Golden Tour Solar Homes - Golden Solar Tour of Homes



Golden Tour Solar Homes - Golden Solar Tour of Homes
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Golden Tour
Solar Homes
Saturday, October 6, 2012
9am-4pm $5/adult
A self-guided tour of your sustainable community.
Register at American Mountaineering Center, 710 10th St, Golden, CO 80401
Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Exhibits
Workshops Electic & Hybrid Vehicle Round-Up
The Golden Tour of Solar Homes is
part of the ASES National Solar Tour
Welcome to the Inaugural
Golden Tour of Solar Homes!
For more than 20 years, Golden Earth Days (GED) has conducted its mission of promoting and
demonstrating greater environmental awareness and appreciation in the greater Golden area
through educational and volunteer action-oriented efforts including public outreach, coordinating large and small scale canyon clean-up efforts in Clear Creek Canyon, tree plantings in the
Golden area, and ongoing Clear Creek Trail planning. As a Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit, our
small yet mighty grassroots organization “walks the talk” when it comes to sustainability.
We are proud to be now be partnering with the Golden Sustainability Initiative to increase
our community’s awareness of renewable energy and transportation options and to encourage
commitment to actively taking part in sustainability.
Solar Tour Committee
Pat Grossman
Chris Crouse
Sheila Townsend
Jim Smith
Steve Stevens
John Avenson
Chuck Courtad
Sam Anderson
Mary Ann Mathews
Valerie Eric
Steve Sargent
It is now more important than ever for individuals and communities to have fact-based information on how to make responsible energy choices. We hope that this tour, and our other
outreach events, will help to that end.
Doug Seiter
The 11 homes on this year’s tour highlight a myriad of renewable energy/energy efficiency
technologies ranging from a home that was partly constructed on the Mall in Washington D.C.
as part of the Solar Decathalon to smaller remodeled homes from the historic part of Golden.
Patty Roberts
Also featured as part of this year’s tour is GREEN EXPO: Renewable Energy & Sustainable
Living Exhibits, Workshops and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Round-Up. Visitors can check out a
range of fully electric and hybrid cars from area dealerships.
Ron Larson (President)
By participating in this tour, we are part of the world’s largest grassroots solar event! During the
17th annual National Solar Tour, more than 160,000 participants will visit some 5,500 buildings
in 3,200 communities across the U.S. This event is coordinated nationally by American Solar
Energy Society in collaboration with dozens of partner organizations, including GED, and takes
place in conjunction with National Energy Awareness Month. These self-guided tours give
participants the direct perspectives of homeowners and installers about the costs, processes,
economic and environmental benefits of going solar.
In addition to this tour, we are planning a lecture/workshop series on renewable energy and
sustainable living topics, and will host another Golden Earth Day Celebration on April 19,
2013. For more information on these upcoming events, please go to
On behalf of the Golden Tour of Solar Homes committee and the Board of GED, thank you for
taking the time to visit the homes today and to learn more about your sustainable community!
Mike DeRosia
Marcia DeRosia
Golden Earth Days Board
Gretchen Larson
Barry Rosenberg
Lee Fisher-Rosenberg (Treasurer)
Su High
Dave High
Carole Blake (Secretary)
Patricia Foley-Hinnen
Britt Hinnen
Chris Crouse
Sheila Townsend
Sheila Townsend and Christine Crouse
GED Co-Directors
All photos of solar homes taken
by Steve Stevens.
Congratulations to the American Mountaineering Center, our hosts for
winning the Solarize Golden competition. The Mountaineering Center
is now eligible to win up to a 10kW solar PV system and needs your
support to lower its electricity bill and get its power from the sun.
To learn more, visit and click the “Go Solar” link.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Golden Earth Day
2012 Sustainability Workshop/Lecture Series
NREL Power Lunch Series: Sneak Peak preview
of the Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Presented by Bart Sheldrake and Whitney Painter
of Buglet Solar
Tuesday, September 25, 12-1pm
NREL Visitors Center • 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden •
The Colorado Tour of Solar Homes is offsetting
its environmental impact, thanks to
We estimate that the necessary travel from the participants on the
Solar Homes Tour will emit 11,023 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Renewable Choice Energy is providing carbon offsets for this event
that help offset these emissions and reduce the environmental
impact of this event. The commitment is similar to:
• Not
driving 11,249 miles, or
• Planting
Introduction to Solar and Energy
Savings Concepts
Presented by John Avenson, solar home owner
and home energy efficiency expert
Tuesday October 2, 6-8 pm
Renewable Energy Demostraion Center Site • 619 and 623
14th St., (SE Corner of 14th and Jackson), Golden
45 mature trees
Renewable Choice Energy is a leading national provider of greenhouse
gas measurement services, energy efficiency solutions, renewable
energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets to Fortune 500 Companies
and small businesses, thousands of residential customers, and over
1000 LEED green building projects in the U.S. For more information
on purchasing renewable energy credits for your home or business,
go to
Solar Electric Economics and Financing
Presented by Don Parker, Golden Solar
Saturday October 6, 9:15-11 am
American Mountaineering Center • 710 10th St., Golden
Energy Efficiency in Homes and Buildings
Presented by Paul Kreischer of Lightly Treading
Energy and Design
Tuesday October 9, 6-8 pm • $5 suggested contribution
NREL Visitors Center • 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden •
The Basics of Going Solar
Presented by Don Parker of Golden Solar
Tuesday October 30, 6-8 pm • $5 suggested contribution
NREL Visitors Center • 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden •
Since 1990, Golden Earth Days has conducted its mission of
promoting and demonstrating greater environmental awareness and appreciation in the greater Golden area.
Made possible by generous contributions from
Golden Sustainability Initiative and MillerCoors
Brewing Company.
This has been achieved through educational and volunteer
action-oriented efforts including public outreach, coordinating clean-up efforts in Clear Creek Canyon, tree plantings in
the Golden area, and ongoing Clear Creek Trail planning.
Special thanks to NREL, Renewable Energy
Demonstration Site, and AMC for hosting.
As a Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit, our small yet mighty
grassroots organization “walks the talk” when it comes
to sustainability.
We are proud to be partnering with the Golden Sustainability Initiative, Golden Real Estate, MillerCoors Brewing
Company, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
to bring you the inaugural GOLDEN TOUR OF SOLAR
Printed on recycled paper with soybased inks.
P. O. Box 1154
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Golden, CO 80402
Table of Contents
How the Tour is Organized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Golden Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Boulder Toyota . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
City of Golden Sustainability
Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Buglet Solar Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
A Great Time To Go Solar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Renewable Choice Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Other Golden Sustainability Efforts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Business Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Earth Energy Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Home Sponsor
A Renewable Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Sponsor of the Larsen Home;
Lightly Treading Energy and Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Visitors Center (NREL) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
GB3 Energy Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Dog Star Solar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Smith Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Golden Solar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Harmony Village . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-17
Iron Edison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Cameron Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Medved Autoplex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Logan Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Resolution Energy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Painter-Sheldrake Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Solar Side Up LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Fleischman Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Starfire Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Azerbegi - Walker Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Stellar Roofing and Solar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Doyle Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Thames Solar Electric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Sponsler - Miller Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza
Larson Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Roberts - Hislop Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
A & E Building Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Advanced Energy Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Burdick Technologies Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Colorado Renewable Energy Society ( CRES) . . . . . . . . . 30
AM 760. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association
(COSEIA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Golden Real Estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Golden Sustainability Initiative
Miller/ Coors Brewing Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
National Renewable Energy Laboratory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
ICAST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Real Goods Solar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Renewal by Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Solar City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Table Mountain Farms- an Agriburbia Property. . . . . . . 35
Clear Creek Watershed Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
1. The residences on the Golden Area Solar and
Green Homes Tour are open Saturday, October 6,
9am - 4pm ONLY.
