Keeping the Colorado Climate at Bay With Proper Insulation and Air Sealing

Air Sealing and Insulation: Creating Comfortable and Energy-Efficient Homes in Colorado

Colorado’s climate can be beautiful and challenging, with hot summers and cold winters. However proper insulation and air-sealing will increase year-round comfort and reduce energy consumption.

Let’s explore the importance of these practices in Colorado’s challenging climate. Understanding the benefits of insulation and air sealing will help Denver and Fort Collins homeowners create energy-efficient, comfortable, and sustainable living spaces.

Energy Efficiency: Lowering Costs and Environmental Impact

Any Colorado resident knows temperatures fluctuate drastically, so maintaining a comfortable indoor environment can be challenging. But, proper insulation and air sealing can significantly impact energy efficiency.

As a homeowner, you can lower your utility bills and reduce your carbon footprint by reducing the heating and cooling required to maintain a consistent temperature.

But shopping for insulation can be challenging with so many options like fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam. The key is maximizing your R-value. If you are insulating wall cavities with a defined depth, you want to look for insulation that has a high R-value per inch. If you are insulating an attic, you probably have enough room to maximize the R-value by simply adding more insulation (if the chosen insulation has a lower R-value per inch, you can simply add more.)

And, air sealing complements insulation by preventing leaks that can undermine its effectiveness. The insulation material itself has very little, if any, R-value. The insulative value comes from the insulation material trapping air between its fibers. Conductive heat has a difficult time moving through air. If air is allowed to move through the insulation, its effectiveness can be greatly reduced, maybe even over 50%. R-39 attic insulation can perform like R-19 when you have air moving through it.

For this reason, it is always very important to seal up any air leaks before adding insulation. Otherwise, you are wasting money on adding ineffective insulation.

The most common spots for air leaks are windows, doors, electrical outlets, and gaps around pipes and wires. By sealing these gaps, homeowners can prevent drafts, increase energy efficiency, and improve overall comfort.

Aeroseal Envelope

Innovative solutions like Aeroseal Envelope (formerly known as AeroBarrier) offer a revolutionary approach to air sealing. Aeroseal technology uses a water-based acrylic sealant that is pressurized and distributed throughout the building, effectively sealing even the tiniest leaks.

This process provides measurable results, ensures compliance with energy efficiency standards, and saves time and money on retesting and rework.

How to Air Seal and Insulate Colorado Homes

Air Sealing and Insulation for Comfort: Eliminating Drafts and Temperature Variations

Proper insulation and air sealing contribute to energy efficiency and enhance comfort in your home by reducing drafts and temperature variations.

And with Colorado’s sometimes bitterly cold winters and hot summers, insulation and air sealing are crucial to maintaining comfortable temperatures year-round.

By sealing gaps and cracks around windows, doors, and other vulnerable areas, homeowners can eliminate unwanted airflow and ensure a more comfortable living space.

Improved Indoor Air Quality: Health and Well-being

The good news! When you combine air sealing with a proper ventilation strategy, indoor air dramatically improves, and there is less risk of health problems associated with poor indoor air quality.

In Denver and Fort Collins, as well as other Colorado cities, proper insulation and air sealing offer numerous benefits, including a significant improvement in indoor air quality.

In homes with poor insulation and air leaks, outdoor pollutants, allergens, and contaminants can easily infiltrate, compromising the air quality and potentially impacting the health of occupants.

Fortunately, by properly insulating and sealing the home, homeowners can minimize the infiltration of these harmful substances and achieve a noticeable enhancement of indoor air quality.

And, it’s important to implement effective ventilation strategies to remove stagnant indoor air while facilitating the entry of fresh outdoor air for a healthier living environment.

By combining proper insulation, air sealing, and ventilation systems, homeowners in Denver, Fort Collins, and beyond can ensure optimal indoor air quality, even in Colorado’s challenging climate.

An excellent solution that improves air sealing and indoor air quality is Aeroseal Envelope. This innovative product not only seals leaks to prevent the infiltration of outdoor pollutants, allergens, and dust but also actively promotes a healthier and more comfortable living environment.

Air Seal and Insulate Colorado Homes for Durability: Protecting Your Home from Moisture and Damage

How to Air Seal and Insulate Colorado Homes

If you get your insulation and air sealing right, they impact energy efficiency and comfort AND contribute to a home’s durability. Colorado’s well-known temperature fluctuations and winter moisture can pose significant challenges to a home’s structural integrity.

Meaning when a home is not adequately insulated or has air leaks, moisture can enter through these gaps and cause damage over time. Not good! 

Moisture can lead to mold growth and compromised structural integrity. Air leakage in cold weather can lead to ice damming. By properly insulating and air sealing the home, homeowners can safeguard their investment.

Are you a Colorado homeowner? If so, consider its challenges, including snowfall, high-altitude conditions, and temperature differentials.

Working with experienced professionals who understand the local climate can help ensure the insulation and air sealing strategies address these unique challenges and maximize durability.

Building Codes: Complying with Energy Efficiency Standards

Colorado has adopted building codes that require proper insulation and air sealing in new construction and major renovations. These codes help ensure that homes are built to high standards of energy efficiency and comfort. Because Colorado is a home-rule state, you will need to check with your local building department.

However, it is important for homeowners in Denver, Fort Collins, and other Colorado cities to be aware of these building codes and work with contractors who understand and comply with them.

By adhering to these standards, homeowners can be confident that their homes meet energy-efficient standards.

Not to mention that these codes contribute to a home’s value! Energy-efficient homes are in high demand, and compliance with building codes can enhance marketability and attract buyers.

Creating Sustainable and Comfortable Homes in Colorado

Proper insulation and air sealing are essential for Colorado homeowners.

By investing in high-quality insulation, sealing air leaks, and complying with building codes, homeowners can create energy-efficient, comfortable, and durable homes.

These improvements translate to lower energy bills, enhance indoor air quality, and reduce environmental impact. It is widely considered by green builders as the most important improvements you can make to a home.

Want optimal results? Work with experienced professionals who understand the unique challenges of Colorado’s climate.

And enjoy the benefits of a well-insulated and airtight Colorado home, reducing energy consumption, increasing comfort, and contributing to a greener future.

Need Help with Insulation and Air Sealing?

For more information and guidance on creating energy-efficient homes in Colorado, contact Green Insight today.

Together, we can create a sustainable and comfortable future for homeowners in Denver, Fort Collins, and beyond!

5 Techniques for Achieving Green Building Success in Colorado

Green building practices have gained significant popularity in cities like Denver and Fort Collins, contributing to the overall green building success in Colorado.

However, implementing these practices can be challenging for builders. In this article, we will explore five techniques that Colorado builders can utilize to achieve green building success in their new construction projects.

Colorado is Building Green

As the demand for sustainable buildings increases, Colorado builders need to adopt green building practices. However, implementing these practices can be challenging.

These practices not only reduce the environmental impact of new construction but also offer long-term economic benefits. By incorporating energy-efficient systems, optimizing the building envelope, using sustainable materials, promoting water conservation, and exploring green building certifications, builders can achieve green building success.

So without delay, here are your five tips for building green in Colorado.

1. Want Green Building Success in Colorado: Start by Optimizing the Building Envelope

With new construction, one of the most critical aspects of building performance is proper insulation and air sealing. These elements are not only low-cost but also exceptionally durable, making them attractive to builders.

By optimizing the building envelope, heating and cooling loads can be significantly reduced, which often leads to the use of smaller, more affordable HVAC equipment. Plus, a well-sealed building combined with the appropriate ventilation strategy results in better indoor air quality for all occupants. All good!

The building envelope comprises various components, such as exterior walls, the roof, windows, and doors. Proper insulation and air sealing are crucial as they enhance building performance, reduce heating and cooling loads, and improve indoor air quality.

