Styrofoam Recycling

Since our real estate office moved from 17695 S. Golden Road to 1214 Washington Avenue in downtown Golden, people have been asking if our Styrofoam Corral has moved.

The answer is “no,” we still maintain the Styrofoam Corral behind our old office (which we still own) and still take two truckloads of Styrofoam to the Centennial Containers in Denver every month, keeping over 200 cubic yards of the material out of landfills every year!

One truckload of Styrofoam from Golden Real Estate ends up being just one bar of “densified” polystyrene on these half-ton skids which are then delivered to a company which makes new products from it.

Come Visit Us at Our New Downtown Golden Office, 1214 Washington Ave.  

The broker associates at Golden Real Estate and I are truly excited about our new office in the heart of downtown Golden. It has been over 14 years since we launched Golden Real Estate in the former restaurant building at 17695 S. Golden Road.  We would have liked to be in downtown Golden, but we needed a place to park our free moving truck where it could be seen by passersby as our “billboard on wheels.” 

When Rita and I bought that building, I was a broker associate at RE/MAX Alliance, and I wanted it to be a satellite office for that brokerage, but RE/MAX International wouldn’t allow us to display a RE/MAX sign because of the other franchises in the area. I liked the building more than the brand, however, so that’s when I decided to create Golden Real Estate, securing the corporate name and the URL www.GoldenRealEstate.com for our website. And, as they say, “the rest is history.”

A downtown storefront has the advantage of more walk-by and walk-in traffic. Before signing the lease on our storefront, I checked the transaction volume of the other real estate brokerage on the street and discovered that their ratio of buyer sides to listing sides was 2:1, whereas our ratio on S. Golden Road was 1:2.  We look forward to increasing our buyer representation in our new location.

The left half of the picture above is a visualization of the TouchPoint Systems display that will be installed this week. It is a through-the-glass touchscreen unit which allows passersby to  search the MLS real-time, featuring Golden and Jefferson County listings in a slide-show format when not being actively used. The closest similar installation is in the window of an Olde Town Arvada brokerage.

Sharing our office is Wendy Renee, a loan officer with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Would-be buyers will appreciate being able to meet with a lender in conjunction with their home search without leaving our office.

Although we can’t park it downtown, we’ll still be offering our free moving truck to buyers and sellers and to local non-profits such as BGoldN, the Christian Action Guild, and the Golden Chamber of Commerce, of which we’re a long-time member. It will still be parked at our former office on South Golden Road, which Rita and I still own, and which we’re converting into a one-stop shop for “all things sustainable” under the name The Net Zero Store.

Several readers, upon learning of our move downtown, called me last week to ask if we’re still accepting Styrofoam for recycling. I assured them that nothing has changed in that regard.  As a matter of fact, we took a truckload of the material to the recycling center just this week and expect to continue doing so twice a month from the “Styrofoam Corral” behind our former office,

Aside from this column, which I have been publishing on page 3 of this newspaper for over a decade, we are best known, perhaps, for the live-action narrated video tours and drone videos which we create for each of our listings. I enjoy creating the narrated videos so much, I offer to do them for our broker associates, although some of them choose to do their own. They are so effective that we have sold listings to out-of-town buyers who only saw the home in-person when they flew in for the inspection.

For out-of-town buyers interested in homes listed by other brokerages, we have shot video tours for their eyes only, often resulting in a signed contract without those buyers seeing the home in person prior to inspection.

For sellers, we provide a free staging consultation to help their home show its best. We also have an in-house handyman to work on those things that need to be handled before going on the market.

Our Commitment: Keeping Styrofoam Out of Landfills

One element of Golden Real Estate’s commitment to sustainability is our acceptance of polystyrene in the Styrofoam Corral behind our office on South Golden Road. Perhaps you have wondered what we do with all that Styrofoam.

At least twice every month we fill our truck with what everyone (including us) calls Styrofoam, but that’s a brand name. The generic term is expanded polystyrene foam, or EPS. We take each truckload to Centennial Containers southeast of Peoria Street and I-70. There the material, which is 95% air, is “densified,” compressed into those foot-square bars shown at right, which are then stacked on pallets each weighing over 1,000 pounds. One of our truck loads might make just one of those bars of compressed material! Eventually a semi trailer filled with those pallets is taken to an American company which recycles those bars into new polystyrene or other plastic-based products.

