Our Newest Listing Is a Case Study on How to Achieve Net Zero Energy at Home

6187 Terry Way in Arvada’s Sunrise Ridge Subdivision – Just listed at $450,000

By JIM SMITH, Realtor

Regular readers of this column know my commitment to sustainability. Our office is Net Zero Energy, with our 20-kilowatt solar PV system providing all the energy to heat, cool and power our office plus charge our four electric cars, while also providing free charging to the public. My home is also solar powered, satisfying all our electrical needs, although we still have natural gas service.

Readers may also recall me saying that the most affordable way to invest in sustainable features is to buy a home which already has them, since the investment in sustainability pays for itself over time but rarely returns what you paid for it in the resale value of your home.

The home I just listed at 6187 Terry Way in Arvada’s Sunrise Ridge subdivision is a good example of that. The seller, like me, is fanatical about sustainability and has invested over $80,000 in solar power, insulation, daylighting, and other improvements, but the listing price of $450,000, while higher than for a comparable home with a higher monthly energy bill, recovers for the seller only a fraction of her investment.

Meanwhile, whether or not you are interested in purchasing a terrific 2-bed-room patio home, let me use it as an example of the ways you can invest in sustainable features for your own home.

I’ve written in the past about Steve Steven’s 1970s brick ranch which he took beyond Net Zero. I did a narrated video tour of it when it was on the annual tour of solar homes, and it took over 40 minutes to describe all its sustainable features!

This home, however, is a 2002 frame-built tract home that was constructed with above-average but below-optimum energy and insulation features, leaving plenty of room for improvement.  And improve it the seller did!  (You’ll understand why, knowing that she is Steve Stevens’ significant other!)

What follows is a run-down of the improvements which brought this home’s electrical bill down to the cost of its connection to Xcel Energy’s grid. In fact, the home is beyond Net Zero Energy to Net Carbon Positive, meaning that its excess electrical generation more than compensates for the natural gas being used for cooking and heating. On top of that, the seller charges her electric car in the home’s 2-car garage.

Here are the sustainability highlights:

First, of course, a 4.4-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system was installed on the roof. Having done that, the next tasks involved reducing electrical demand so that 4.4kW of solar PV would be sufficient.

Of course, all incandescent, fluorescent and CFL light bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs and fixtures. That alone reduced the electrical load substantially.

Next, five 14- and 22-inch diameter Velux sun tunnels were installed, bringing natural light into all the rooms, nearly eliminating the need for artificial lighting except at night.

Next, all the appliances, including the central A/C unit, were replaced with high efficiency Energy Star-rated models. In the case of the kitchen appliances, they are all stainless steel.

At this point, the electrical efficiency was pretty much maxed out, so attention was given to reducing the natural gas load for heating the home.

Additional cellulose insulation was blown into the attic, bringing it up to an R-100 rating — more than twice what you’ll find in the typical production home. We have a picture of this home after a snow storm, showing the snow melted off the roofs of neighboring homes but not off this home’s roof — clear evidence of good attic insulation.

The rim joist (accessible because the basement is unfinished) was insulated to R-50. This area of the house, I’ve found, is the most neglected area of any house when it comes to insulation. It’s where the joists for the main floor sit on the home’s foundation. Most home builders stuff some fiberglass insulation between the joists, but they don’t enclose that fiberglass in plastic. Cold winter air easily infiltrates through loose fiberglass insulation. It’s the plastic sheeting which stops that air.  And closed-cell foam sprayed between the joists further inhibits air infiltration.

Next, the windows and patio door were replaced with Energy Star-rated Champion products. Improving the windows further was the installation of insulating Hunter Douglas blinds.

Those are the improvements which made the home more energy efficient, bringing it past New Zero Energy. Other improvements worth noting which add value to this home are the large deck with seating on the sunny south side of the house, the beautiful oak Murphy bed with wall storage in the guest bedroom which allows the bedroom to be used as an office, and the 240-Volt wiring in the garage to provide EV charging.

Since this is a “paired home,” the  party wall already had double-wall construction with insulation which reduced the transmission of noise between the units, but my seller added a third wall which consumed 5 inches on the her side of the party wall, into which cellulose insulation was blown, creating an even better sound barrier.

I hope this article has inspired you to improve the energy efficiency of your own home, even if it hasn’t inspired you to call your agent or me at 303-525-1851 to arrange a private showing!

You can view a video tour of this  listing at http://www.ArvadaPatioHome.info narrated by me. It’s just like an actual showing!

NOTE: Showings begin on Monday, March 23rd.