To achieve air sealing excellence, builders can utilize innovative solutions offered by Aeroseal Envelope (formerly known as AeroBarrier). With the employment of a water-based, pressurized acrylic sealant, even the tiniest leaks can be sealed, ensuring compliance with energy efficiency standards and saving time and money on retesting and rework. Aeroseal Envelope supplies measurable results, all while helping builders maintain optimal building performance.

2. Incorporate Energy-Efficient Systems

Incorporating energy-efficient systems is another way to achieve green building success. Builders can focus on implementing energy-efficient HVAC systems, lighting systems, and appliances to reduce energy consumption and improve overall efficiency.

Bonus: Using advanced technologies such as smart thermostats, LED lighting, and energy-efficient appliances can significantly contribute to energy savings and lower operating costs for the building.

3. Use Sustainable Materials

Denver and Fort Collins builders should prioritize the use of sustainable materials in their new construction projects. Incorporating recycled content materials and locally sourced materials helps reduce the environmental impact of the building.

There’s a long list of sustainable materials – here are a few: Salvage materials, precast concrete, and recycled steel are examples of sustainable building materials. These materials contribute to environmental preservation AND enhance the overall quality and durability of the building.

4. Promote Water Conservation for Green Building Success in Colorado

Water conservation plays a vital role in green building practices. Builders can promote water conservation by using low-flow fixtures and incorporating water-saving landscaping practices, things that will also save more energy for water heating!

What else? Installing water-efficient faucets, toilets, and appliances can significantly reduce water consumption and protect our water resources in Colorado. And, capturing and using rainwater for non-potable uses, such as irrigation, can further enhance your water conservation efforts.

5. Explore Options for Green Building Certifications

Builders can seek green building certifications, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or Energy Star, to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable building practices. These certifications provide recognition for environmentally responsible construction and can enhance the marketability and value of the building.

Working with experienced green building consultants can help navigate the certification process and identify additional incentives available for green building projects.

5 Tips for Building Green in Colorado. (Are you ready?)

Are you a builder working in Denver, Fort Collins, or another Colorado city?

By implementing these five techniques, you can achieve green building success while enjoying the economic and environmental benefits of sustainable construction.

  1. Optimizing the building envelope
  2. Incorporating energy-efficient systems
  3. Using sustainable materials
  4. Promoting water conservation
  5. And exploring green building certifications

All five are key steps to create environmentally responsible buildings and achieve green building success.

Need Help With Your New Construction Project?

For expert guidance and assistance in achieving green building success, contact our Fort Collins office today and start your journey towards green building success.

The Ultimate Air-Sealing Solution for Green Buildings (Aeroseal Envelope)

What do you think is the best air-sealing solution for green buildings?

In the world of green building and energy efficiency, ensuring an airtight building envelope is crucial for achieving optimal energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor air quality.

Traditional air sealing methods can be time-consuming, unreliable, and often leave invisible gaps and leaks. However, there is a groundbreaking technology that simplifies and accelerates the air sealing process while guaranteeing exceptional results – Aeroseal Envelope.

The Need for an Airtight Building Envelope

A durable and tight building envelope is critically important for several reasons. It’s the most effective means to prevent energy loss, eliminate drafts that lead to discomfort, and maintain optimal indoor air quality.

A robust and airtight envelope also effectively reduces noise levels and provides reliable protection against pest infestations and moisture buildup, ensuring your structure remains durable and secure for years to come.

You can quickly and efficiently achieve the airtight building envelope you need with Aeroseal Envelope’s innovative technology. Our top-of-the-line Aeroseal Envelope Service offers the most efficient and effective means of sealing leaks found in your building envelope.

How Aeroseal Envelope Works

Aeroseal Envelope goes beyond traditional air sealing methods. The process begins by connecting the patented technology to the building via a modified blower, which pressurizes and distributes a water-based acrylic sealant throughout the space. 

This setup allows the pressurized air to carry the sealant, effectively reaching and sealing even the tiniest leak points.

Unlike manual sealing techniques that can leave gaps and inconsistencies, Aeroseal Envelope provides full coverage, ensuring that every crack and hole in the building is sealed quickly and efficiently.

The sealant is self-guided, finding its way to the edges of leaks you can and can’t see, creating a strong, long-lasting seal.

With this advanced application process, you can achieve amazing results without the guesswork commonly associated with manual sealing methods. It’s a proven air-sealing solution for green buildings.

Holmes and Holmes Featuring Aeroseal Envelope (formerly AeroBarrier) on DIYNetwork

The Many Benefits of Aeroseal Envelope (A Proven Air-Sealing Solution for Green Buildings)

1. Measurable Results

A key advantage of Aeroseal Envelope is its ability to provide measurable results in real-time. The system incorporates a blower door test, allowing precise control over the desired air leakage requirements.

This not only ensures compliance with energy efficiency standards such as ENERGY STAR®, LEED, Passive House, or Net Zero but also provides tangible evidence of the building’s airtightness.

2. Cost-Effective Solution (A Low-Cost Air-Sealing Solution for Green Buildings)

Aeroseal Envelope offers a cost-effective solution compared to traditional air sealing methods. With the ability to seal leaks as small as a human hair and up to 1/2 inch wide, the system eliminates the need for extensive caulking and manual weatherization efforts.

By meeting and verifying air tightness requirements in real-time, builders can avoid costly re-testing and rework on the back end, saving both time and money on material and labor.

3. Durable and Long-Lasting Sealing

The durability of the sealant is an essential factor in guaranteeing long-lasting airtightness. Aeroseal Envelope’s water-based acrylic sealant has undergone rigorous testing, demonstrating durability performance in key areas such as flexing, aging, and compatibility.

These tests simulate 50 years of service, ensuring that the sealant maintains its integrity and effectiveness over time.

4. Fast and Easy Application (The No Fuss Air-Sealing Solution for Green Buildings)

Time is of the essence in the construction industry, and Aeroseal Envelope recognizes the importance of efficiency. The air sealing process typically takes only 60-90 minutes, significantly reducing the time required compared to manual sealing methods.

Also, the sealant dries quickly, allowing construction to start again soon after the process is done, with minimal impact on construction schedules.

5. Enhanced Comfort and Indoor Air Quality

An airtight building envelope has a direct impact on occupant comfort and indoor air quality. By eliminating drafts and minimizing air leakage, Aeroseal Envelope ensures consistent temperatures and humidity levels throughout the building.

This leads to improved comfort, reduced energy costs, and enhanced indoor air quality by preventing pollutants, allergens, and dust from entering the living or working environment.

6. Environmental Stewardship

Aeroseal Envelope offers a green building solution that aligns with sustainable practices. The water-based acrylic sealant used in the process is GreenGuard Gold certified, ensuring low VOC content and no off-gassing.

This means that the building can be safely occupied within 30 minutes after the sealing process is complete, without any harmful effects on indoor air quality.

This Old House Features Aeroseal Envelope (formerly AeroBarrier)

Versatile Applications

Aeroseal Envelope’s versatility allows it to be applied in various building types and stages of construction. Whether it’s a residential, multi-family, school, or commercial project, Aeroseal Envelope can be seamlessly integrated into the build process.

The technology can be used pre or post-drywall installation, adhering to a range of building materials, including drywall, lumber (treated and untreated), metal, and OSB.

Your Best Air-Sealing Solution for Green Buildings

Want to achieve an airtight building envelope? Aeroseal Envelope stands out with its simple, fast, and guaranteed process.

It surpasses traditional methods in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness. By sealing every crack and hole, even those that are invisible, Aeroseal Envelope ensures optimal energy efficiency, comfort, and indoor air quality.

Embrace this innovative technology and experience the benefits of a genuinely airtight and sustainable building envelope.

Make Your Building Air Tight!

Looking for the fastest and most effective way to make your building airtight? Look no further. Green Insight has joined forces with Aeroseal Envelope, offering you the most advanced air-sealing technology available today.

Say goodbye to time-consuming and unreliable traditional methods that leave behind hidden gaps and leaks.

Don’t wait any longer – contact us today to experience the simplicity, speed, and guaranteed results of Aeroseal Envelope.

