October 2023


The Green Homes Tours in metro Denver and Ark Valley this fall introduced hundreds of people to home improvements and electric vehicles by showcasing some of Colorado's most sustainable houses and vehicles. In this issue, we share a few highlights of work done by the participants.

If you don't have the money to make major energy saving upgrades though, chances are you can do something. Below you will find information on the new Xcel Energy rebates and how to find other forms of help.

Sunny regards,

Rebecca Cantwell 

for New Energy Colorado

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A glimpse at some Green Home Tour sites

This home has a stunning view of red rock formations in the foothills, and inside it's an energy winner. A ground source heat pump with vertical loops provides heating and cooling powered by an 8 kW solar array. Exterior materials are non-combustible with powder-coated steel. Sunlight enters through clerestory windows that also exhaust warm air during summer nights.

This modular home was situated for maximum solar exposure and lots of natural lighting.

Flooring made from bamboo, cork and linoleum help promote indoor air quality while reversible ceiling fans provide comfort without much energy use. The home features water efficient sprinklers, rainwater collection and compost to allow food production without water waste.

The retrofit of this 1960 brick bungalow demonstrates that frugal changes can lead to big energy savings and increases in sustainability. This home features 17 solar panels and a hybrid ducted and mini-split air source heat pump. Ceiling fans and indoor and outdoor clotheslines also help reduce electric use. Outside, drip irrigation and a xeriscape yard help save water.

The mechanical room in this new all-electric net zero energy home features an air-to-water hydronic heat pump. It includes a buffer tank which can store and distribute water all over the house to provide hot water, in-floor heating, and more. The home also features mini-splits and an EPA-rated wood stove for backup. A 9.88 kW solar PV system with a 10kW battery provides the electricity. The tightly insulated home replaced a 1940s ranch house.

This 1960s home was rebuilt into an all-electric showcase. The 8.14 KW solar array has a 10kW battery backup which will allow the home to achieve near zero net energy use. Structural panels and advanced insulation will make the home very tight, while highly efficient windows also provide good ventilation. The electric shades enhance both solar gain and shading. The home takes advantage of its views of South Table Mountain.

This 1400 square foot home was built in Salida from straw bales in 2007. It is passive solar, meaning the orientation allows the sun to provide most of the heating. The thermal mass insulated concrete floor sits on a bed of boulders to increase the amount of heat that can be stored. The dark red floor absorbs the sun's radiation so almost no heat or cooling is needed. Outside, rain water is diverted to the permaculture landscaping.

Hoods were popped and batteries were probed at the Electric Vehicle Roundup. Auto sponsors from Audi Denver (pictured above), and Lucid Air answered questions. Several EV owners brought a variety of models to share their experiences with driving electric. Planet Hyundai was another sponsor of the roundup.

The Green Expo provided answers to energy questions. Representatives from companies selling solar systems, heat pumps, insulation, efficient windows, and more helped direct consumers to solutions. Plus, live music along with free food and drink made for a fun networking event.

See more at the New Energy Colorado website:


The Growing Dome greenhouse was built from a kit sold by Growing Spaces in Pagosa Springs, and allows food to be grown most of the year. A 1,000 gallon water pond is heated by the sun and warm water then helps heat the plants.

Guavas were growing in Golden in October!

Where is the Help for Your Home Improvements?

While it may not be within your budget to make energy improvements such as those showcased on this year’s green homes tours, doing something is within the budget of many people. And help is all around!

Xcel Energy has just launched more generous home energy efficiency rebates, made possible through the Demand Side Management decision of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and the many advocates who argued for stronger measures.

For example, you can get up to a $200 rebate for an energy audit that gives you a roadmap of what your home needs, or a $50 rebate for a smart thermostat to help control your use.

The Whole Home Efficiency Program will reward those who undertake multiple improvements such as air sealing, wall insulation and buying a heat pump. It allows customers who install three or more qualifying measures within two years to receive an additional bonus rebate of 25 percent of the rebate already paid for each measure. Customers need to use participating contractors. You can find the list at xcelenergy.com/COTrades

Federal tax credits for a variety of home improvements that took effect this year can be claimed on tax filings next spring for work done before the end of 2023. If you don't have time or money this year, you can plan for next year. The credits will continue and you can use them each year. And other programs are available now from utilities as well as state and local governments. 

Here are places to start:

Information about Federal Energy Credits and Upcoming Rebates:

Summary of federal residential energy efficiency tax credits: Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)

Fact Sheet on residential clean energy and energy efficiency tax credits: Frequently asked questions about energy efficient home improvements and residential clean energy property credits (irs.gov)

Home Energy Rebates Frequently Asked Questions | Department of Energy

News about rebates from Colorado:  Sign-up for updates.

Information about Utility Rebates:

Summary of Building Electrification Utility Rebates (loveelectric.org)

National Database on incentives and rebates:  https://www.dsireusa.org/

Information about Electric Vehicle Incentives:

Are You Eligible for an EV Tax Credit? | EV CO (colorado.gov)

Colorado's new "Cash for Clunkers" Electric Vehicle Incentives: Vehicle Exchange Colorado (VXC) Program | Colorado Energy Office

Upcoming Events

Tuesday October 17 6-8:30 PM Museum of Nature and Science- FREE

The Role of the Mountain West in the Global Energy Transition

Information and Registration here

Wednesday, October 18, 7:00 - 8:30 PM | In Person - BCRES

Energy Storage Discussions: Part 1 - Home Battery Backups

­Information and registration here

­Thursday, October 19, 7:00 - 8:30 PM | Virtual - MDCRES

Colorado’s Changing Climate and Watershed

­Information and registration here

Thursday, October 26, 7:00 - 9:00 PM | In Person - JCRES

High Performance Windows & Doors – An ‘Open and Shut’ Case

­Information and registration here


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