We used to take our loads to Alpine Waste’s recycling facility located northwest of the I-70/I-25 interchange, but they ship their densified polystyrene to China. When China cut down on accepting plastic waste from the United States, we switched to Centennial Containers and have found them easier to work with, too.

Our polystyrene recycling is only one part of Golden Real Estate’s commitment to sustainability which won us our second Sustainability Award from the City of Golden in 2020. Since receiving our first award in 2010, we transitioned our building to Net Zero Energy in 2017 by removing our natural gas meter and installing a heat pump mini-split system to heat and cool our office electrically. Our 20-kW solar photovoltaic system provides all the electricity for powering our office as well as charging our five Tesla vehicles and providing free EV charging to the general public in our parking lot.

We and Our Truck Go the Extra Mile for Our Clients!

    Our clients have put a lot of miles on this box truck, saving them thousands of dollars on moving costs. They also get free moving boxes, packing paper and bubble wrap.  They only pay for the gas used.  The truck is also used twice a week by BGoldN to pick up food from Food Bank of the Rockies and by other non-profits, including Family Promise of Greater Denver and the Golden Chamber of Commerce.

We also use it ourselves every couple weeks to take truckloads of polystyrene (aka “Styrofoam,” a brand name) to a reprocessing center in Aurora, keeping over 200 cubic yards of the material out of landfills every year. People from all over Jefferson County (and beyond) bring their block white polystyrene to the Styrofoam Corral behind our office.

Golden Real Estate Launches Sustainability Series

As you may already know, Golden Real Estate is a leader in sustainability, as expressed in the value statement printed on all our yard signs: “Promoting and Modeling Environmental Responsibility.” And most of our agents, including myself, are Certified EcoBrokers, having taken extra training in all aspects of sustainability as it applies to real estate.

We’d like to share what we’ve learned with you, so we’re launching a Sustainability Series that will take place on the third Thursday of every month in our office.  We can accommodate 20 or more attendees in our office, but we will move it elsewhere if the demand exceeds our capacity, so please RSVP. You can do so now for all sessions.

Each meeting will focus on a single aspect of sustainability. Here’s the schedule for the first six meetings (subject to change):

Jan. 17th — Home Insulation — Walls, windows, foundations, crawl spaces, attics. (This is a bigger topic than you might think, but it’s also the cheapest and most effective path to reducing energy consumption.)

Feb. 21st — Home Heating Methods — Forced air, heat pumps, radiant floor, solar thermal, and other technologies.

Mar. 21st — Solar Power — Rooftop and ground-mounted photovoltaic, solar gardens, solar panels vs. solar roof tiles, and home battery storage/backup.

Apr. 18th — Electric Vehicles — What’s here now and what’s coming soon in cars, trucks, motorcycles and more.

May 16th — Sustainable Renovation — What are the more sustainable and popular materials and designs?

June 20th — Water Conservation — The latest concepts and products for conserving water use, both indoors and outdoors.

All sessions are 1 hour long and begin at 5 p.m. in our Golden office or nearby if a larger space is needed based on the number of reservations received. The sessions will be led by experts in the field, although you can count on me to add my own comments!

Go ahead and reserve your seat for any or all sustainability sessions now by sending an email to  Jim@GoldenRealEstate.com. We look forward to producing this informative series!

Golden Real Estate’s Sustainable Practices

1)   Our office produces more energy than it consumes. With our 20 kW of solar panels, we heat, cool and power our office and charge our six electric cars. We also provide free EV charging to the general public, yet our Xcel Energy bill is only $11.26/month.  At our request, Xcel removed our natural gas meter.

2)   We accept polystyrene from the public in our “Styrofoam Corral,” keeping over 200 cubic yards of the material out of the landfill every year.

3)   We use only LED light fixtures and have four “sun tunnels” (skylights) for naturally lighting our office.

Click here to read about our transition to “Net Zero” in our Jan. 4, 2018, column, “Promoting & Modeling Environmental Responsibility.”