Green Building Success in Albuquerque & Santa Fe, New Mexico (3 Examples of Sustainable Construction at Work)

New Mexico is home to some noteworthy green building projects that combine sustainability with style and affordability.

In cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, we’ve worked with developers and contractors who have embraced the challenge of creating buildings that are not only environmentally friendly but also meet the needs of the local community.

In this blog post, we will explore three successful green building projects in New Mexico, showcasing their unique features and the challenges they overcame to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Platinum Apartments in Albuquerque: The Best of Luxury and Sustainability

Platinum Apartments, Albuquerque New Mexico

Located at 4100 Silver Ave SE, Albuquerque, the Platinum Luxury Apartments are a prime example of luxury and sustainability coming together. This four-story apartment building features 75 units, including a Yoga/Pilates studio and a community pool table room. The rooftop also boasts a BBQ/Bar area for residents to enjoy.

The project’s design aimed to attract young professionals who value both luxury and sustainability. Through a highly insulated envelope, mini-split HVAC, and a small PV array, the Platinum Apartments achieved an impressive HERS rating of 59. Green Insight’s scope of work included LEED for Homes credit verification, testing during construction, energy efficiency recommendations, and more.

Despite the challenge of a target budget of $110 per square foot, the development team found cost-effective solutions. They used a wood-framed structure with insulation/sheathing similar to what would now be known as a ZIP wall, mini-splits, on-demand water heaters, and a small PV system to power the common areas. The results were remarkable: LEED Platinum Certification, along with tax credits and rebates from various entities.

Villa Alegre Apartments: A Green Oasis in the Heart of Santa Fe

Villa Alegre Apartments Santa Fe New Mexico

Villa Alegre Apartments, constructed by Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority, reflects the city’s commitment to creating beautiful homes and luxury living experiences while lessening the carbon footprint during construction and beyond. With a goal to create a sustainable project with a minimal environmental footprint, all stakeholders had a common goal: to create a sustainable building project with the smallest possible environmental footprint.

The project consists of 111 LEED® for Homes Platinum units, providing affordable housing for families and seniors in Santa Fe. To achieve this goal, Villa Alegre Apartments had to overcome several challenges. However, the project focuses on energy and water efficiency by incorporating a geothermal exchange system, a 240-kilowatt photovoltaic system, ENERGY STAR windows, high-efficiency lighting fixtures, and blown insulation.

Villa Alegre Apartments’ upgrades resulted in all units achieving a 32 or better Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score and ENERGY STAR qualification. These achievements go beyond sustainability. The public supported it, and the project rehabilitated the downtown Santa Fe area while exceeding the 2030 Challenge.

Villa Alegre Apartments in Santa Fe, a pioneering project, showcases the value of LEED certification in creating truly green and sustainable projects. From affordable housing to a luxury living experience, this project is a testament to the city’s commitment to sustainability.

Hotel Clovis: A Unique Adaptive Reuse Project in Clovis, New Mexico

Hotel Clovis, Clovis, New Mexico

Located at 201 N Main St in Clovis, New Mexico, Hotel Clovis is an exceptional example of an adaptive reuse project that combines historic preservation with sustainable design. This 9-story historic registered hotel has been transformed into an affordable housing project, featuring rental lofts and commercial space. The project faced challenges due to environmental degradation and historic registration, but innovative solutions were implemented to overcome these obstacles.

The Hotel Clovis project stands out for its unique style and commitment to historic preservation. The building, originally constructed in 1929, was at risk of demolition before Tierra Realty Trust acquired the development rights. Closed-cell insulation was added to the envelope without altering its historic character. Trickle vents for unit ventilation were incorporated into the windows, and a whole-building ventilation system was installed. Nanogel was also added to the plaster in the historic ballroom to achieve required insulation levels.

Hotel Clovis prioritized sustainability and energy efficiency, earning it LEED Platinum certification. A photovoltaic system was installed on the roof, generating electricity to power the hotel’s common spaces and the new buildings. Additionally, the project incorporated passive solar orientation in 80% of the units to leverage natural heating and lighting.

The successful transformation of Hotel Clovis into a LEED Platinum affordable housing project showcases the value of adaptive reuse and historic preservation. It serves as a shining example for future projects, combining sustainability and style in a unique and memorable way.

Green Building Success in New Mexico

These three green building projects in New Mexico showcase the incredible success and innovation that can be achieved in sustainable construction. From luxury apartments in Albuquerque to affordable housing in Santa Fe and adaptive reuse in Clovis, each project overcame unique challenges to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Not only have these buildings contributed to the development of a greener New Mexico, but they have also set inspiring examples for future sustainable construction projects across the state.

Want to find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project?

If so, contact us today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Get in touch

What’s the 25C Tax Credit? (And How Can You Get It?)

For homeowners looking to make energy upgrades to their homes, the 25C Tax Credit is one of the most worthwhile incentives out there. It gives people shopping for energy-efficient home upgrades sizable financial savings by reducing their tax bill.

25C is a non-refundable credit recently updated under the Inflation Reduction Act. It encourages energy efficiency by lowering a homeowner’s tax burden if they install qualifying upgrades such as adding insulation, sealing doors and windows, making electrical improvements, and more.

The credit was previously capped at $500 but starting in 2023, the credit increases to 30% of total installation costs through 2032. So, 25C will give up to 30% back and your annual tax credits could total $3200, depending on your upgrades.

The credit is for heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, biomass stoves/boilers, building envelope components (windows, doors, insulation, and air sealing), energy audits, and qualifying electrical upgrades.

25C is not an unlimited credit and is capped at $2,000 annually for electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters, electric or natural gas heat pumps, and biomass stoves and biomass boilers.

And there’s a $1,200 yearly tax credit cap for all building envelope components, home energy audits, and energy property.

So, if a homeowner installs a heat pump and makes energy-efficient building envelope upgrades, they could get up to a $3,200 credit.

There is a lifetime cap of $600 per measure (exceptions listed below).

Building Envelope Upgrades. This includes weatherization improvements (like insulation materials (rolls, spray foam, etc.), air sealing supplies or systems, and ENERGY STAR-certified windows and doors.

  • ENERGY STAR-certified exterior doors (30% of costs up to $250 per door, up to a total of $500).
  • ENERGY STAR-certified exterior windows and skylights (30% of costs up to $600)
  • Insulation materials or systems and air sealing materials or systems (30% of costs)

Home energy audits (30% of costs up to $150)

Energy-efficient upgrades (30% of costs, including labor, up to $600 for each item) satisfying the energy efficiency requirements (See Q1 below):

  • Central air conditioners.
  • Natural gas, propane, or oil water heaters.
  • Natural gas, propane, or oil furnaces and hot water boilers.
  • Improvements to or replacements of panelboards, sub-panelboards, branch circuits, or feeders that are installed along with building envelope components or other energy property and enable its installation and use.

Heat pumps and biomass stoves and biomass boilers (30% of costs, including labor) satisfying the energy efficiency requirements (See Q1 below):

• Electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters.
• Electric or natural gas heat pumps.
• Biomass stoves and biomass boilers.

Q1: What are the energy efficiency requirements for 25C?

The following energy efficiency requirements must be met to qualify for the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit (Courtesy of the IRS. And you can learn more by reading the IRS Fact Sheet):

  • Exterior doors: must meet applicable ENERGY STAR requirements.
  • Windows and skylights: must meet ENERGY STAR’s most efficient certification requirements.
  • Insulation materials or systems and air sealing materials or systems: must meet the criteria established by the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standard in effect at the start of the year that is two years prior to the year the materials or systems are placed in service. For example, materials or systems placed in service in 2025 must meet the criteria established by the IECC standard in effect on January 1, 2023, to qualify for the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit in 2025.
  • Electric or natural gas heat pumps, electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters, central air conditioners, natural gas or propane or oil water heaters, natural gas or propane or oil furnaces or hot water boilers: must meet or exceed the highest efficiency tier (not including any advanced tier) established by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) that is in effect as of the beginning of the year in which the property is placed in service. See also the CEE Directory of Efficient Equipment for a searchable database of qualifying equipment.
  • Oil furnaces or hot water boilers can alternately qualify if they (1) meet or exceed 2021 ENERGY STAR efficiency criteria and are rated by the manufacturer for use with fuel blends at least 20 percent of the volume of which consists of an eligible fuel; or (2) if placed in service after December 31, 2026, achieves an annual fuel efficiency rate of not less than 90 and is rated by the manufacturer for use with fuel blends at least 50 percent of which consists of an eligible fuel.
  • Biomass stove or biomass boilers: must have a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75% (measured by the higher heating value of the fuel).
  • Panelboards, sub-panelboards, branch circuits, or feeders: must be installed according to the National Electric Code and have a load capacity of 200 amps or greater.