2. Be mindful of your time in each home to ensure
that as many tour visitors as possible will be able
to visit the home.
3. Respect the homeowners boundaries for tour
4. Avoid handling homeowners personal items.
5. Be aware of, and avoid, areas still under
6. Follow all parking directions.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Glossary of Passive Solar and Green Building Terms
This is a percentage, measured as a ratio of
the radiation absorbed by a surface compared to the total energy falling on that
Used mainly in the American South West, it
is a brick, unfired, made of earthen clay and
Air Change
When the total volume of air in a house is
completely replaced with outside air within a
specific amount of time, it is called x number
of air changes per hour. (ACH)
Air Stratification
Heated air rises so that the warmest air is at
the top and cooler air is at the bottom. Think
of a house with two stories and a basement –
the basement is the coolest.
Alternative Building Blocks
These could be thought of as “cement
blocks”, but with a difference. They can contain recycled polystyrene, recycled woodfiber, or extra air to make it light.
Angle of Incidence
This angle is what determines the direct
sunshine that hits a surface (expressed as a
percentage). It is the angle that the sun’s ray
touch a surface.
Published by the American Society of
Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning
Engineers, it is a book of values, standards or
rating of various items.
The angular distance between a point on the
horizon that is directly below the sun, and
true south.
Backup System
When all else fails, this is what is used as a
heating system when there are cloudy days
on end, or when it is really, really cold.
To help moderate temperature, to redirect
winds, reduce the snow and ice build up
on the north side of buildings, or even to
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
dampen the noise from a less than optimal
site location, earth is mounded against the
walls or even on the roof. This MUST be designed for – don’t push earth against walls or
pile it on the roof without getting the building
engineered first!
British Thermal Unit is the measure of the
quantity of energy; the heat necessary to
raise one pound of water 1˚ Fahrenheit. It is
equal to 252 calories or approximately the
same as the heat emitted by a kitchen match.
Conductive Heat Loss
When heat passes through building materials, from the inside to the outside, it is called
conductive heat loss.
Construction Waste Reduction
The use of construction materials in such a
way that there is very little waste by the use
of efficient dimensioning and the use of any
scrap material (rather than using a new piece
of material and cutting it down to size). This
practice also uses recycled materials.
It is the same concept as a BTU except that it
is one gram of water that is used for the measurement rather than one pound of water,
and it is not 1˚ F but rather 1˚ C.
Heat is transmitted from a warmer surface to
a cooler surface by air or liquid movement.
Warm air rises because it expands. As it
cools, it shrinks and drops causing thermosiphoning.
Used as insulation, it is made from recycled
newspapers, a non-toxic pesticide and a fire
A design component that uses natural light in
as many places throughout a house as possible to reduce the use of electrical lighting.
Chimney Effect
Degree Day (D.D.)
When air (or gas) is heated, it tends to rise
and when cooled, it tends to sink. This is due
to lower density when warmed, compared
to the density of the surrounding air. This is
used to help cool buildings when windows
are open at the top of the house – the warm
air rises and creates a negative pressure. To
counteract that, the pressure brings in cooler
air from the bottom.
This measures the intensity of a winter - the
higher the degree days number means a
colder winter in that area. It is the difference between the average daily temperature
below 65˚ and 65, which is the base number.
Added up over the heating season, it gives
an indication of how warm or cold a winter
is in different locations. Denver has roughly
6300 D.D.
Delta T (DT)
The earliest example I have seen of this is
Luxor, Egypt. It is when vertical windows are
placed high enough up that they let in light.
These are not windows that are intended to
be looked out of, but rather to bring in heat
and light into the building.
This is used to calculate heat loss. It is found
by subtracting the design temperature from
the thermostat setting, the difference in
Drops of water (sometimes due to frost) that
accumulate on the inside of a window when
the humid inside air can no longer hold on to
the moisture (due to temperature).
This is the transfer of heat between objects
by direct contact. It is passed from molecule
to molecule by rapid vibrations.
The mass of an object is expressed in pounds
per cubic foot.
Design Temperature
This number is found in an ASHRAE table
and it tells you what the coldest outdoor
temperature is about 98% of the time. It is
the coldest expected average temperature,
though not necessarily the coldest temperature experienced.
Direct Gain
Evaporative Cooling
Indirect Mass
This is the basis of passive solar heating. It
is where sunlight enters the building from a
south facing (usually) window and strikes a
high density mass. The heat will be absorbed
in the mass and released when the air temperature drops lower than the temperature
of the mass. Technically, direct gain acts
independently of the mass in a building, but
for our purposes, we will assume that mass
is involved in the storage and collection of
sunlight and heat.
Natural cooling caused by water’s ability to
absorb heat as it evaporates.
The use of materials such as concrete, water,
brick, stone, adobe, etc, that, when the air
heats up, the heat from the air penetrates
the materials and is stored there. The heat is
released when the air temperature is cooler
than the mass temperature.
Duct Sealing
Sealing up all the leaks at joints and seams,
and plugging all the other holes helps with
furnace efficiency.
Earth Sheltering
Uses earth to berm up to the tops of walls,
or even on the roof, to help moderate the
outside temperatures against the walls or the
roof of habitable spaces.
Efficient Lighting
Also know as compact fluorescent lighting
(CFL). These light bulbs are the same as the
big fluorescent tubing that we see in many
commercial buildings, however they have
been reduced in size in order to fit into normal and typical light fixtures. They use only
about 25% of the electricity that a typical
light bulb uses.
Energy Star Rating
A program regulated by the federal government that evaluates the energy efficiency of a
building, light fixture, or appliances, etc.
Engineered Composite Wood
These products are made from recycled
or reconstituted wood that is laminated or
“finger-jointed”. Manufacturing wood like
this makes for a more consistent product with
better strength. This would also include laminated veneer lumber (LVL), oriented strand
board, (OSB), and manufactured joists.
This happens twice a year when the sun
crosses the celestial equator and makes the
days and nights of equal length. This is more
specifically called the vernal equinox around
March 22 and the autumnal equinox around
September 22.
When there is sunlight or even just bright
light in one area and darkness in others, the
eyes cannot adjust as either one area is too
dark to see but the bright area is fine, or the
dark area is in focus and the bright area is
washed out and too bright.
Any type, direct, diffuse, reflected, or solar
radiation, that strikes a surface that is exposed
to the sky.
The layers of glass or plastic that allow in
light and view are called glazing.
This is a way to bring fresh air in the house by
warming it using the air that will be expelled,
and then expelling the stale air.
These materials or systems are used to
prevent heat loss or heat gain. They work by
using small air pockets or materials that do
not conduct heat. It conducts heat poorly
and reduces heat loss by retarding the heat
movement from the warm to cold.
Heat Gain
Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs)
Heat Exchanger
The temperature of a space increases when
something that emits heat is added to the
space. This could be sunlight, people, appliances, machines, lights, or even a heat sink.
Heat Sink
These are lightweight blocks of polystyrene
with reinforcing bars placed inside. Concrete
is then poured in. The forms are left in place
to provide insulation. They also eliminate the
thermal mass of the concrete.
Heat can be stored in materials (or thermal
mass) and reradiated to the surrounding area
when needed. This heat source also adds to
heat gain.
Isolated Gain System
House Wrap
Lo-VOC Paints (or No-VOC Paint)
This is material that is wrapped around all the
walls of the house and prevents air from passing through it, thereby preventing a drafty
This is when the collection system and storage is not part of the space you want to heat.
A sunspace would be an isolated gain system.
