Sustainable Home Tour features creative, energy-efficient designs

Suzie Romig
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
The Givnish home is one of six houses in Old Town Steamboat Springs open for an insider’s view during the 2018 Sustainable Home Tour presented by Yampa Valley Sustainability Council on Sunday, Sept. 16.
David Patterson/courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs homeowner Marianne Capra calls her family’s home “whimsical,” and the description fits.

The house, designed by husband and wife Jimmy and Marianne Capra, has multiple lofts, a hidden bookcase, gardening boxes alongside two levels of stairs, a climbers-themed bathroom and a two-story indoor climbing wall.

But the passive solar design home in the redeveloped old hospital district in Old Town Steamboat also is very energy efficient and sustainable, including support posts and structural beams made from trees that were harvested when standing dead, a two-story stone wall to retain the sun’s heat, renewable energy in the form of geothermal powered in-floor heating, structural insulated panel walls with straw filling and an insulating green or living roof atop a rental apartment above the garage.

The Capra home is one of six local houses that will be open to attendees of the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s 2018 Sustainable Home Tour set for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. This year’s educational event marks the 10th green building tour in Routt County and focuses on creative and energy-efficient designs in remodels and new construction, both traditional stick-built and system-built or modular.

The event brings back the popular format of walking or biking through one neighborhood, which guests enjoyed during last year’s well-attended tour in the Fairview neighborhood.

This year’s self-paced tour adds some fun new elements. For tour-goers who might want to ride an e-bike, discounted rental rates will be available through advance reservations. For tour-goers who want to walk the more than 2-mile loop, an electric Gem e4 car will be circling to give rides.

Local professionals such as Routt County regional building official Todd Carr will be providing 10-minute Porch Presentations at four tour stops on topics such as: Think Smart, Plan and Build Green, What You Need to Know About Building a Tiny Home in Routt County and Radon Testing and Water Quality Testing in Homes.

Other homes on the tour include:

• An energy-efficient, newly constructed modern-style home on an infill creekside lot with a simple footprint and highly efficient thermal envelope constructed by Gerber Berend Design Build. The house also features an above-garage yoga studio.

• An original 1948 house remodeled twice to be energy efficient. Owned by an avid gardener, the home features a root cellar and 1,000-square-foot backyard greenhouse with climate battery temperature regulation.

• A recently completed, innovative and waste-reducing remodel of a 1952 small home with design and construction by local firms Mountain Architecture Design Group and Logue Construction. The home features a playroom loft accessed by a ship’s ladder staircase as well as a loft master bedroom with shutter openings in the wall to look over the living area.

• New 1,500-square-foot ranch-style home using system-built or modular construction while easily meeting 2015 building codes by local contractor Fair & Square Construction. Guests can view a video showing the process when the two halves of the home were hoisted by crane over an existing house.

• A live educational demonstration of a home energy audit at an original 1950 home. A local certified energy analyst will show where additional energy efficiency and air leakage fixes can be completed. A local solar vendor will be on hand to answer questions.

The tour starts from the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council office at 141 Ninth St. between Lincoln and Oak, where an all-electric Tesla model X will be on display.

Tour tickets are free for children 12 and younger, $15 for teens and students and $25 for adults. Advance tickets and e-bike rental reservations are available online at Tickets will be available at the door from 1 to 3 p.m. Sept. 16.

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