Q2: Can a taxpayer claim 25C tax credits for updates on a newly constructed home?

Under the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit: a taxpayer can claim the credit only for qualifying
expenditures incurred for an existing home or for an addition to or renovation of an existing home, and not for a newly constructed home.

Q3: Labor Costs: Can a taxpayer homeowner include labor costs when calculating the credits?

When calculating the Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit, a taxpayer mayThey can include the labor costs for the onsite preparation, assembly, or original installation of residential energy improvements such as central air conditioners; natural gas, propane, or oil water heaters; natural gas, propane, or oil furnaces or hot water boilers; electric or natural gas heat pumps; electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters; biomass stoves or biomass boilers; or improvements to panelboards, sub-panelboards, branch circuits, or feeders.

In contrast, a taxpayer may not include the labor costs for qualified energy-efficient building envelope components including a qualifying insulation material or system, exterior window, skylight, or exterior door. Thus, for an energy-efficient building envelope component for which a taxpayer pays a fixed price, the taxpayer must make a reasonable allocation between the qualifying cost of the property and the nonqualifying labor cost of the installation.

Q4: How many times can I use the credit?

25C resets every year, so if you claim a heat pump installation and insulation this year, you can use it again in the future when you upgrade your electrical panel.

Q5: How long is 25C available?

The credit is available until 2032 when it is expected to go down.

Are you ready to take advantage of the 25C Tax Credit?

The Green Insight team will guide you through the process and ensure you meet all the energy efficiency requirements so you can claim your credits.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you claim your credits and have a more energy-efficient home.

Learn about the 179D Tax Deduction and 45L Tax Credit, also part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Your Essential Guide to the 179D Tax Deduction

If you’re a commercial builder or you own a commercial property (or a residential building 4 stories or taller), it’s important that you stay up to date on the latest requirements for the 179D tax deduction (part of saving with the Inflation Reduction Act). This tax deduction, geared toward making commercial buildings more energy efficient, may be something you can begin taking advantage of today.

In this article, we will show you exactly what this tax deduction is and what requirements need to be met to qualify.

What is the 179D Tax Deduction?

Named after section 179D of the Internal Revenue Code, the 179D tax deduction was designed as an incentive for designers and builders to develop and build commercial buildings that are energy efficient. This incentive can be applied to both new commercial constructions or to existing buildings that have been significantly rehabilitated to be more energy efficient.

This program’s primary objective is to drive commercial building owners to make renovations that will reduce energy use or to incentivize designers to design buildings that will be more energy efficient.

After the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, this tax deduction also extends to building owners who invest in qualified energy-efficient building improvements. If the commercial building is owned by the government, the deduction can extend to those primarily responsible for designing the improvements.

This tax deduction was made permanent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This act also updated standards that need to be met to qualify as well as provide an inflation adjustment for any property that was in service after December 31, 2020.

New Updates to the 179D Deduction for 2023

New updates for the 179D deduction went into effect in January of 2023. These updates included an increase in the tax deduction, new eligibility for real estate investment trusts (REITs), and more. Qualified entities include:

  • Federal government
  • State or local government
  • Indian tribal government
  • Other tax-exempt organizations including not-for-profit hospitals

These updates included an increase in the tax deduction, new eligibility for real estate investment trusts (REITs), and more.”

What Building Types are Eligible for the Tax Deduction?

Any type of commercial building is eligible, even if owned by a non-profit entity. This includes residential buildings four stories and taller. It’s important to know that the residential 45L tax credit can be claimed in combination with the 179D as there is no longer a height restriction for residential buildings to claim the 45L. Learn more about the 45L tax credit.

Who is Eligible to Receive the Tax Deduction Credit?

Not everyone involved in a building project is eligible to receive this tax deduction. Primarily, those who are eligible for the deduction are taxpayers who are responsible for the ground-up construction of commercial buildings or building owners who invest in energy-efficient improvements. These can include:

Architects and Engineers

As primary designers of a building’s technical specifications, architects and engineers typically qualify for this tax deduction through the design of a property’s building envelope, heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) system, and indoor and outdoor lighting systems.

Construction Contractors

Contractors can qualify if they have input in the design or must take part in the design of the building based on their contract.

Taxpaying Designers of Tax-Exempt Entities

A lot of the largest commercial buildings are owned by tax-exempt entities such as state and federal governments, tribal governments, the military, K-12 schools, not-for-profit hospitals, and universities. While these entities do not qualify for the tax deduction since they are tax-exempt, the incentive can be allocated to the taxpaying designer who built or renovated the building for energy efficiency.

Building Owners and Select Tenants

Owners of existing commercial buildings qualify for this tax deduction if they are responsible for the installation of qualifying systems that make a building more energy efficient. In addition, tenants of commercial buildings may also qualify if they make construction expenditures that are geared toward energy efficiency.

The residential 45L credit can be claimed in combination with the 179D as there is no longer a height restriction for residential buildings to claim the 45L.

What are the Requirements?

In order to qualify for the 179D tax deduction, certain criteria must be met.

Qualifying owners can get a tax deduction of up to $1.88 per square foot on properties that were completed before January 1, 2023. New or existing renovated buildings completed after January 1, 2023, are eligible for deductions of up to $5.00 per square foot with the installation of the following components of energy efficiency:

  1. Interior lighting
  2. Building envelope
  3. Energy-reduced HVAC or hot water systems

More incentives are available to more organizations with the update of a sliding scale deduction. For the installation of energy-reducing components, a sliding scale is used. With reduction costs of 25% to 50%, tax deductions of $2.50 per square foot to $5.00 per square foot can be utilized. These energy savings are in comparison to buildings that meet the minimum requirements set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1 Standard. These cost savings must be calculated by software that has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service.

Who Will Benefit from the 179D Tax Deduction?

The obvious benefit of the 179D Tax Deduction initially goes to building owners. In being given an opportunity to defray the cost of energy-efficient design and building materials, owners are more likely to either build new buildings that are greener or transform existing structures into more energy-efficient properties. In time, this will also benefit owners through reduced utility costs.

In the case of tax-exempt entities such as federal, state and local, or tribal governments, architects, engineers, and contractors who work on new construction or renovation projects are eligible to claim the 179D deduction.

Want more information? We’ve developed an Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Frequently Asked Questions page just for this!

Learn about the 25C Tax Credit, also part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Are you a commercial building owner or a developer who specializes in commercial and/or mid/high-rise residential properties?

It’s time to know the ins and outs of how to make the 179D tax deduction benefit you. Download our FREE eBook: “How to Get the Most From the Inflation Reduction Act to see how you can take advantage of this tax deduction and put money back in your pocket while making environmentally conscious building decisions.

Need further help? While our Inflation Reduction Act work applies to residential projects seeking 45L (including multi-family of any height). For commercial buildings or residential buildings 4 stories and above, we can refer you to a trusted partner who can help you with that.

The green building experts at Green Insight would love to partner with you on future building or renovation projects that you’d like to make more energy efficient. Contact us today to get started!

Everything You Need to Know About the 45L Tax Credit

If you’re a builder or developer, there’s a chance you’re not taking advantage of the 45L Tax Credit for Builders, an incentive to build greener and more environmentally sustainable residential properties.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this credit and how you can qualify to begin saving money today.