VOC stands for volatile organic compounds.
These paints do not contain them because
VOCs outgas and affect indoor air quality.
Low-e Glass
Infiltration Heat Loss
If there are cracks around doors, windows,
and outlets (among other places) then cold
outside air can come in and warm inside air
can get outside in winter, or the reverse in
A thin metal coating lets in short wave solar
energy but blocks long wave thermal energy
Insulation is material that conducts heat
poorly and reduces heat loss by retarding the
heat movement from the warm to cold.
Internal Heat Gain
Heat is generated by people, cooking, lights,
hot water, etc, and it adds to the heat of the
Indirect Gain System
When a dense heat absorbing material is
placed between the source of the heat and
the space that needs the heat, we called this
indirect heating.
Low Flow Toilets
A toilet that uses roughly 1½ gallons of water,
or, a dual flush system that uses less water
for a liquid flush than for a solid waste matter
Continued on page 6
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Low-E Windows
The “E” stands for emissivity. The glass is
coated with a nearly invisible layer that
helps improve thermal performance by
reducing the flow of heat from inside to
outside or outside to inside.
Mass Wall
This wall generally faces south, although not
always. It is made of a high density material
in order to store heat from the sun or the
surrounding air. It can be sun struck or away
from the sun. When the air temperature
drops to a lower temperature than the wall,
the wall radiates heat back into the space.
Mean Radiant Temperature
This is the average temperature from all
surfaces (walls, ceiling, floor, furniture, windows, etc) in a room, including people. It is
the overall comfort sensation.
MRT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 80 75 70 65 60 55
Air Temperature .... 49 56 64 70 77 84 91
Those temperatures in that combination
gives you the comfort sensation of 70˚.
Moveable Insulation
Curtains, shutters, shades, or other materials
are used to reduce heat loss.
Natural Convection
The movement of heat through the movement of air or water is called convection.
Optimum Value Engineering (OVE)
Many times, homes are ‘overbuilt’, using too
much lumber. Using OVE techniques allow
for lumber to be reduced without compromising the structural elements of the house.
It saves on material costs, labor costs, and
gives a higher insulation value because there
is less wood and more insulation.
Passive Cooling
The use of a “thermal chimney” to draw the
air from the lowest point of the house, which
is generally cooler, to the highest point of
the house. Many times the windows are
placed at the top of the thermal chimney so
that the hot air can be expelled, and thereby
pulling the cool air up.
Passive Solar
Passive solar uses the sun to help heat the
building. It is necessary, in order to have true
passive solar heating, to have a reasonable
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
amount of thermal mass within the building,
both indirect mass and sunstruck mass. No
mechanical systems are used and the building itself is the heating system. Building orientation, site selection, materials and design
allow the collection, storage and distribution
of the sun’s heat.
No, this isn’t revenge. It is the length of time
it takes to recoup the cost of the improvement (sunspace, extra layer of glazing, etc)
in energy savings. If you were to spend an
extra $3,000 on more insulation, weather
stripping and caulking, and reduced your
heating and cooling bills by $600 a year, it
would take five years to pay off that investment of $3,000. After that you are earning
money. Well, not really, but you get the idea.
Also known as PV or solar cells. Light is
converted to electricity in DC voltage stored
in a battery array, directly used in the house,
or sold back to the utility company. These
systems can be either off the grid, meaning
that they are not hooked up to a company
that supplies electricity, or grid tied, where
the electricity can be sold back to the utility.
Shiny surfaces that direct sunlight to appropriate areas.
Installing any sort of system or material in a
place that was not originally intended to use
that particular system or material.
Rock Storage System
This particular system isn’t used very much
any more because of it’s space requirements, weight and overall fussiness. It is a
space full of consistently sized 2” to 3” diameter washed rocks where warm to hot air
is pumped through at one end and extracted
at the other. It is a two tier system in that air
is moved by fan into the storage medium,
and when needed later, is pumped out to
the space needing the heat.
Roof Ponds
Invented and patented by Harold Hay,
essentially, it is a sealable plastic baggie
filled with water (becoming the mass) on a
roof. Moveable insulation covers it so that it
radiates is warmth or cooling into the space
desired when it is desired.
R – Value
The R stands for resistance (resistance to
heat loss). When used in referring to insulation, the higher the number means that the
wall, roof, or floor is less likely to allow heat
to move between one side and the other.
The insulating ability of material(s) to prevent the migration of heat from warm to cold
is rated numerically and is expressed as 1/U.
The higher the number means the slower
heat loss. That is a good thing.
In our case we are referring to the heating
of a house, not nuclear poisoning. It is the
direct transport of energy through space by
way of electromagnetic waves.
Radiant Heat
This heating system uses a boiler and tubes
embedded in or under the floor to bring high
temperature fluids throughout the house.
The heat radiates from the tubes either to
the surrounding air or to the surrounding
concrete. (Many times the tubes are embedded in a 1½” depth of lightweight concrete
placed over the sub-floor. This concrete also
acts as thermal mass.
This is a physical system that is used for
blocking out unwanted light.
Solar Altitude
The vertical angle of the sun above the horizon is measured in degrees.
Solar Radiation
This is energy, short wave, given off by the
Solar Thermal Heating System
This system works similarly to domestic hot
water with collectors and a storage tank. But
here the hot liquid is sent directly through
a hot water baseboard in each room. A
backup system for solar thermal would
be a boiler.
Solstice – Winter and Summer
The longest day of the year is roughly June
22 and is called the summer solstice. The
shortest day of the year is December 22 and
is the winter solstice. The summer solstice
offers us 15 hours of sunshine, and the winter offers us 9 hours 20 minutes of sun.
South Orientation
Thermal Efficiency
U – Value (coefficient of heat transfer)
The longest side of a house faces anywhere
from 15˚ east to 15˚ west of true south. This
optimizes the use of the sun’s energy.
When a building loses very little heat in
the winter, or gains very little heat in the
summer, it is thermally efficient. Usually this
occurs due to good insulation values and
tight construction.
The measure of heat loss through materials,
measured when the outside air is 1˚ colder
than the inside air; the lower the number the
slower the heat loss. It is the reciprocal of
the R value. It is BTU/ sq ft / ˚ F / hour
Thermal Flywheel
Vapor Barrier
The summer sun heats up the earth. Over
the course of the summer, the heat sinks
deeper and deeper down. By the time
it reaches as far as it will go, it becomes
autumn and then winter. During that time,
the earth gives off heat. The inverse is true
too – that the earth gives up its cooler
temperatures during the summer. When you
have an earth sheltered house, the earth
stays warmer during the winter and cooler
during the summer. Incidentally, about 8
feet into the earth, the temperature stabilizes
to between 48˚ and 52˚. That is great news
for heating bills because you only need to
heat things up 20˚ to 24˚! (The difference
between the indoor air temperature of 72˚
and the earth temperature).
Here in Colorado, it is usually a 6 mil layer
of plastic that is attached by staples or glue
to the wall studs to prevent the migration of
moisture from the interior to the exterior.
Specific Heat
This is the number of BTUs needed to
raise the temperature of one pound of a
substance 1˚F.
For our use, it is the layering of heat, the
warmer being at the top, the cooler at the
Straw Bale Construction
Bales of straw have an R value of at least
45 and because of that, houses of this
type need very little in the way of backup
heating. They are stuccoed on the outside,
plastered on the inside, are fire resistant, and
have very deep windowsills. Straw bales are
made from the waste products of harvested
Structural Insulated Panel System
Sheets of OSB are the ‘bread’ of a sandwich
of extruded or expanded polystyrene and
are delivered on site in 4’ x 8’ pieces. The
pieces are assembled in a factory, and are
labeled so that the house fits together in the
style of tab A goes into slot A. The walls of
the house can generally be erected under
three days depending on the complexity of
the floor plan.
