Project Details

  • 1559 sq. ft.
  • HERS score:  -13 with solar panels
  • 113% more energy efficient than a typical Durango home built to code
  • Design-Build Mantell-Hecathorn Builders Team
  • 4 1/2 month build time
  • Award Page (live link)

Project Description

The land parcel that our client purchased for his home is unique in numerous ways.  Located in the desert country of Southwest Colorado in the historically and archaeologically significant McElmo Canyon, it encompasses 20 acres of seasonally irrigated ranch land along the banks of McElmo Creek.  The richly colored sandstone canyon walls that rise on the other side of the creek are included in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. 

Mantell-Hecathorn Builders oriented the house on the property with great care.  The goals included:

  • Maximizing solar exposure for photovoltaic panels and passive solar benefits

  • Retaining the irrigated acreage for continued agricultural hay production

  • Avoiding encroachment into the natural riparian zone located along McElmo Creek, which has year around water flow (rare in the desert ecosystem)

  • Locating and designing the home to stay above a potential floodplain level (more as a precaution due to lack of historical evidence flooding)

  • Focusing on the beautiful views to the north of the sandstone canyon walls and Sleeping Ute Mountain to the south, while maintaining the privacy and seclusion of the setting

This home won the Department of Energy's Housing Innovation Award in 2016 for its efficiency, comfort, and design making this Net Zero home truly in a league of its own. 

It was my desire to build a green and energy efficient home.  The passive solar features that were built into my house warm the place in the winter and cool it in the summer.  The photovoltaic panels provide for all of my daytime energy needs.  The house is so well built, that heating and cooling demands are minimal.  It was plesant working with Greg, Tara and and Hunter and I am confident in the home they built me.

-Michael B.