What is the 45L Tax Credit?

Named after section 45L of the Internal Revenue Code, 45L Tax Credit, this federal tax credit is issued to developers and contractors who construct energy-efficient residential properties.

This tax credit was originally established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which called for the development of grant programs and tax incentives to promote energy efficiency in housing and vehicles.

The 45L was recently reinstated as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). This federal law was written to curb recent inflation through several means including investing in promoting clean energy alternatives. This initiative includes providing substantial incentives for the design and construction of energy-efficient residential buildings.

As part of the IRA, the 45L tax credit gives eligible contractors up to $5,000 for each qualifying unit that is either constructed or completely renovated.

Multifamily homes are eligible for a $500 credit for ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction certification, a $1,000 credit for DOE Zero Energy Ready Home certification, a $2,500 credit for ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction certification with prevailing wage requirements, and a $5,000 credit for DOE Zero Energy Ready Home certification with prevailing wage requirements.

“The 45L tax credit gives eligible contractors up to $5,000 for each qualifying unit that is either constructed or completely renovated.”

What Are the Requirements?

Most of the information you find on the 45L tax credit will contain words like “eligible” when discussing who qualifies for the incentive. Part of the federal law that established this credit delineates requirements for what types of buildings qualify to receive the credit.

First, eligible properties do not necessarily have to be new construction projects to qualify. Residential properties that have been appreciably remodeled or renovated to meet energy efficiency standards are also eligible to qualify.

Before the additional changes set forth by the IRA that came into effect in 2023, residential buildings that qualified had to show proof of consuming at least 50% less energy through heating and cooling. In addition, the building envelope needed to account for at least one-fifth of these improvements to energy use. Finally, the building needed to be certified by an independent agency. Learn more on our detailed Inflation Reduction Act FAQ page: Questions on the 45L Credit and 179D Deduction.

Energy Start and Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification logos

Changes to the requirements went into effect starting January 1, 2023. One change is the residential and mixed-use buildings are required to obtain either an ENERGY STAR or Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification. These certifications indicate that the buildings meet both the national and state requirements for energy efficiency as laid out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Additionally, if the property is for mixed-use purposes, 50% of the property’s total square footage must be made of residential units and common areas. This does not include any parking garages that are part of the property.

Eligible contractors of multi-family residential properties now also have the option of higher 45L tax credits if they follow prevailing wage requirements. These wages are the average wage a specific type of laborer can expect to receive in a specific region. Contractors who wish to take advantage of the 45L credit bonus must prove that all workers on their construction project earn a wage equal to or greater than the prevailing wage.

Want to learn more? We created a detailed page on How to Get the Most from the Inflation Reduction Act.

What are the Requirements for Single-Family Homes to Qualify?

To qualify for a 45L tax credit, your energy-efficient construction should demonstrate heating and cooling energy consumption that falls below national energy standards. Modern construction already keeps energy efficiency in mind in design and building to keep up with current trends and the consumer’s desire to own greener homes.

This means that the property must meet or exceed Energy Star 3.1 requirements which consider things such as:

  • The dwelling’s thermal enclosure system
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC)
  • Water management systems

The types of residential buildings that qualify for the tax credit, whether new constructions or substantially rehabilitated dwellings include:

  • Custom and tract single-family homes
  • Townhomes
  • Duplexes and triplexes
  • Apartment complexes
  • Student housing
45L Tax Credit details on Single Family Homes Green Insight LLC
Single-family homes are eligible for a $2,500 credit for obtaining ENERGY STAR for Homes certification and a $5,000 credit for a DOE Zero Energy Ready Home certification. Manufactured homes are eligible for the $2,500 credit as well for receiving the ENERGY STAR Manufactured Homes certification.

How much credit is received depends on whether they are certified as ENERGY STAR or ZERH. For example, a single-family home can earn a $2,500 credit if certified according to the ENERGY STAR Single Family New Homes Program. A $5,000 credit can be earned for single-family homes certified as the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home program.

Learn about the 25C energy efficiency tax credit, also part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

We have a page packed with information on How to Get the Most from Tax Credits and Incentives.

Who Can Benefit from the 45L Tax Credit?

Two parties can directly and indirectly benefit from taking advantage of the 45L tax credit: contractors and developers and homeowners.

Qualified contractors and developers directly benefit when they design energy-efficient buildings and construct them using energy-efficient materials. While these materials cost more, this extra cost is offset in a couple of ways. First, the 45L tax credit can help builders recoup some of that extra money. Also, the required certification allows developers to advertise the building as “green” which attracts consumers who are seeking more sustainable housing that will help their monthly utilities budget.

Consumers also indirectly benefit from living in energy-efficient homes. More efficient heating, air conditioning, and lighting mean lower utility bills each month as well as peace of mind knowing you are reducing your carbon footprint. Additionally, the resale value of the home could be higher due to consumers looking for energy efficiency in their new home search.

We can help you save money with the 45L federal tax credit.

Are you ready to take advantage of the 45L federal tax credit as a builder or developer?

Green Insight can partner with you to ensure you meet all the energy efficiency requirements on your next residential building project. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you build greener while getting money back.

Or grab your FREE guide, “How to Get the Most from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Dyess Air Force Base Temporary Lodging Facility Earns LEED for Home Silver Rating

Abilene, Texas is regularly listed as one of America’s most livable small towns. Sitting about 180 miles from the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area and with a population of 125,182, Abilene is considered the economic center of 22 counties in West Texas. According to their official tourism website, Abilene is “big on what matters” including history, culture, and hospitality.

The United States Air Force also calls Abilene home with the Dyess Air Force Base on the southern edge of town. Dyess is home to the Air Force’s B-1B, C-130, and T-38 planes. The 7th Bomb Wing on the base maintains operations of the B-1B aircraft and conducts training for personnel to fly those planes. In all, over 4,500 military personnel are assigned to Dyess with 491 civilian employees also employed there.

Dyess is also known as being one of the greenest bases in the United States Air Force. It has the distinction of being the first Department of Defense operation to use renewable energy and now uses both wind and biomass energy as power sources.

The Project

Known as one of the greenest Air Force bases, it only makes sense that Green Insight was brought in to consult on one of their building projects: A temporary lodging facility. This project consisted of 16 units in 2 different buildings. This facility would serve as temporary lodging for service members seeking permanent housing on or off base, on a special trip to secure housing, or for those awaiting the shipment of their household goods.

As part of the project, we worked with the United States Air Force and Tejas Premier Building Contractor to help Dyess keep its reputation as a green Air Force base. This included working with all parties on

  • LEED for Homes credit verification
  • Testing during construction
  • QAD review
  • Energy efficient recommendations
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of construction documents
  • Specifications
  • Review of project submissions

Project Challenges

One of the biggest challenges this project faced was the passage of time between plans being made and actual construction. Plans had been made 3 years before any work commenced and were no longer compliant with the updated LEED for Homes certification requirements.

Like most projects, the Dyess Temporary Lodging Facility also had a fixed budget. But unlike other projects, it would literally take an act of Congress to expand the budget, a long and arduous process.

Finally, the contractor chosen for the job by the United States Air Force didn’t have LEED for Homes project experience. They were also hampered by the requirements of highly specialized equipment including blast-proof windows.


Because of our longstanding relationship with the United States Green Building Council, we were able to work with them when it came to the outdated plans for the project. We were able to negotiate that the project would be registered under the LEED for Homes requirements for which it was designed.

We then worked closely with the contractor in all aspects of this project, especially in getting them caught up on the LEED requirements they were not familiar with. While most of these requirements are right in the plans, many are not, and rely on a contractor’s knowledge of the LEED for Homes certification process.

During the construction process, we ran into several periods where deficiencies were found and needed to be corrected. This, of course, came down to budget. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the contract, anything that ran over budget would come out of the contractor’s pocket. We were able to work with the contractor on finding cost-effective solutions.


At the end of the project, the Dyess Temporary Lodging Facility was able to certify under the old LEED for Homes requirements, and the contractor maintained its profit due to cost-effective solutions.