A room is placed along the south side of a
building and is used to collect solar heat that
will be used to heat itself or another space.
It uses convection currents, radiant heat
or fans to move the heat into that another
Thermal Break
Because heat is conducted from one material to another, we need to provide a material between the two to stop the transmittance. This material should be one that does
not conduct heat very well. It is used when
chimneys and associated heat sinks exit
the heated areas of a room, or even at the
borders of a concrete slab where it touches
the foundation walls. It stops the heat from
‘leaking’ out of a space.
Thermal Mass
The use of very dense, with high specific
gravity, materials such as concrete, water,
brick, stone, adobe, etc, that when used,
are struck by sunlight, absorb the heat and
later release the heat when the air temperature is cooler than the temperature
of the mass. In general, the more thermal
mass that is in a house, the more stable the
interior temperature.
Thermal Radiation
Water Wall
This system is a combination of collection
and storage of heat. It is a mass of water, in
containers, in a space. It can be as big as
a swimming pool or as little as quart milk
bottles filled with water. In either case, if
the container had a dark color added to it, it
would get to a higher temperature (but you
wouldn’t want to swim in it).
Weather Stripping
When you add materials around the openings of doors and windows, you are preventing air leaks and moisture from coming in.
This is the use of native plants and vegetation, which, in our climate, means drought
tolerant. This type of vegetation needs very
little, if any, water to survive. However, it
might take a year or more to establish the
plants, but after that, they should be okay
and not need any but the minimum amount
of water.
This is heat transfer between objects by
electromagnetic radiation.
Trombe-Michel Wall
Though first used in 1881 by someone
named Morse, it was popularized by Felix
Trombe and Pierre Michel, and consists of a
wall of glass, an airspace of a few inches, and
then a mass wall of concrete, or filled concrete block. This wall can be vented, or nonvented. The ‘outside’ of this wall is painted
a very dark color in order to help force the
temperatures higher. Heat is absorbed into
the thermal mass during the daylight hours,
and released when the air temperature is
lower than the wall temperature.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
How is the Tour Organized, and
How are Homes Selected?
This year we started with a brief evaluation form and searched for homes in the Golden
area. During the past year we have been working to identify houses and buildings for the
tour. We do this by putting out notices, driving / biking through neighborhoods, talking
to friends of friends, and asking for help from former tour participants.
We talk to as many potential homeowners as we can to see if they are interested. If they do
express interest in being part of the Tour, then we send the owners a house evaluation form.
We have kept the questions to things pertinent to LEED and what features people look for
in a home. The categories and their items are:
Passive Solar Features:
Unique Features:
Is the house oriented properly, is there a sunspace or a greenhouse, Trombe-Michel wall,
thermal mass for heat storage, daylighting
applications, vegetation for shading?
Daylighting system (specifically designed
for this), natural light in all rooms, skylights,
lightshelves, CFL bulbs, solar powered
outdoor lights, innovative lighting fixtures,
motion sensors / times, LED
Highly informed homeowners, Smart Home
features, Net-Zero home.
Photovoltaic Panels:
Orientation to south and inclination of panels
from the horizontal, how are they mounted,
size of the system, how many panels, dimension of the panels, grid-tied, how much has
the utility bill been reduced, do the panels
provide for dual usage such as window
shading or roof shingles as in the case of roof
integrated pv, how many storage batteries,
self-installed, tracking system, DC appliances?
Solar Hot Water:
Size of the panels, size of the holding tank,
is the system self installed, is it for hot water
usage or space heating?
Energy Star rated, instant hot water / flash
heating, high efficiency furnace, Sunfrost
refrigerator, tankless boilers
Thermal Envelope / Thermal
Transportation / Lifestyles:
Low-e windows, earthen plasters, strawbale
construction, sun screening features (what
kind), ceiling fans, destratification system,
whole house fans, thermistor controlled
fans, ground source heat pumps, evaporative
cooling system, heat exchanger, expanding
foam insulation around windows and outlets,
double sheetrock, zoned heating and / or
cooling, insulation levels above code
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Alternative methods (cob, tires, strawbale,
rammed earth), 2 x 6 walls, 2 x 8 walls,
double wall construction, concrete structural
insulated panel system, structural insulated
panel system, insulated concrete forms, local
materials, recycled materials, living roof,
low VOC paints, reused materials, recycled
materials, pre-plumbed for collectors, high
performance windows
Use of public transportation, use of bicycles,
car pooling, recycling, composting, gardening, low consumption lifestyle
Re-Use / Salvaged Materials /
Reclaimed materials, reused materials, used
materials (cabinets, plumbing fixtures), use
of all waste materials, composting, use of a
program like ReSource 2000
Green Features:
Non-fiberglass insulation (what type), materials (what type), finishes (what type), small
home (Not-So-Big), earth plasters, post and
beam, recycled materials, reused materials
from original construction, cellulose insulation, 6 mil barrier over insulation, AFM safe
coat paint, strawbale, mitigation of construction chemicals (formaldehyde, pesticides),
plaster board sealed with hypoallergenic
mud, pre-engineered trusses, oriented strand
construction board, aluminum panel roof,
FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified
lumber, formaldehyde free particle board,
carpet, cabinets, water based floor finishes,
bamboo flooring, engineered lumber floors,
fly ash content concrete
Water Features:
Low flush toilets, xeriscaping / low water
landscaping, drip irrigation, perforated paved
areas (water-permeable hardscape), low flow
shower heads, low flow faucets, green power
(RECs / Windsource), two button toilets
Building Rating:
E-Star rating (numerical rating), LEED (silver,
gold, platinum), HERS, NEED
Golden Sustainability
Under the leadership of the Golden City Council, with support from the Community Sustainability Advisory Board and participation by citizens, Golden has made a long-term commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. With the ten-year goals, Golden
recognizes both the operational challenges and opportunities that it will face in upcoming
years. Nevertheless, Golden is committed to creating a set of governmental and community
policies, metrics, and benchmarks that will assure that the community, businesses and residents are able to take proactive steps to meet ongoing challenges as well as capitalize on
new opportunities. The City of Golden recognizes that it will obtain significant economic,
social, and environmental benefits through successful integration of sustainability into our
operations, investments, and day-to-day living.
In 2006, the Golden Sustainability Initiative began with over 200 residents who
attended the first sustainability open
house on a cold and snowy night. After
four months of work, recommendations
by seven community working groups were
adopted by City Council in 2007.
Among the initiatives featured in the
Goals are:
• Encouraging energy efficient
• Improving
economic health
• Providing
thorough and relevant
sustainability education and
• Reducing
energy consumption
• Increasing
our commitment to
renewable energy
• Reducing
our solid waste
• Finding
alternative methods of
• Conserving
water and improving
water quality
In Golden, as across the U.S. and other
nations, we are faced with impacts as
a result of population growth, resource
consumption, and energy needs. Golden
is also affected by regional impacts such
as the economy, the structuring of local
tax revenues, and competing needs for
resources by adjacent communities.
Balancing these factors, the City of Golden Community Sustainability Advisory
Board (CSAB) has adopted the definition
of sustainability as “living or acting in a
manner that balances improving our quality of life, a healthy vibrant community,
and mindful stewardship of the natural
resources and environment while protecting the ability of future generations to do
the same.”
Increasing the sustainability of our communities can only be done as a collaborative effort between citizens, businesses,
community groups, and local government.