Price Reduced on Fabulous 5-BR Arvada Ranch

11948 W. 66th Lane, Arvade – Now listed at $950,000

You’ll appreciate the quality features of this luxurious ranch home, from the fabulous living room with invisible surround sound speakers, to the gourmet kitchen, the elegant master suite with fireplace and sunroom, and the finished garage with epoxy floor. The location is super quiet, too, yet convenient to old town Arvada, downtown Denver and I-70 into the mountains. Call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a private showing! You can also appreciate this home by visiting www.ArvadaRanch.info where you can view a video tour of the home narrated by Jim.  Our tours simulate an actual showing — much better than a slideshow of still photos with music.

Just Listed: 5-Bedroom Luxury Ranch-Style Home in Arvada

Just listed by Jim Smith for $998,000

    You’ll appreciate the quality features of this luxurious ranch home at 11948 W. 66th Lane, from the fabulous living room with invisible surround sound speakers, to the gourmet kitchen, the elegant master suite with fireplace and sunroom, and the finished garage with epoxy floor. To fully appreciate this great home, visit ArvadaRanch.info to view a video tour of the home narrated by Jim Smith. The location is super quiet, too, yet convenient to old town Arvada, downtown Denver and I-70 to the mountains. Open Sunday, Mar. 8, 11-2, or call your agent or Jim Smith at 303-525-1851 for a private showing!

3 Open Houses this Saturday from Golden Real Estate

Andrew Lesko will be holding open his listing at 916 Homestake Drive in the Kinney Run townhome community this Saturday, noon to 2pm.  A narrated video tour with drone footage is at www.GoldenTownhome.info. This is a great property! Listed at $537,000.      

I’ll be holding open my 4-bedroom ranch-style listing at 9379 S. Jellison Way in Trailmark this Saturday, 11am to 1pm. A narrated video tour with drone footage is online at www.TrailmarkHome.info.  Listed at $598,900.

Chuck Brown will be holding his listing at 6404 Benton St. in Arvada open this Saturday, 11am to 2pm.  More than just a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home on a 2/3-acre lot (which could be subdivided), it also includes two detached 2-car garages, one of which is part of a 1,900-sq.-ft. workshop/studio! See the video tour at www.ArvadaMasterpiece.info.  Listed at $725,000.      

Leyden Rock Home Just Listed by David Dlugasch

This beautiful patio home at 8614 Rogers Way #B has 10-foot ceilings on the main level, hardwood floors, granite counters throughout, and an open floor plan. The living room has a 60″ wall-mounted TV that stays. It was just listed for $480,000.

The kitchen has stainless steel appliances and lots of cabinet space with a breakfast bar in the island. The basement family room is huge, with a 70″ wall-mounted TV included. It is carpeted and has a bedroom with a double closet and a full bathroom next to it. HOA dues cover common area maintenance and landscaping, community club house and pool, snow removal, and trash/recycling service.  A new roof was installed this September because the original shingles had been recalled.  There is plenty of storage space in the unfinished utility area. This home is close to walking/biking trails in the Leyden Rock and Pattridge open space, and only 100 yards to Daybreak Park. View a narrated video tour at www.ArvadaHome.info.  Open house is this Saturday, Oct. 5th, 11am to 2pm. Or call David Dlugasch at 303-908-4835 for a private showing.

Just Listed: Home & Studio with 40-Year-Old Gardens

This house is owned by a woodworker and his artist wife. It was just listed at $725,000 by Chuck Brown. Every room in the house at 6404 Benton Street in Arvada features his handywork in alder, oak, cherry and other woods and her artistic touches. The updated kitchen and bathrooms also feature quartz countertops. I can’t do justice to this home in the limited space available here, so please go to www.ArvadaMasterpiece.info for a narrated video walk-through of this 1,585-sq.-ft. 1½-story Cape Cod home, its 1,800-sq.-ft. studio building, and detached 2-car garage with attic, not to mention the 2/3-acre lot with four-season gardens!  This home is a must-see for anyone interested in urban gardening as well as those in need of workshop/studio space with 240-Volt power, and anyone who loves great woodworking! Open Sat. & Sun, Sept. 7 & 8, from 11 to 2.   Call Chuck Brown, 303-885-7855, for more info or to arrange a private showing.

$250,000 Price Reduction on 4-BR Arvada Mansion

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This fabulous listing at 12996 W. 81st Place in Arvada was originally listed at $1,875,000 and was worth every penny when you learn its features. Now it’s just $1,600,000.

See all 46 magazine-quality photos and a 21-minute narrated video walk-through at www.ArvadaMansion.info. It takes that long to show this home’s many features such as its ceiling frescos, his-and-her master bathrooms (including bidets), his-and-her master closets, two fully-finished garages that could hold up to 10 cars, and three boilers providing radiant floor heating to the home, its garages, driveways, patios, and even an exterior walkway for snow melting!  Really, even if you’re not in the market for this veritable mansion, you should view the narrated video tour to see how the 1% lives! For a private showing, call your agent or Jim Smith  at 303-525-1851.