In all, the project was awarded LEED for Homes Silver certification, and the Dyess Air Force Base was able to maintain its reputation as being committed to green initiatives.

Learn how Green Insight can find a cost-effective and stress-free path for your green building project.

Contact us today. We’ll discuss your project and goals and show you how we can help you attain green building success! Let’s start the process

Completely Renovated Corry Village for Graduate Students and Families Earns LEED Platinum Certification

The third largest university in the state, the University of Florida, makes up much of the population of Gainesville, Florida. With nearly 57,000 students, the University of Florida was ranked by U.S. News and World Reports as the fifth best public university in the United States.

Among its students, U of F also hosts nearly 16,000 postgraduate students in one of their 123 master’s programs or 73 doctoral programs. Postgraduate students not only have different needs academically, but they also have different needs when it comes to student housing. Postgraduate students are older than the average college student, and many are married with families as they pursue an advanced degree.

Project Details

Corry Village is graduate student housing located in the heart of the University of Florida’s campus. These buildings needed rehabilitation, and the University of Florida worked with contractor Gray Construction to create student housing that was not only functional and comfortable but environmentally responsible as well.

Green Insight was brought in to consult with all parties on how to achieve the goal of becoming LEED for Homes Platinum certified. The entire project consisted of an entire gut rehab of 128 units in 8 buildings.

Project Challenges

Since this project was an entire gut rehab of the existing building, it goes without saying that it posed a few major challenges along the way.

The brick structure of the units combined with the hot and humid climate in Gainesville presented challenges when it came to thermal bypass and ventilation. Corry Village is also centrally located on the sprawling U of F campus meaning there were also challenges for onsite water management that aren’t usually dealt with in projects like this.

Finally, the project needed to be phased with a multiple-year gap between building certifications. Therefore, the team that was present during the first phase wasn’t the same team that was there for the second phase.


Luckily, the heat and humidity are something we are used to working with. With many years of experience working in Florida and the Caribbean, we could offer sensible solutions for air sealing and insulation that would meet and exceed the needs of the building in this type of climate. These solutions included moving from an exhaust-only ventilation system to more balanced ventilation with an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) System, and guiding the construction team on various air sealing and insulation systems. This approach ensured that the project would be long-lasting and durable through the years.

To combat the issue of changing teams throughout the course of the project, onboarding new team members to the project was made more thorough and intentional to ensure continuity no matter who was at the helm. We also utilized a Green Rater/HERS Rater who was familiar with the location of the project to assist with a smooth transition between teams before the completion of the project.


Despite the challenges of this project including the unique challenge of keeping two separate teams up to speed on the same project, Green Insight was able to leverage their expertise in environmentally responsible building even in a climate that can pose its own challenges.

The new housing project now boasts state-of-the-art renovated housing units as well as communal study rooms, a playground for families, and recreational space with basketball and volleyball courts and barbeque areas.

Due to our collaboration, Corry Village at the University of Florida achieved LEED Platinum Certification.

Do you want to learn how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your green building project?

Get in touch today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Let’s start the process

Border Patrol’s Presidio Housing Development Earns LEED for Homes Gold Certification

Presidio, Texas is a town steeped in history. Established in the 17th century but settled as early as 1500 B.C. Presidio is now home to just under 4,000 people.

This colorful and historic section of Texas lies right on the Rio Grande River, just across the border from Ojinaga, Mexico, and boasts some of the darkest skies in Texas making it a dream for stargazers. While along the river, it is considered desert land as part of the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas.

The Project

Because of its proximity to the Mexican border, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a large employer in the area. However, due to the smallness of the town of Presidio, housing those border protection officers and their families is a challenge.

Green Insight was brought in to consult on ways to keep design and construction both green and functional on a solution to the housing shortage: a housing project funded by the federal government consisting of 26 single-family attached homes and one single-family detached home for U.S. Border Patrol employees.

Working with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol design team and W.H. Pacific contractors, we were able to come up with unique solutions to their housing issues while keeping the project green and sustainable.

Project Challenges

The biggest challenge facing the project was a logistical one. While it can boast the darkest skies and best star watching in West Texas, its remote location doesn’t help when it comes to coordinating all the moving parts of a building project.

Located 8 hours by car from our offices, coordinating the construction team with our consulting duties required substantial planning to keep the project on schedule and within budget.

Additionally, the arid desert climate posed its fair share of challenges. Part of our work together was ensuring interior comfort and adequate yet responsible water usage.


To properly coordinate schedules with all parties, strong communication was an absolute must. That meant clear communication prior to our site visits to give crews ample time to make sure everything was ready for all inspections along the way and that all-important final inspection. We also needed to coordinate efforts to ensure all units were complete and ready for final testing.

Our meticulous attention to coordinating all parties paid off. Green Insight was able to successfully certify all 27 homes with a higher status than their original goal of Silver certification.

To combat the environmental challenges, the project utilized a stout building envelope with roof assembly insulation over R40 and walls of R22. These factors help ensure both occupant comfort in the units as well as energy efficiency.

Contractors were also able to strategically plan their planting choices to create landscaping that was both suited for the dry desert heat and didn’t require a lot of water usage.


Through Green Insight’s collaboration with both U.S. Border and Customs Patrol and W.H. Pacific contractors, the Presidio Border Patrol housing development earned:

After completion, the Presidio housing development became a model in sustainability as a piece of the 27 acre site that features both housing and landscaped common spaces.

Looking for a stress-free path to your green building project? The Green Insight team will help you find the best solution.

Get in touch with us todayWe’ll discuss your project and goals while showing you how we can help you achieve green building success!

Hotel Clovis Earns LEED for Homes Platinum Certification

The city of Clovis, New Mexico sits just 9 miles west of the border of Texas and is called home to almost 40,000 people. A large agricultural community, Clovis is surrounded by large peanut and cotton farms as well as busy cattle ranches.

At the city’s heart sits the Art Deco gem, the Hotel Clovis. Built in 1931, this 10-story former hotel earned the distinction of being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.  Its hospitality days long over, Hotel Clovis is now used as both a residential and commercial piece of real estate.

Project Details

Hotel Clovis now boasts 31 rental lofts and 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Two new buildings have been added to its ranks to increase Hotel Clovis to half a city block while providing an additional 28 dwelling units.

During the renovation of this historic building, Green Insight was brought in to consult with developers and contractors to create a state-of-the-art environmentally responsible project while maintaining the building’s historic charm.

We worked with developer Tierra Realty Trust and contractor Century Communities II to help the team:

  • Earn LEED for Homes credit
  • Test during construction
  • Pass quality assurance review
  • Make energy-efficient recommendations
  • Make building material assessments
  • Review construction documents and specifics
  • Review all project submittals

Project Challenges

Before Tierra Realty Trust acquired development rights for the building, the city of Clovis had slated to demolish the historic building due to findings that rehabilitation of the building would be cost prohibitive to the city.

With its proven track record of successfully turning historic buildings into sustainable housing communities, Tierra Realty Trust acquired the rights after numerous other developers looked at rehabilitation over the course of many years, but it ultimately backed away from the challenges the building posed.

One of the biggest challenges the developer faced was air infiltration through the building’s envelope, which could not be modified in any way due to its historically registered status. An additional challenge was meeting the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard 62.2 which governs indoor air quality, and ventilation specifically.

Project Solutions

To combat the building envelope issue, Green Insight recommended adding interior closed-cell insulation to the block and brick veneer exterior walls. Nano gel was added to the plaster on the first floor and the grand historic ballroom to increase the insulation level as high as possible while maintaining historic finishes. To meet ventilation standards, they added trickle vents cut into the window and the whole building’s ventilation system was plumbed to very high-efficiency variable speed exhaust fans which also maintained the historic exterior.

To ensure sustainability in the building, a 35kW photovoltaic system was installed on the roof of all of the newly constructed buildings to power the common spaces and new buildings at Hotel Clovis. In all, 80% of the units in these new buildings have a passive solar orientation.