Golden values input from community
members and invites you to participate in
one or more of our local efforts. For more
information, please visit
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
City of Golden Sustainability Goals
Adopted 2007
Improve the energy efficiency and reduce the
environmental impact of new and existing buildings in
Golden. Specifically:
1) Ensure that within ten years 90% of all new buildings
constructed in Golden each year are built to green
building standards.
2) Ensure that within ten years 50% of all remodels
in Golden each year are built to green building
3) Revise Golden’s land use code to reflect the best
practices in sustainability once every five years.
Improve the economic health of our community by
increasing business opportunities focused on energy
efficiency and renewable energy and by reducing the
energy costs of all Golden businesses. Specifically:
1) Encourage local businesses to improve their
sustainability and profitability by developing their
offerings of sustainable products and services and
their use of sustainable products, services, and
2) Create/Attract new jobs and businesses in the
sustainability sectors.
Increase our community’s awareness of and encourage
commitment to actively take part in sustainability as
a public value that supports cultural, economic and
environmental health for all citizens. Specifically:
1) Create effective, ongoing two-way communication
that informs, educates and inspires community
involvement in city-wide sustainability efforts; and
2) Support the Community Working Groups in crafting
community action plans that effectively foster
sustainable behavior.
Ensure that Golden sustains a clean, stable water supply
into the future, specifically:
1) Reduce Golden’s per capita water use by 15% in 5
2) Maintain better than regulatory water quality from
water treatment plant to end-user.
3) Increase the efficiency of the water delivery system.
4) Improve the health of the ecosystem associated with
the Golden waterways.
Reduce our solid waste stream contribution through
the expanded use of recycling programs, waste
diversion programs, and other tools. Specifically:
1) Reduce our solid waste stream contribution by 25%
in ten years.
1) Reduce the City of Golden’s energy usage by 25%
and increase to 50% the proportion of its energy use
derived from renewable energy sources within ten
years (25 x 50 in 10).
Increase the ability of Golden residents and visitors
to travel to and through Golden using alternative
transportation. Specifically:
1) Reduce the communities total Vehicle Miles Traveled
by 15% in ten years.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Increase our community’s energy efficiency and our use
of renewable sources of energy. Specifically:
2) Reduce overall community energy usage in Golden
by 20% and increase to 20% the proportion of its
energy use derived from renewable energy sources
within ten years (20 x 20 in 10).
A Great Time To Go Solar
With solar module prices drastically decreasing over the past three years, now is the
time to figure out if solar is right for you.
Factors to consider include:
1. Start with a free assessment. A local solar installer can provide an analysis of your roof
orientation, tilt and shading, and the life span of your existing shingles and tell you about
the most current incentives and rebates available to you.
2. Don’t forget solar thermal…Solar photovoltaic is great for off-setting electricity use in
the home, but consider solar thermal if you have hot water needs. Solar thermal uses the
sun’s heat to reduce the amount of work your current hot water heater does, saving electricity and natural gas use. It’s a proven technology that is often one of the best returns
on investment.
3. Consider financing options. Do you want to pay cash, lease the panels, or re-finance
your home? Some companies offer solar PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements), in which
someone else owns and maintains the system and you pay a fixed or variable cost for
the power produced. If that’s less that what you pay from your utility, it could be a good
deal. Leasing is an option if you have little or no money to put down, but you may not
receive any rebates, tax credits or energy credits.
4. Insulate your house first! Yeah, we know it’s a drag, but if you use a lot of electricity
on cooling, having a tighter thermal envelope will keep that cool air in, and you won’t
need as large a solar array to offset your costs. Swapping out incandescent bulbs for
energy-efficient CFLs and LEDs, wrapping ductwork, sealing doors and windows can
shave 10 percent to 15 percent off your electric or heating bills. Do this, and you’ll save
even more money once you have solar panels.
Harnessing the sun’s power through a solar
system isn’t the only way. You can do a
few simple things to reduce your energy
• Don’t fear the cold outside. When the
sun has risen and is shining its rays,
open the shades and let the light in.
Make sure interiors of windows are
not blocked by furniture or clutter.
• Seal windows and doors. Close drafts,
which are one of the leading causes of
high heating bills.
• Clean windows. Windows should also
be clean both inside and outside.
When dust settles on panes of glass
even the smallest particles will block
light and in return prevent heat from
entering. The result will be turning up
the thermostat while not getting the
most out of the Sun.
• Light “tubes” allow natural light
to reflect down through a skylight
and are most effective for any area,
especially hallways, closets and
• Use trees to your advantage. Choose
deciduous trees that offer summer
shading and sun in the winter.
Solar thermal system at the Golden Community
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Other Golden Sustainability Efforts
Golden Community Garden – Always open to the public, this thriving effort is in its
fourth year and is a great place to grow or just meet fellow gardeners. Learn about waterwise gardening, attend a compost class or just wander through the great examples of
vegetables and flowers that grow well in Golden. Also check out the new fruit trees on
your walk from the Golden Community Center to the Garden. Planted in the summer of
2012, these species of apple, cherry, apricot, and plums could be ready for harvest by
the public in 2013.
Business Sustainability
As the popular saying goes, “You must eat your energy efficiency vegetables before
you can have your renewable energy dessert.” Going solar is a great way to invest in
renewable energy, but first take a look at your current building and business processes.
Lighting and insulation are the most cost-effective improvements to reducing your energy use. An innovative program coming soon for Golden busineeses is the LED grant
program. Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology is one of the most energy efficient
lighting options and is offered in a wide range of color and brightness, even more so
than compact fluorescents and incandescents.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Sustainability at City Events – Next
time you visit one of Golden great
community events, see if you recognize
some of Golden’s new sustainability
Free Water Stations. Bring your own
bottle and save on not purchasing
disposable water. Besides, Golden’s
great tasting water comes from the
headwaters just up the road, not some
plant outside Colorado.
Ride Your Bike. Get VIP parking at one
of the bike corrals nearest your event.
Skip the hassle of driving and enjoy the
event sooner.
Recycle! Using new waste & recycle
stations, place your recyclables in the
single-stream containers provided
throughout the event. Large events
produce large waste, so doing your part
by recycling helps Golden divert waste
from the local landfill.
A Renewable Strategy
The City of Golden maintains a strong commitment to energy efficiency and renewable
energy. Adopted by City Council in 2007, the energy goals are to increase our community’s energy efficiency and our use of renewable sources of energy. Specifically:
Reduce the City of Golden’s energy usage by 25% and increase to 50% the proportion of
its energy use derived from renewable energy sources within ten years (25 x 50 in 10).
Reduce overall community energy usage in Golden by 20% and increase to 20% the
proportion of its energy use derived from renewable energy sources within ten years (20
x 20 in 10).
With all of the different types of renwables to consider (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydro power) the City asked a panel of local experts to weigh in on the right
technology for Golden. Professionals from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
(NREL), Colorado School of Mines, Department of Energy, and the Colorado Energy Office convened for four months to compile a list of renewable strategies. The Renewable
Energy Technical Advisory Committee (RETAC) submitted its report to the Golden City
Council in June 2012 and the report is available online at The RETAC Report identifies the best opportunities in renewables as from large
scale solar photovoltaics, hydroelectric projects, and alternative fuel vehicles.
