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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Today’s ‘High Performance’ Homes Go Beyond Energy Efficiency & Solar Power

The new buzz phrase in real estate is “high performance homes.”  No longer is being solar powered or super insulated the full measure of environmental responsibility. Yes, those are important features in a home, serving both the homeowner’s and the planet’s interest.  But buyers are becoming more conscious of the bigger picture, and some builders are building homes that they label as “high performance.”

“High-performance homes save energy, conserve water, are more durable, cost less to maintain, are healthier for the occupants and are less stressful on the environment. Simply put, they are better homes.”  That’s the course description of a continuing education class which the certified EcoBrokers of Golden Real Estate, including me, will be taking in mid-July.
In this course, we’ll learn about Construction & Design; HERS Ratings and 3rd Party Verifications; Energy Saving Features; Current Market Trends; Evolving Local Codes; Marketability of High-Performance Homes; and National and Local Programs that Benefit Consumers.
For several years now, Golden Real Estate has participated in the tour of solar homes that happens on the first Saturday in October.  Over time, that tour has evolved to include homes that are “sustainable” and not just solar-powered. The tour is educational in nature, and we figure that everybody understands solar power by now, and now we want attendees to learn about other sustainable features. 

For example, a super insulated home requires management of fresh air. It seems strange to make a home air tight and then install a fan to bring air into the house. However, these are not simple fans. There’s the ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) which warms (or cools) incoming air by passing it through a heat exchanger with the outgoing air, and there’s the CERV (Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator) which adds heating or cooling to the incoming air.
Heat pumps, both ground source and air source, are becoming more common. Their advantage is that they use electricity (which can be generated from the sun) instead of natural gas or other fossil fuels.  My house has a heat pump.
If you have a home that would be a good candidate for this year’s tour of “high performance” or “sustainable” homes, contact me about being included on the tour.  My phone is 303-525-1851, and my email is

Published June 30, 2016, in the YourHub section of the Denver Post and in four Jefferson County weekly newspapers.

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