Amanda H. Miller
A new 3,900-square foot home in Colorado Springs combines the beauty of old-world design with energy efficiency and clean, affordable solar power.
Builder Wayne Intermiller, who recently purchased a G.J. Gardner franchise, finished the home in time for this year’s Colorado Springs Home Builders Association Parade of Homes.
The house, which is equipped with secret passageways, just like old Victorian homes had, gets about 92 percent of the power it needs from two banks of solar panels on its roof.
The 9.86 kilowatts of Clear Energy solar panels power the homes lighting, home theater system and highly-efficient heating and cooling system.
Radiant, in-floor pipes carry cold water throughout the house and cool the air by blowing air past the chilled water during the summer. In the winter, the solar photovoltaic panels power the electric heating of the water that flows through the in-floor pipes to cool the home.
While he’s still waiting to receive the certificate in the mail, Intermiller said his home is the first Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified single family home in the state.
The home has a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) rating of 13. That’s compared to rating around 100 for most homes its size.
The utility bill is expected to be about $55 a month, Intermiller said. That’s extremely low for a house that’s almost 4,000 square feet.
The house is in a new in-fill development uncommon in Colorado Springs, which is typically characterized by urban sprawl and banks of beige tract houses. Gold Hill Mesa is a traditional neighborhood development, where all of the homes feature front porches close to the sidewalks, lots of common parks and rear-loaded garages through alleyways.
The developer encourages builders to make homes as green and energy efficient as possible. They are also encouraged to build homes with unique designs that vary from the neighbors and use vibrant colors. It’s a different type of neighborhood, especially in suburban Colorado Springs, and Intermiller was happy to build there.
“In Gold Hill Mesa, their motto is green,” Intermiller said. “This house is a good fit in this neighborhood.”
Many of the homes in the new development are highly energy efficient. Most are priced between $200,000 and $300,000 and are between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet.
Intermiller’s G.J. Gardner home with its extra square footage and ultra-low utility bills, thanks to the solar power, is priced at $525,000.