Community Solar Gardens
Thinking about investing in solar, but not sure if you can? Maybe your roof is not suitable
for a system, perhaps you lease your residence or business, or maybe you’re just not
ready for the long term commitment? Then the community solar garden model may be
right for you. Solar Gardens have recently been approved through Xcel Energy and offer a
range of options for investment. Subscribers need only be a customer of Xcel Energy and
find a solar garden in the County they reside. Terms and ownership options range widely
and provide for as little investment as 1 kilowatt.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Visitors Center (NREL)
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory Visitors Center is the
perfect place to get an education on energy efficient design because
it takes advantage of the sun for heating and lighting and showcases
technologies that can save energy, improve the environment and
lower the cost of energy bills.
the summer, the insulation reduces the amount of heat entering the
building. In cooler months, the insulation prevents interior heat from
escaping. The insulation system consists of a layer of synthetic stucco
on the outside, 4 inches of rigid insulation and 8 inches of decorative
concrete block for an R-value of 13 in the walls.
The Visitors Center itself is an exhibit of renewable energy and energy
efficiency technologies. Passive solar energy features, energy-efficient
lighting, an energy management system and other strategies help cut
energy costs and optimize building performance.
The building’s direct evaporative cooling system takes advantage of
Colorado’s typically dry climate. An air conditioning system provides
additional cooling when needed, and variable-speed fans control the
amount of cool air directed through the building.
An innovative Trombe wall—the building’s most striking architectural feature—lights and heats the exhibit hall. The huge, undulating
Trombe wall has five sections, each angled in a “V” shape. Windows
on the south side of the “V” provide natural daylighting and early
morning heat. Horizontal beams in front of the windows prevent
direct sunlight from entering during the summer. On the other side of
the “V” is a thick concrete wall coated with black paint and faced with
glass. A small airspace separates the wall from the glass. Direct solar
radiation is absorbed by the wall, trapped by the glass and conducted
inward to gradually heat the exhibit hall later in the day.
A computer monitors temperature, humidity and occupancy to determine the most efficient method for maintaining appropriate levels
in occupied space. The system also records and monitors building
Daylighting provides much of the lighting for the facility, particularly
in the exhibit hall. Many types and styles of energy-efficient lights fill
in where the sun’s light is insufficient. Sensors turn lights on and off to
further conserve energy.
The Visitors Center’s exterior walls contain an insulation system that is
designed to help improve the building’s energy performance. During
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
The Visitors Center’s entire electric load of approximately 4,000 kilowatt hours per month comes from the Windsource program of Xcel
Energy. Large wind turbines sited near the Wyoming border generate
the Windsource electricity.
A great exhibit to see at the NREL Visitors Center is Science on a
Sphere®, the unique visualization system created by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency – to show visitors the world on a
6-ft. globe. Animated images projected on the globe show the sun, the
Earth, and how renewable energy resources can change the planet.
Come and take a tour of the Visitors Center’s exhibits!
Smith Home
Jim and Rita Smith have only been in their “new” 2002 home for about six months but
they have pulled out all the stops to make this 2630 sq-ft home (2281 sq-ft unfinished
basement) carry its weight in our new world of record-breaking spells of heat, drought
and flood.
The Smiths have already had a full energy audit including a blower door test. They
decided to complete all of the efficiency improvements recommended by GB3 Energy
Solutions. Upgrades are visible in the basement, and GB3 Energy Solutions will have an
information table set up in the garage to inform visitors about efficiency upgrades. The
Smiths look forward to showing their improvements which include a Carrier air-source
heat pump installed by GreenTree HVAC. This heat pump should provide almost all of
their heating needs through their forced air system. The gas furnace will only be needed
when temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. GreenTree HVAC will be on site to
explain the system.
The Smiths’ new 9.75 kW PV system by Golden Solar should provide enough electricity to run the house, the heat pump and their Chevy Volt car. Jim Smith wants people
to know that now with leasing options available for PV systems, almost anyone with the
appropriate roof or yard space can generate his or her own clean electricity at home
without having a large upfront cash investment.
9.75 kW roof-mounted PV
Air-source heat pump
supplemented by natural gas
Efficiency improvements
recommended through a full
energy audit
2 x 6 construction
Two Velux “sun tunnels”
Hot water recirculation system
Refrigerator with mini
access door (eliminates
many openings of the full
refrigerator; the Smiths LOVE
this feature!)
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Harmony Village
The village has been a perennial favorite on sustainability tours over the years for several
reasons. It is an example of the European-inspired concept of cohousing, which utilizes numerous design elements and shared facilities to promote a strong sense of community and
a lighter footprint on the environment. The adobe style buildings were constructed with
an abundance of energy efficiency features that have paid for themselves many times over.
And its location and site design, tucked under preserved cottonwoods along two waterways
with community gardens and extensive open space, make it a delightful place to visit.
Built in 1996 – 97, Harmony’s shared mission was “To create a cooperative neighborhood
of diverse individuals sharing human resources within an ecologically responsible community setting.
The village follows the sustainable tenets of cohousing by using less land, fewer resources
and constructing lower energy-using buildings. And it goes a step further by promoting
“social sustainability” – meeting people’s needs through sharing and cooperation, which
reduces consumption.
The neighborhood utilizes clusters of attached homes, thus leaving more of the land for
open space. There are 27 townhouses clustered in two to four unit groups on three acres
giving a density of 9 units per acre. Another two acres were used by the developer for a
more conventional town home neighborhood next door. The rest of the property – more
than half of the total acreage - was dedicated to open space such as picnic areas, gardens
and wildlife sanctuary. Care was taken to preserve the mature cottonwood trees and to
continue the connection of the waterways that run through the site. The community garden
is irrigated by a PV-powered pumping system and much of the site is Xeriscape.
In order to promote interaction and safety, the community is arranged along a beautiful internal patterned brick “pedestrian street.” Cars and parking are kept to the perimeter of the
neighborhood and the 10’ wide street is for people! All the units have front porches facing
this walkway to promote easy informal connections between neighbors, as well as
a safe place for children to play.
A variety of home sizes, from 850 sq-ft to 2500 sq-ft are designed to be practical and space
efficient. The extensive shared facilities provide amenities so that each homeowner does
not need all of them in their own home. These include a community playground, large organic garden, workshop, and a 4000 sq-ft “common house.” This central building includes
entertaining and dining space, guest rooms, kids play areas, recreation, laundry, crafts
and patio areas.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
After construction was completed, the homes were independently tested and analyzed
and the owners were told to expect a 30-40% energy savings over homes that are just
built to code. This would save about $250 a year per home and reduce carbon emissions by 60 tons a year. (Please keep in mind that these particular figures are from 16
years ago, so with the intervening rise in energy prices, the current savings would be
even more). If you take savings and add them up over the last 16 years, the cumulative
effect is staggering – savings of about $150,000 and 900 tons of carbon emissions. Just
think what the effects would be if several neighborhoods – or even cities – were
to make this sort of effort!!
The concept of living in such a close community is more attractive than you might
think – there is a waiting list to buy a home here.
Construction/Renewable Energy
Air-sealed construction and
enhanced insulation: R-19 - 23
walls; R-38 - 50 roofs; R-14
Low-e windows
High efficiency furnaces
Controlled fresh air ventilation
Sun-tempered design
Only evaporative cooling is used
PV systems in several homes
Community garden irrigation
system is PV powered
All of the units are pre-plumbed
for solar hot water with one
installation complete
Transportation / Lifestyles
Carpooling is easier because
people live near to each other
Community gardening,
workshop, and playground
Community recycling and
Items such as tools are shared
rather than everyone buying
their own
Resources are shared, reducing
Green Features
Recycled content materials
Renewable, locally available
Engineered lumber
2 x 6 walls
Cellulose insulation (recycled
content) on 19 of the units
(this equals 56,000 pounds
of recycled material that was
destined for the landfill)
Recycled carpet
Low VOC interior paint
Xeriscape and low water use
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Cameron Home
The Cameron family is rightly proud of their energy efficiency and local focus as represented in their late 1940’s 2600 sq-ft home in Golden. In addition to significantly upgrading
the insulation and reducing air infiltration, they re-roofed with light color metal roofing.
