Real Estate Blog

Almost daily, people ask me about solar and how it interacts with residential and commercial real estate – whether it’s worth it, does it appraise, ways to implement it, etc.

In this post, I’ll answer some of the questions I get asked routinely about the nexus of solar and real estate.


There are several ways to take ownership of solar energy, and/or the good karma you get from it.

BUY – You can buy the solar array, inverters and meter outright. You call a solar provider who sells systems, they spec one for you, you write the check, and BOOM! They install a solar system that’s yours, all yours.

POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENT (“PPA”) – This is the solar lease of the 21st century, and a couple of years back, over 80

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The actuaries have it right.


Not only are green buildings healthier, productivity lifters, and worth more money in capital markets - now the insurance industry confirms that they’re better insurance risks.


And one casualty insurer is offering hefty discounts for green-certified properties.


“The greener the buildings are, the bigger a premium credit we offer.  There’s a direct correlation between quality of risk and green-building practices” says Eric Arthur, executive vice president and co-founder ofFulcrum Insurance Programs outside Seattle.


“The type of manager who’s spending time to green policies and procedures is doing a better job of watching the shop.”


Fulcrum offers discounted casualty insurance premiums of

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Built in 1954, home at 3030 S. Cornell CircleIn a recent blog, I blasted mid-century modern architecture as the “worst and the least of everything” for its energy (in-)efficiency.  But one renovation in a historic Mid-Mod neighborhood near Denver intends to set that right.


Located in the time-capsule neighbordhood of Arapahoe Acres, the house at 3030 S. Cornell Circle is getting a green-home overhaul, grandly reaching for net-zero energy – all its power needs generated on-site.  Not only will the makeover raise the roof on the home’s energy efficiency, it’s modernizing the character of this mid-century area, to say nothing of lifting property values.


Architect Mark Bowers and his team from Architectural Workshop purchased the house this summer in the middle of Denver’s frenzied real

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GreenSpot Global was recently named a certified B Corporation – a designation given to companies that demonstrate environmental and social impact as a byproduct of their business model and operations.


GreenSpot is one of 1,442 companies so certified worldwide, one of 53 in Colorado and 15 in Denver.  Other B Corps include Patagonia, Method, Seventh Generation, Dansko and Ben & Jerry’s. 


B (“benefit”) Corporation status means that a company scores 80 or more points of 200 in an assessment administered by the 501(c)3 non-profit B Lab.  Companies must demonstrate that their operations pass muster in four categories.  




(2) How the company interacts with its internal and

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Trying to find the right light bulb is a mind-bender on the order of finishing a Rubik’s cube.  Incandescent, CFL, LED, Edison screw-in or pin-based?  And who the heck is “Kelvin,” anyway?  I want light that’s pretty, and yeah ‘makes me look good.   Even though we have lots of options today, one thing to remember is that there’s something primal about light.  Through the millennia, humankind has become hard-wired to draw near glowing campfires, or later, roaring fires in fireplaces.  Fire warms us, feeds us, and lights our homes.   There’s a scale to help you select the right light bulb, and  it’s called the “CCT” = CORRELATED COLOR TEMPERATURE.  The easiest way to remember this is that CCT is the COLOR of light in degrees “Kelvin”.  Kelvin is…
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I did some informal research recently about what green-building nerds want in homes and buildings. I posed a question on some LinkedIn group threads I contribute to – “If money were no object, what green features would you install?” Like an editors’ choice award versus peoples’ choice answers.

I think it was one of the most highly responded threads I’ve ever posted, with a real Santa’s bag of answers. I boiled the answers down into three broad categories. First, the features that are really pricey. Remember, money is no object.

Second, the nerdy. Some of the features in this category may not be well-known to lay people, but green-building pros know what matters and what’s pure upsell. (Tip to readers – pay attention here.)

And third, the obvious.

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The Jetsons’ age of the automated home is here, and it is lookin' goooood.    The Nest “learning” thermostat triggered its dawn in 2011, and ex-Apple engineers who founded Nest Labs the year prior jolted a nerdy industry like HVAC with Nest’s jewel-like design and cell phone control.  Since the product burst on stage, even staid engineering companies, light designers and home automation providers have raced to win the hearts of consumers with sexy designs and smart phone interface.    One study shows that the industry is growing at a fast clip – predicted to be almost 30 percent between 2013 and 2020 with a market value of $35.3 billion.   Another pegs the United States as the epicenter for smart-home systems with almost one quarter of…
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DENVER (May 13, 2015)—As the nation rebounds from The Great Recession, Denver is enjoying one of the country’s strongest local economies since the recovery began, and the Mile High City is fueling a red-hot housing market. With the announcement of Denver’s first sustainably focused condominium development since the recession, GreenSpot Real Estate says it is about to get even hotter.


Ground has been broken on Factory Flats, a new construction project at 3198 Blake St. in the RiNo (River North Art District) neighborhood of Denver. GreenSpot Real Estate represents the developer, a team of real estate developers, social entrepreneurs and financiers aimed at effecting positive change through real estate development. 


Factory Flats

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  ‚Äč Net-zero is the new superhero in homes and buildings, and anything less is merely mortal.   “Net-zero” can be defined lots of ways – in terms of energy, water, carbon emissions and waste streams.  But for the purposes of this post, I define it with energy use – the energy required to heat, power and cool a home or building is completely offset by energy savings and renewable energy.   Thus, netting out at zero.    (Also, I assume, dear reader, that you understand the HERS index and energy modeling.  If not, please visit my previous post on this, or go to   It is absolutely possible to build net-zero (NZ) with conventional sticks and bricks, and I routinely see HERS-rated homes built in the mid- to…
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