Project Results

By collaborating with Green Insight, developers and contractors were able to meet and exceed their goals of sustainable energy while maintaining the building’s historical integrity. This collaboration resulted in:

  • LEED for Homes Platinum Certification
  • A New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit of $525,825
  • A Historic Preservation Tax Credit of $118,248

Ultimately, the vision and work of all teams resulted in the successful adaptive reuse of a depression-era hotel that was slated to be demolished. It now stands as a model of sustainability with historic charm right in the heart of Clovis.

Ready to see how Green Insight can find the best solution for your green building project?

Get in touch with us today so we can discuss your project and goals while showing you how we can help you achieve green building success. Get in touch

La Pradera Earns LEED for Homes Platinum Certification in Hobbs, NM

Hobbs, New Mexico has a rich multicultural history boasting true cowboy legends, long-held farming traditions, and rich Hispanic culture. Known for its blue skies and breathtaking sunsets, Hobbs truly represents the very best of what the high desert can offer.

One more thing that Hobbs can now boast of is a commitment to sustainable green construction in the form of the La Pradera multi-family housing project. This affordable housing complex is certified LEED for Homes Platinum and represents Hobbs’ efforts to bring its rich heritage into the 21st century.

The Project

The La Pradera housing project consists of 8 multi-family buildings for a total of 60 affordable housing units. The complex also contains a community building and a daycare center.

Green Insight was brought in by Tierra Realty Trust, the project’s developer, to work alongside developers and the project’s contractor, Century Construction. Green Insight worked with all parties on:

  • Green goal facilitation
  • Facilitating charrettes
  • LEED for Homes credit verification and testing during the construction process
  • Quality assurance review
  • Energy modeling
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of specifications
  • Construction documents
  • Project submittals

Developers and contractors teamed with Green Insight to reach all of their sustainable building goals and to create a modern multi-story housing complex that was designed to meet a HERS index of 59 while meeting all criteria to qualify for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit.

Stephen Crozier, president of Tierra Realty Trust, isn’t new to green building nor developing projects that meet LEED for Homes certification. Crozier states, “I have been building green since I formed Tierra Realty Trust in 1997, and each year with each new project, we have tried to make each project greener than the previous. LEED is a natural extension of our company’s business ethic.”


The developer’s main goal was to develop a building that was modern and was constructed to achieve a HERS rating of 60 or better and LEED for Homes certification in order to qualify for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit. One major challenge from the beginning was that the site secured for the project was in a rural setting.

Another challenge was working with a general contractor who didn’t have experience in building green. Additionally, the area offered only a limited subcontractor base that was also limited in green building experience.

Green Insight was then brought in to work side by side with all parties to ensure the project was both high quality while still meeting the developer’s goals.


Even the site for the complex was chosen with environmental concerns in mind. Found within walking distance of public schools, shops, open spaces, and other conveniences, La Pradera’s location reduces or eliminates the need for a car and thus the environmental impact a car can have. It’s also located within half a mile of over 14 community services and schools which reduces the number and length of daily trips residents need to make to access needs of daily living.

Contractors also contributed to the sustainability goal through the use of environmentally responsible building materials. The exterior of the building was completely made of insulated concrete forms (ICF) and the modular layout meant there was almost no waste in the exterior wall system. The concrete walls, footings, insulation, and numerous other materials contained recycled content. Paint, adhesives, and sealants were all made of low volatile organic compounds to promote high indoor air quality and better health for builders and inhabitants alike.


Green Insight was able to work with developers and contractors to create a finished product that not only met the developers’ goals for sustainability but exceeded them. All together, the finished La Pradera housing complex earned:

Additionally, La Pradera also met green milestones such as:

  • 73.5% savings in interior water use
  • Plants that are 100% drought tolerant
  • Vegetative or impermeable surfaces directed to infiltration are used in 73% of the site

La Pradera is truly a model for future green building projects looking to meet specific goals of sustainability.

Do you want to learn how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your green building project?

Get in touch today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Let’s start the process

Lukachukai Community School Will Open With LEED Certification

The brand new Lukachukai Community School will open on a 44-acre site nestled in the beautiful Chuska mountain range of Lukachukai, Arizona. This K-8 school will feature a student dormitory, bus maintenance facility, community fire station, and staff housing to help retain talented teachers.

The new school will accommodate 400 students with a mission to provide a solid comprehensive curriculum, enrichment, and support for all learners including accelerated learners, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

The Project

With a mission to not only reflect but respect the culture of the Navajo people, DPS Architecture worked thoroughly within the guidelines of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to ensure the design, materials, and sustainability of the new school were never in question.

School board members, school staff, and cultural experts collaborated with the design team on the site location, layout, and inter-relationship of the building’s facilities to ensure the building met the goals of all stakeholders.

The design team at DPS worked with Nez FCI for the construction of the project. This Navaho-owned construction company hired over 400 workers for the project, 90% of which were members of the Navajo Nation.

Work on the project began in January 2020 and is expected to be completed in summer 2022 in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

The Finished Product

The completed project will not only be a school building, but it will be a complex to serve both school and community needs. The project comes complete with multiple age-appropriate play areas to serve the wide developmental ranges of its students.

The entire complex is both student and community-minded in its design. The complex will feature several multipurpose athletic fields that will serve not only the school but the community at large.

The complex also features 19 staff housing units to help with the retention of teachers as well as a maintenance facility for school buses to take care of immediate repairs. The complex will also house a firetruck facility which will assist the community in emergency response situations.

This state-of-the-art facility was also designed and built with sustainability in mind. As such, the Lukachukai Community School will open for the new school year with LEED Gold certification. In all, the new school complex will give the Navajo nation a 21st-century learning environment that strives to respect the past.

Do you want to see how the Green Insight team can find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project?

If so, contact us today. One of our team members will be in touch to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you with both.

Zuni Housing Rehabilitation Project Earns LEED for Homes Silver Certification

The Native American tribal housing entity Zuni Housing Authority owns and maintains dozens of homes for tribal members in the small rural community of Black Rock, NM. With a mission to expand housing solutions and economic opportunities for the Ashiwi people and its future generations, Zuni Housing Authority offers a variety of services to help secure the future for homebuyers.

One of their latest projects was devoted to rehabilitating dozens of homes while reducing the carbon footprint every step of the way.

The Project

In collaboration with Zuni Construction Services, this project entailed gutting and rehabilitating 37 single-family attached homes spread over 12 buildings. 

This was just the first in multiple rehabilitations and new constructions that the Zuni Housing Authority has certified in the LEED for Homes program. 

The Challenges

The biggest challenge with this project was introducing new concepts from the LEED for Homes rating system that were completely unfamiliar to both the developer and the local and native construction teams. Like most developers and contractors who do not have experience with green building, they were more used to using methods and designs that had worked for them in the past. 

However, the Energy Ratings required everything from performance testing and thermal bypass air sealing requirements to outdoor water credits in a national rating system that is not necessarily conducive to the Black Rock climate. Due to these new methods and requirements, the team faced turning their own tried and true methods upside down in order to meet certification requirements. Despite this challenge, however, all stakeholders remained committed to their goal of meeting these certification requirements successfully.

In addition to the challenge of facing new methods, the team also faced various items that failed inspection in initial units. These problems included thermal bypass issues at bay windows and fan ventilation control issues among other things.

Project Solutions

Our first step in assisting the architect and Zuni Housing Authority with their goals was educating the entire team on challenges they may face during the rehabilitation process that would cause them low scores on the LEED for Homes rating system. Another aspect of our work included training team members onsite on effective air-sealing techniques to ensure successful air tightness (AKA: blower door) test results.

To anticipate required inspections and to ensure none were missed, we worked closely with the team by participating in monthly and sometimes weekly project team calls to get everyone aligned so that the project could stay on track. Best of all, Zuni Construction Services was very responsive to issues that would need to be addressed. With their complete buy-in to the program, the crew was able to conduct timely fixes and flexible solutions for every issue they encountered

The Finished Product

Through Green Insight’s collaboration with Zuni Housing Authority and Zuni Construction Services, the entire team was able to adapt their work to the needs of the project in order to achieve their goal. In the end, this gut and rehabilitation project reached its goal of earning Silver certification in the LEED for Homes rating system.