Attic ventilation was added with soffit vents and a roof “whirley” to further reduce summer
heat buildup. The main walls of the home are brick and block with plaster lath. This 1940s
construction style limits the insulating potential of the walls (short of an insulating wrap over
the exterior brick) to R-7. Thus the home will always (without a large passive solar addition)
need supplemental winter heating. However, the Cameron home has minimized the amount
through envelope efficiency improvements.
For renewables, they have added a 16-panel, 3200 Watt Photovoltaic System on the SE roof
slope providing the ability to surpass “net-zero” on the electricity portion of the energy bill.
The Camerons are using about one-quarter of the Midwest average energy density in their
updated 1947 Brick home (Midwest rough average is 60,000 to 65,000 BTU/sq-ft).
The Cameron home truly stands out in the usage of plantings, or lack thereof. Major portions
of their lot are Xeriscape, saving water, while others are put to use in growing food for the
family. Additionally, they have built trellises which have deciduous plantings by the windows
for summer shading while allowing winter solar gain. In the picture you can see the trumpet
vines shading the windows on the SE and SW Sides of the home. On their spare lot, they
have created a neighborhood community garden with plots for interested neighbors. This is
true community thinking and sharing. All kinds of vegetables are grown which save the
heavy energy usage of commercial food production.
The Camerons frequently opt for bicycles when they aren’t driving their Honda Fit (42-44
MPG). In general, they live a low-impact lifestyle, and it’s clear why Don and Carol
Cameron won the 2012 Golden Individual Sustainability Award.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Upgraded insulation: R-60 ceiling;
R-19 basement walls; R-19 over
crawlspace (kitchen)
Infiltration control: 0.17
exchanges per hour
3.2 kW PV
Net-zero electricity consumed
Inside blinds for shading and
CFL lighting
High-efficiency furnace
Annual Home
Energy Statistics:
488 Therms
Negative 300 KWH
Meter BTUs Used:
~ 47,000,000
Source BTUs Used:
~ 46,600,000
Carbon Dioxide Emitted:
5980 lb (under 3 tons)
Source BTU/Sq Ft:
Logan Home
This comfortable earth-sheltered home benefits from lots of natural light and well-designed passive solar exposure regulated by attractive pergola overhangs for the southfacing windows. Built in 1984 and significantly remodeled by the current owners who
moved into the house in 1998, this 2,900 sq-ft home combines the insulating properties
of the hillside with high-efficiency windows and appliances – along with solar technology – to virtually eliminate utility costs. The owners have reduced the energy use of the
home with efficient lighting and a high-efficiency air conditioner and freezer.
The Logans’ interest in solar technology stems from their work in the oil and gas industry
and their passion for understanding the role of energy in our lives. One member of the
household works from home in order to eliminate a commute, and another regularly
commutes to Denver via bicycle.
The Logans report that during the summer months the production payments for the
second PV-system – enrolled in Xcel Energy’s monthly REC payment program – offset the
cost of gas that supplements the solar thermal system. So far, since the addition of the
second solar system, the greatest monthly discrepancy between utility costs and production payments has been $34.
Earth-sheltered home
Solar water heating for
domestic hot water (DHW)
Roof-mounted (4kW) and
ground-mounted (4.32 kW) PV
High-performance, tripleglazed argon-filled windows
Compact fluorescent and LED
lighting for interior and exterior
Bamboo flooring
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Painter-Sheldrake Home
This 772 sq-ft bungalow is a laboratory for this couple who own their own solar company.
The home was built in 1939 and includes a full basement and detached garage. The owners have made an impressive transformation of this early 20th Century home, adding both
solar electric (PV) and solar thermal, with the 2nd PV system installed to charge their new
Mitsubishi I-MiEV vehicle. Their other vehicle is a Volkswagen Jetta that runs on biodiesel.
Both homeowners are committed to enhancing their quality of life though the challenges of
being more energy efficient in their lifestyle, often using bicycles for local commutes and
contributions to the community. Both became involved in their new business after the passage in 2005 of Amendment 37 in Colorado.
Future plans include a homeowner-constructed pizza oven, new energy efficient windows,
possible additional insulation in the walls and a “dream” PassiveHaus addition on top of
the garage.
How is it working? The Xcel monthly utility bills average 270 kilowatt-hours for electricity
and 4 therms per month. Whitney and Bart “bank” 230 kilowatt-hours per month!
Energy Features
2.88 kW PV for powering the
home; 2.28 kW PV to charge
electric vehicle
Evacuated tube (Apricus) solar
water heating system, 400 gal.
LED lighting fixtures
Additional blown cellulose
insulation in attic to R60
Wood stove supplies about
100% of upstairs heat, 85%
total all from used wood
Green Building Features
Addition of downstairs
bathroom using recycled
Fencing and patio furniture
from discarded wooden
Landscaping, driveway and
granite pavers from recycled
Decking & car charging
station is from locally sourced
beetle-kill pine
Used billboard vinyl used
for shower curtain and patio
Unusual stone exterior is low
Driveway concrete recycled
from a demolished house
next door
Photos courtesy of Buglet Solar.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Fleischman Home
This Golden home features a ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system in a residential
setting. A combination of construction techniques and interior finishes helps increase
the benefit of this clean energy power plant, which produces more electricity than the
Fleischmans consume. Energy Star appliances and a programmable thermostat have been
quietly and effectively saving the Fleischman family money for years, money – Jeff points
out – that returns to the local economy instead of being siphoned off to distant lands.
The Fleischman home has demonstrated sustainable strategies for two decades, and Jeff
says they are “always learning” about new ways to reduce their “footprint” on the planet.
They will be transitioning to LED (light-emitting diode) lighting in certain areas of the home
as LED technology matures.
Low water consumption inside and out, the home’s landscape uses little to no water, and
runoff is controlled by permeable paving. The Fleischman home demonstrates a combination of good water sense and use of Colorado’s ample solar resource.
Ground-mounted solar 9.6 kW
electric (PV) produces more
than the home uses; payback
in 5-7 years
Mature Xeriscape uses little
or no water
Low flow toilets have saved
500,000 gallons of water over
20 years
Natural lighting and interior
solar control
Solar-powered roof vent to
reduce summer heat in the attic
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Azerbegi - Walker Home
This 35-year old house has undergone continuous improvements to increase performance. It is 1482 sq-ft with a 1512 square foot basement. In December of 2006 they
used 547 kWh, and 30 therms (of natural gas) for a cost of $101. In December of 2007, it
was 173 kWh and 19 therms for a cost of $43, and savings continue to this day. Annual
production of the PV at about 4,000 kWh per year exceeds the typical load of the home.
This house is loaded with features, and the owners are committed to doing everything
they can to improve the performance of the home for their family of three. The home has
undergone an extensive energy retrofit that has resulted in a 5-Star HERS Energy Rating,
in spite of the challenges of insulating with the existing framing. They feel that the solar
hot water and PV system are working well to complement the passive solar characteristics of the home.
Renee Azerbegi and Andy Walker have both made energy and renewables their career
as well as their passion, Renee as owner of the consulting firm Ambient Energy (specializing in energy analysis and green building consulting), and Andy as a long-time member
of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory team. They are working hard to get to netzero energy through lifestyle changes, and building on the low-carbon lifestyle by such
things as recycling and outdoor clothes drying (wildlife have shifted gardening to inside
hydroponics). Their site renewable energy generation is supplemented by WindSource
from Xcel Energy.
