Real Estate Blog

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…
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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 of Fulcrum 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…
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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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  ​ 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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    Walk down the lighting aisle of any big-box store, and you’ll see something you wouldn’t have five years ago – half the light bulbs available are LED.  And they don’t cost $70 a pop either.   We may look back in 20 years and see that now is the time of revolutionary invention with LED lighting as big as Edison’s discovery of the carbon filament lamp in 1879.   Smaller lighting manufacturers like Acuity and Cree are dumping a mint into R&D (research and development) with bigger companies like GE swallowing smaller brands and their technologies whole.    The upshot for consumers?  Cutting-edge technologies are reaching consumers faster through the established distribution channels those bigger companies have.  And light bulb…
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Photo via RESNET

The “Home Energy Rating Score” boils all energy users in a home down to a nifty “miles-per-gallon” number – like a window sticker in a car.   One point equals one percent energy use up or down.  But ratings do a whole lot more than that. 

In honor of David Letterman’s final show last month, I created my own “Top 10” list of reasons to get a HERS

BE ONE OF THE COOL KIDS – In 2014, 43 percent of all new-construction homes had HERS ratings.  Did yours?  If you plan to buy a new home, be sure to ask for the rating AND ALL DOCUMENTATION.  I’m floored by how infrequently people get this valuable paperwork, or are even aware it’s available.

SIZE MATTERS – Especially when it comes to energy users and contributors in a house like

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