Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your New Construction Greenbuilding in Denver Checklist

My top home design recommendations in no particular order:

-Frost protected slab on grade - R20 min perimeter insulation
-R28 min wall, R60 min roof (many methods available, the consensus is to use cellulose)
-Design for a "conditioned attic" bonus room or no attic (flat or shed roof)
-Simple forms, rectangular or square footprint
-100% electric, no natural gas
-No sliding doors or windows, or even exterior french doors
-If you have sunshine available, high SHGC south (and north) windows, solar DHW ($3.5k max)
-Triple pane  windows if you can find them at a reasonable price
-Fiberglass framed windows for longevity and other thermal reasons
-DO hire a HERS rater ($1500 max), DON'T waste money on LEED or PH certification
-Photovoltaic system, take advantage of Xcel rebates
-Small, cheap HRV system ($1000 max total) or just a WhisperGreen exhaust fan for ventilation
-Minisplit heat pump or PTHP
-Induction cooktop, small range hood
-PEX plumbing pipe using 1/2" home runs

In a nice neighborhood, upgrades may be desirable.  A finished basement is number one, but if you're building today, it will cost a little more than its resale value.  The third floor conditioned attic bonus room is cheaper per square foot.


  1. Fantastic.

    Cellulose is my only dissent. I don't love the material, and I don't love the process. Mineral wool batts is my reccomendation.

  2. I agree the process for cellulose has problems. The Swedes know how to keep cold out, yes, but I think the main reason they don't use cellulose is because a wall panel filled with cellulose is a shipping problem.

  3. Where can we find mineral batts in CO ?

  4. The Green Cube Showhome in Denver (3310 Shoshone St.) is hosting a RTD Fastracks discussion on Aug 23rd. The topic will include how NW Denver stands to benefit from the new Union Station Development. 6 pm. Visit www.greencubedenver for all the details.

  5. Here is the latest data on what is trending in Denver real estate as far as inventory and pricing...good info to understand what is selling..