Passive Solar and Energy
Two – 9’ x 14’ sunspaces
Trombe-Michel wall with phasechange materials
Remote rock storage (14’ x 9’ x 4’)
Clerestory for natural light
Nine roof-mounted PV panels,
2.4 kW grid-tied
Solar Hot Water, 30 evacuated
tubes, 105 gal tank
Whole-house fan
Destratification system from
ridge to basement
Low-e windows
Evaporative cooling
Upgraded envelope sealing
Zoned baseboard heating
Setback thermostats
CFL and LED lights
Solar Powered outdoor lights
Energy Star appliances
High-efficiency condensing boiler
Insulation between foundation
and earth
Hybrid cars
Water and Green Building
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Front-load washer and dryer
Dual flush toilets
Low flow shower heads and
Flyash concrete in sunspace
Reused wood beams
Certified sustainable harvested
wood for trim and kitchen
Bamboo bathroom cabinets
Low VOC paint and American clay
Engineered lumber floors
Xeriscape / low water landscaping
Doyle Home
Kathy Doyle has introduced renewable energy systems to this 3,000 sq-ft Golden home
to offset energy intensive amenities like the driveway snow melt system for safety and a
water feature in the front yard. Reduction in energy use is featured throughout the home,
from the construction with 2x6 walls to Energy Star appliances. The Doyle home demonstrates a commitment by its owner to practical strategies to reduce energy and “green” a
conventional home. Kathy Doyle takes this commitment further in lifestyle choices, like
buying local, recycling and minimizing gasoline usage by combining auto trips.
Solar water heating
7.128 kW grid-tied PV
Cotton insulation (recycled
jeans) in the garage and utility
room walls
Natural lighting from skylights
Artificial lighting with compact
fluorescent lights
Programmable thermostat
Shading strategies with interior
shades and deck canopy
Water efficiency indoors and
Water permeable paving to
reduce runoff
Low maintenance composite
decking material
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Sponsler-Miller Home
From 1936 mountain cabin to urban power plant, this all-electric, net-zero-energy home
started out at 900 sq-ft. Between the years of 1988 and 1990, an 1100 square foot addition
was added that features 480 sq-ft of hot air collector along with a 25 ton rock bed thermal
storage system. The active solar air/rock collection/storage system provides 60% - 70% of
the home’s space heating, and electric baseboards provide the remainder. A 14.19 KW solar
electric system was installed in 2010 by Buglet Solar of Golden, CO. By ground-mounting
the solar panels, clearing snow from the panels became noticeably easier.
This home is a superb example of what can be done to convert a conventional home to an
energy producer. The owners greatly enjoy living in a home that has been “net-zero energy”
since 2008 (and net-zero electricity since 2006), and are committed to future improvements
like new windows, appliances and LED lighting as well as adding an electric vehicle.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Nearly net-zero energy home
2,000 sq-ft heated space
14.19 KW grid-tied ground
mount PV system
3-panel solar hot water glycol
system with 80 gallon storage
tank installed 1990
480 square foot solar hot air
25 ton rock bed thermal
storage system
Larson Home
This unique, award-winning home is owned by Ron and Gretchen Larson. Founder of
the Colorado Renewable Energy Society and Chair of the Board of the American Solar
Energy Society, Ron Larson helped draft the legislation that created the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), formerly called the Solar Energy Research Institute
In 2004 the Larsons purchased the winning entry in the Solar Decathlon home competition – a 650 sq-ft prototype solar home designed and built by students and faculty at
the University of Colorado – and converted it to a remarkably efficient residence
on Lookout Mountain.
The home was expanded to 2,800 sq-ft in 2005. The south-facing lot allows excellent solar orientation with a view, and makes possible ample use of active and passive
heating and generation of electricity from the 7.0 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system.
Solar heated water feeds a radiant floor heating system as well as domestic hot water.
Optimum efficiency from the renewable energy systems is ensured with heavily insulated walls and ceiling and thermal mass built into the home’s interior. Unique features
include Electromagnetic Field (EMF) protection and a “green roof” for gardening. Material reuse/recycling rounds out the green building aspects of this home, and Gretchen’s
pottery studio is fully powered by the home’s PV system!
Passive solar design: extensive
south-facing windows with
high performance glass (R-9+);
overhangs designed for shade
10,000 gal water storage for
annual cycle heat collection
and storage
7.0 kW grid-tied solar electric
with battery back-up
R-40 insulation in walls and
Heat recovery ventilation
Radiant floor heating (6 Zones,
2 systems) supplied by a
combination of:
The Larsons further reduce their carbon footprint with 2 hybrid cars (2000 and 2004
models) and a low consumption lifestyle. In addition to the recycled materials in
the home, they have literally recycled an entire house!
4 solar thermal flat plate panels
Set of 90 evacuated tube
collectors (5 modules of 18)
for Space Heating
10,000 gallon annual cycle
thermal water storage (1000
and 9000 gallon)
Winter Supplemental heat by
2 Wood Stoves
“Green roof” for gardening
Pottery Studio fully powered
by PV
Structural insulated panels (SIPS)
in the original structure
Double wall construction – 2 x 4
inside wall and 2 x 6 outside
wall in 2004/5 portion
Engineered wood (Parallam®
and Microlam®) beams
Composite wood deck and
sidewalks (recycled plastic
and wood)
EMF (Electromagnetic Field)
One-of-a-kind open 2-floor
double duty stairway
Natural light from orientation,
skylights and large window wells;
no Incandescent lighting
Water efficiency inside and out
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Roberts - Hislop Home
This large 1973 home was built at a time when most people didn’t take into account
energy and climate considerations when designing a house. It was built to take advantage
of the view, but not the sun. The current owners have spent the last 19 years trying to
compensate for this lack of foresight by adding insulation, upgrading windows, upgrading
lighting, turning down the thermostat and adding active features. One of the main energy
features that actually came with the house is an 18,000 gallon thermal energy storage tank
in the form of an indoor pool. By heating this pool with 19 solar thermal panels, the pool
provides thermal mass to warm approximately 3000 sq-ft of the house during the winter
months. In addition, two large arrays of solar panels provide electricity to run the house,
a home business and an electric car. The house is not net zero because additional heat is
provided by natural gas furnaces to the parts of the house not warmed by the pool. The
owners keep this to a minimum by dressing warmly in winter, keeping the thermostat low,
and using the solar pool warmed rooms of the house as much as possible. The owners still
hope to find a way to provide all the heating needs of the house through clean, renewable
energy and make the house net zero in the future. Meantime, the owners are thrilled to
not have to buy any gasoline for any of their local transportation needs.
2012 Golden Tour of Solar Homes
Natural gas consumption last 12
months: 481 therms
Pounds of CO2 emissions last 12
months: 5291 (based on ll lbs/
Purchased electricity last 12
months: 1209 KWh (Windsource)
Total energy bills last 12 months:
$734.87 (including approximately
$20/mo for meter charges)
Natural landscaping
Low water consumption
1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 300
Denver, CO 802025
Solar Hot Water &
Solar House Heating
Commercial and Residential Evacuated Tube
System Design, Sales and Installation or DIY
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good for the planet.
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Colorado Owned & Operated •
Thank You To All
Of Our Sponsors
for Electric and Hybrid
Vehicle Roundup
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Empire Lakewood Nissan
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Rickenbaugh Fisker of Denver
To All of Our Hosts
and Volunteers!
Join the movement to a cleaner more
affordable alternative to your utility bill!
Call for a free solar consultation
Colorado Home
Performance Contractor
hot water! Resolution Energy’s solar
hot water comes directly from our sun. Our
solar hot water systems provide high efficiency
heating, a comfort to your wallet, and more importantly,
our environment.
Solar Thermal Hydronic
Comfort Specialist

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