadsworth & Pierce. It is listed for $498,000.

It has four bedrooms and 2½ baths on the main floor, plus a 5th bedroom and 3/4 bath in the basement, along with a rec room and plenty of unfinished storage. It’s a super quiet location, as you’ll observe on the narrated video that you can view at www.ColumbineKnollsHome.info. Some features that caught my attention include the three Solatubes and one skylight bringing natural light into the home’s interior spaces, including the kitchen, plus the beautiful family room with rock fireplace and vaulted ceiling. Watch that video tour, then call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a private showing — or come to my open house this Saturday,  June 22nd, 1 to 3 pm.

0.92-Acre Horse Property Has a 5-BR House & 3-Stall Barn

This beautiful home at 16826 W. 57th Ave. is on the eastern slope of North Table Mountain, just four miles from downtown Golden.  It was just listed at $750,000.

A tri-level home with finished basement, it has 5 bedrooms, including a master bedroom with vaulted ceiling that has its own deck with an unobstructed mountain view. The lower level has a 25’x27’ family room with stone wood-burning fireplace and access to both the garage and a large dog run.  Its 3-car garage has one bay which has been walled off as a workshop (currently used for storage), that can still be used as a parking space without removing the walls.

The 24’x28’ horse barn has a tack room and 3 stalls, one with its own outside run, separate from the half-acre pasture. Whether or not you have or want to have horses — you could generate a great income from boarding other people’s horses — you will love this country home so close to Golden, Denver and the mountains. See more pictures and view my narrated video walk-thru at www.JeffcoHorseProperties.com, then come to my open house on Sunday, June 23rd, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — or call Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a showing.

Great Western Slope Home Just Listed by Kim Taylor

This house at 740 N. Grand Mesa Dr. in the Western Slope town of Cedaredge combines the old with the new by using high-end upgrades but keeping the vintage look. It was just listed for $425,000. When this  4-bed/4-bath home was remodeled in 2010, it got a new radiant heating system and central A/C plus updated electrical and plumbing. The 1.22-acre property has it all — the creek, the private orchard, the garden area plus garden starts room, detached 3-car garage, additional detached 2-car garage with 240V service attached to a large shop with natural light and door access to the garden/orchard area, cute playhouse or gardening shed with carport, RV pad, creek side deck and hot tub! All this within walking distance to the quaint downtown area of Cedaredge. The surrounding 7.75-acre property and water rights are available for sale to the buyer of this fantastic home. Take a closer look at www.CedaredgeHome.info or call Kim at (303) 304-6678 for a private showing. Kim will be holding it open on Saturday, June 22nd, 11am – 2pm. 

Solar-Powered 5-BR Westminster Home Listed by David Dlugasch

This well maintained 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom brick 2-story home at 4029 W. 104th Place in ‘The Windings’ subdivision is conveniently located near great shopping restaurants, walking trails and lots of open space.  It was just listed for $598,000. Legacy Ridge and Hyland Hills public golf courses, nearby, are top rated. The home is highly efficient with a newer furnace and A/C. The utility bills are low, thanks to its on-demand Rinnai hot water heater and solar panels. The large bright family room has a gas fireplace, vaulted ceilings and skylights. The large covered deck with mountain views is perfect for entertaining. The basement has a large game/TV room, a ¾ bath and a large storage area with built-in closets. The garage is oversized with natural light, a workbench and storage closets. Get more info and take a narrated video tour at www.WestminsterHome.info. Open Saturday, June 15th, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thoughts From Attending My 50th Class Reunion at MIT

Forgive me for straying from my usual topic of real estate — I took some time off with Rita to attend my 50th reunion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week, and I was super-inspired by the experience of returning to the Institute for what was more than just a party. It was an immersion  into the continuing impact that MIT is having on the world of science and technology.

Reunions at MIT are probably unlike those at any other college or university. Yes, there is partying, but roughly half the events were educational in nature, updating alums on current research regarding important topics of the day. This year the dominant topic was climate change — something I wrote about, quite coincidentally, in last week’s column.

Not only was climate change the subject of Michael Bloomberg’s commencement address (there’s a video link for it at http://news.mit.edu), but the 3-hour Technology Day symposium the following morning was all about climate change. The 1,200-seat auditorium was filled to capacity with alumni eager to be updated on MIT research about this important topic, and they were fully engaged to the very end.

Technology Day at MIT – click here for archived 3-hour video.

When I attended MIT 50 years ago, undergraduate men vastly outnumbered the undergraduate women, who barely filled the one dormitory provided for them.  Over the past 20 years, women have risen to comprise 46% of the undergraduate student body and 35% of the graduate student body, spanning every academic discipline. This gender equity was evident in Saturday’s symposium, too. Four of the six presenters, including the moderator, were women.

In his commencement address, the former NYC mayor observed that the technology for successfully addressing climate change is largely in place (except for bringing it to scale), and challenged graduates to go out into the world not just to expand upon it, but to build the political will to deploy it. I was reminded of that statement the following day while attending a Class of ’69 discussion about anti-Vietnam war activism at MIT during our time on campus. During the Q&A, a fellow ’69 alum said he had interviewed several undergraduates about political activism, which is not currently evident on campus. The impression he got is that the students are all “heads down,” concentrating on solving the world’s problems — such as climate change — undistracted by the politics that excite and divide those of us beyond the walls of academia.  Reflecting on that analysis, as someone who was very active politically as a 1960s undergrad and is still active now, I suspect it’s because nowadays, unlike in the 1960s, the Institute and its students are on the same page about such issues, sharing the same commitment to addressing commonly accepted world problems.

(In the unlikely event that President Trump were to stage a campaign rally in the Boston area, I get the impression there would be a sudden upwelling of activism at all local universities, including MIT, but the MIT activists would be focusing their vitrol on the President’s denial of climate change.)

Climate change, of course, is only one of the “world’s great challenges” which MIT is committed in its mission statement to addressing through academic research. We learned in Saturday’s symposium about ground breaking research on mass storage battery systems and alternatives to blast furnaces for creating steel. Those inventions likewise contribute in a big way to sustaining the livability of our planet.

A deceased member of the class of ’69, Bob Swanson, who cofounded Genentech, is generally credited with creating the biotech industry. Scores of biotech businesses now populate the high rises on Kendall Square, adjacent to the MIT campus. A tribute to his accomplishments during one of the luncheons was most inspiring.

It was hard not to come away from the reunion weekend without a deep appreciation of what MIT and its graduates can and are accomplishing in addressing the planet’s most important challenges.  I consider myself very fortunate to be among those who were given the privilege of being immersed in that environment for four or more years, however long ago.

A videographer asked members of my class what their biggest learning was from MIT.  My answer to that question referenced the chemical process of osmosis, a secondary definition of which, according to Google is, “the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.” Just being in that environment amidst the faculty, administration and fellow students was its own education through osmosis. This may be hard to understand if you weren’t there, but my classmates would probably all nod in agreement.

I return from my reunion, renewed in my appreciation of science and technology and of all that my alma mater contributes to their positive application to society.

PS: I was honored when MIT chose to feature me in a pre-reunion “Slice of MIT” blog post, focusing on what I have done to transition Golden Real Estate’s office to “net zero energy.” Here’s a link to that blog post.