Are you ready to see how Green Insight can find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project?

If so, contact us today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Get in touch

Affordable Green Housing in Santa Fe: Green Community Villa Alegre

Located just blocks from Santa Fe’s historic plaza, Villa Alegre is proud to offer its first 111 affordable units that have earned the LEED for Homes Platinum certification. These units are part of phases 1 and 2 of construction and offer beautiful apartment homes as well as homes for seniors complete with an on-site Service Coordinator and a professional management team.

Developed by the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority, Villa Alegre reflects the city’s commitment to creating beautiful homes and luxury living experiences while lessening the carbon footprint during construction and beyond.

The Project

Breaking ground in June 2010, this project received the highest LEED rating, Platinum, in November 2011. Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority collaborated with Pavilion Construction to create 44 one and two-story buildings that have from 2 to 6 units in each building.

The first phase of the project consisted of 60 family units and a community center. Phase 2 incorporated 50 senior housing units into the community, one caretaker’s unit and another community center.

Green Insight worked extensively with the developer and contractor on the following aspects of the project

  • Enterprise Green Communities
  • LEED for Homes credit verification
  • Testing and QAD review during the construction phase
  • Energy efficiency recommendations
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of construction documents
  • Specifications and project submittals

“LEED gave us better plans, better processes, and better quality at minimal additional costs to the project.”

– Ed Romero, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority

Project Challenges

All stakeholders had a common goal: to create a sustainable building project with the smallest possible environmental footprint. However, not all stakeholders had the same thoughts when it came to how to achieve this level of sustainability.

Given Santa Fe’s climate as a high desert environment with less than 12 inches of rain a year, it was determined that our focus needed to be on energy and water efficiency. This focus would allow us to not only make the best use of the grant funding that was obtained, but it would help us reach our goals the best.

Gaining community support for this project was vital to the success of the project overall. The City of Santa Fe requires a neighborhood meeting when a development of this magnitude is proposed in its city limits. We really wanted to listen to the community members, and we conducted several meetings beyond the city’s requirements.

Our team worked with the project team to advise them on how to achieve their green building goals, facilitating design charrettes and oversight meetings that included the Mayor of Santa Fe, City Council Members, and City Employees among other stakeholders.

Project Solutions

To achieve our goals of focusing on energy efficiency, the project relied heavily on reducing energy by incorporating a geothermal exchange system with ground source heat pumps and a 240-kilowatt photovoltaic system. Energy efficiency is also achieved through ENERGY STAR windows, high-efficiency lighting fixtures, compact fluorescent bulbs, and high-density blown insulation.

All units in the project achieved a 32 or better Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score and will be ENERGY STAR qualified thanks to incorporating energy-saving technologies such as those listed above as well as instantaneous water heaters, programmable thermostats, high-efficiency furnaces, and air conditioners and mechanical ventilation that enhance indoor air quality.

The Finished Product

All of the focus on energy and water efficiency during construction resulted in the desirable Platinum LEED for Homes certification as well as qualifying for the New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit in Phase 1 and Phase 2 totaling more than $800,000 combined. Additionally, most of Villa Alegre’s units exceeded the 2030 challenge.

The Villa Alegre has not only rehabilitated that area of downtown Santa Fe, but thanks to all green initiatives used in design and construction, all renters are utility bill free.

According to Ed Romero, Executive Director of the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority, “LEED gave us better plans, better processes, and better quality at minimal additional costs to the project.”

Learn more in our Villa Alegre case study.

Want to find the perfect solution for your sustainable living project?

If so, contact us today. We would love to discuss your project and your goals while showing you how Green Insight can help you achieve green building success. Get in touch

Please contact the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority for leasing information at 505-470-9423.

Green Building Excellence in Fort Collins, CO: LEED Gold Certified Project

The city of Fort Collins is often recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative cities in everything from technology to target industries. One of the areas of innovation where Fort Collins is most committed is in green building and residential code compliance.

When it comes to green building in Fort Collins, the city is focused on designing and constructing buildings that have an eye on modern needs while keeping an eye on the future by reducing the environmental impact that every aspect of a building will have. According to the city of Fort Collins, “A well-designed building should create a healthy, productive environment for its occupants while lessening the demand for energy and resources.”

Fort Collins builders take their commitment to the environment seriously, and so do we. In this article, we will discuss a recent project we were involved in that created townhomes that were good for residents and good for the environment: Townhomes on Vine.

Project Details (successful green building in Fort Collins)

The Townhomes on Vine project consisted of building 49 market-rate townhomes that would provide all the modern amenities homeowners are looking for while still maintaining a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of building them.

These townhomes were the first of two phases of development for this property by developer Old Town Construction, Inc. The second phase will consist of detached single-family homes.

Green Insight worked with developers to make this project LEED® for Homes Gold. Our involvement included:

  • LEED for Homes credit verification
  • Testing during construction and QAD review
  • Energy efficiency recommendations
  • Building material assessments
  • Review of construction documents
  • Specifications and review of project submittals

By partnering with us, Old Town Construction, Inc. had assistance every step of the way to ensure their project qualified for LEED for Homes Gold.

Project Challenges

As with any Colorado construction project, there are challenges that need to be addressed along the way. Successful green building in Fort Collins is certainly not the exception.

For this project, one of our challenges (and a challenge we encounter in most developers’ and/or contractors’ first certification) is general unfamiliarity with the program requirements to become LEED for Homes certified.

One thing in this developer’s favor was that Fort Collins residential codes are so strict that following them gets a project pretty close to LEED for Homes Silver level certification on their own. For this project, a few modifications were made to help meet the LEED prerequisites at a low additional cost.

The learning curve when it comes to requirements is a common challenge with green building projects like this. This is especially true if the developer doesn’t provide product submittals or schedule extra inspections with a partner well-versed in LEED prerequisites.

Project Solutions

It took some initial inspections for all stakeholders to be comfortable with the LEED requirements, but our field staff was able to coach the developer through all of them. By the end of the construction, the LEED requirements were just part of regular procedures.

The developer’s team was also onboarded on the use of Green Insight’s online platform Project Insight™, an invaluable tool when it comes to documenting compliance with all the LEED prerequisites and credits.

With these regular inspections and use of Project Insight, the Townhomes on Vine project reached its goal of becoming LEED for Homes Gold Certified and all townhomes have already been pre-sold.

With the successful completion of Phase 1, we anticipate Phase 2 to be even more streamlined and successful.

The Finished Product

The Townhomes on Vine are not the drafty, energy-wasting townhomes that have been on the market for decades. These townhomes have an ENERGY STAR rating of over 80 and HERS scores in the low 50s. What do these scores mean, exactly? These townhomes are quite a bit more energy efficient than the average resale home on the market – they have an average annual utility savings of around $900 per townhome compared to the average home in the U.S.

How was this accomplished? For starters, the insulation and construction techniques used in these townhomes were vastly improved from techniques used only a decade ago. These techniques and their results not only create a more environmentally friendly construction process, but also save the homeowner money in the long run.

By being LEED Gold Certified, these townhomes not only boast the best in modern construction techniques, but the use of tankless hot water heaters, energy-efficient furnaces, and LED lighting just confirms our commitment to building modern homes with an emphasis on reducing environmental impact for the long run.

Partner with Green Insight for successful green building in Fort Collins, CO!

If you’re a developer or contractor, you have enough on your plate logistically without adding the robust requirements needed to earn any green building certification. Partnering with Green Insight gives you the know-how when it comes to codes in Fort Collins and beyond.

Green Insight can also help you develop practices that embed practices that will make the entire certification process streamlined.

If you’re ready to talk to one of our team about how we can help you build green, contact us today to discuss your project and your goals.