Old Town Louisville Neighborhood

Money Magazine just released the results of its choice for the top ten best small towns to live in the US. Louisville, CO made it to the top of the list. ConocoPhillips seemed to think Louisville was a good choice for their new research facility, and I’ve watched home buyers from all over the nation flock to Louisville, and other Boulder county towns for its quality of life.

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I spoke to a few buyers recently about moving to the Louisville area, and one of the reasons they gave me besides quality of life (they said with a curious look, and sort of a “duh Zachary” attitude), was the quality of schools.

Money magazine may have said it best themselves:

Some towns nestled along the Rockies are full of pretentious eco-hipsters. Not Louisville. Ice cream shops dot the historic downtown. Families grab burgers at the cozy Waterloo Café. A Friday-night street fair, with a beer garden, live music, and games for the kids, runs all summer. No wonder this down-to-earth town has appeared high on Money’s Best Places list before–and on many others.

It’s also weathering the economic downturn well. Robust industries in the area, such as high tech, energy, and health care, make county unemployment among the lowest in the state.

But the top reason residents give for moving here? The great outdoors. Louisville is laced with nearly 30 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park is less than an hour away, and eight world-class ski resorts are within two hours. The town’s schools are highly rated as well.

Add in dry, clear weather, little crime, good health care, and low taxes, and Louisville is pretty tough to beat.

If you think Louisville, or one of the surrounding communities might be right for you I’d love to hear from you. Whether you, or someone you know may be thinking of a move, Call, Text, or Email me. I hope we can speak soon.

And by the way, I’m never too busy for your referrals, as a real estate professional intent on giving back to the community, my relationship-based career is exactly what you’ve been looking for in a helpful Realtor who will listen to you.

Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker® at RE/MAX Alliance Boulder

Rare Louisville Real Estate For Sale

This Louisville Real Estate is a very rare opportunity to get a piece of prime real estate in downtown Louisville.

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Directly across from the Coal Creek trail, and just a few steps from the new Louisville Community Park, this is a very affordable and exclusive building lot.

This location is truly special. Nestled among several new homes, you can have the chance to build your dream home in one of America’s most livable cities. If you haven’t heard, several national magazines have named Louisville Colorado one the best places to live. Money magazine is planning a new look at Louisville to consider it again for this great honor.

Now you can get in early. Why buy a run down older home and then struggle with remodeling or demolition?

I’ve consulted with local architects, and local builders to bring you a turn-key solution if you want it. Great local professionals are on stand-by for you to make this an easy and fulfilling step towards the perfect house for you. I even have a professional landscaper ready to implement the perfect natural retreat for you!

Call, text or email me today to learn more, and let’s get you started. Buying this vacant lot in the heart of one of America’s highest ranked ‘best place to live’ cities is a great first step.

Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker® at RE/MAX Alliance Boulder

Simple Solar Perfect Choice For Boulder Custom Builder

This business profile of locally owned Simple Solar focuses on a custom home built by Bob Hughes. Bob’s business, Hughes Construction, is a company which has a history of giving local Boulderites green building solutions. As a result, Simple Solar is a natural fit for Hughes and his Boulder real estate project.

With local roots locally as a company founded right here in Boulder Colorado, and extensive history as the most experienced solar electric system provider, Hughes found the choice to be simple for his photovoltaic power solution.

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hughes-one-lineOn the three different days when we worked on the location work for this video profile for you, we were lucky enough to experience the typical weather changes often found in Boulder. Our first day on site we talked with the crew briefly to learn that the early stages of the project were focused on setting the stage for installing the panels. As it turns out, the crew is full of highly experienced professionals, and in this case all of those on the team are electricians.

After the first day Boulder got a bit of snow and winter weather, which isn’t too surprising for us here in February. It wasn’t a problem for the Simple Solar team since they have several projects under way during any given week. Attention was shifted towards adding resources to another project while we waited.

hughes-pv-schematic-1Fortunately for everyone, Boulder’s weather includes 300+ days of sunshine and the following day brought just that. As you can see in our video profile tour, warm sunshine prevailed and the crew was back on the job and finishing up the final steps to get the system finished and up and running.

One of the most important things I have learned about Simple Solar is that they are very strongly oriented on understanding their client’s goals. This shows up in the consultation part of the process as they help homeowners look carefully at how both Simple Solar and the homeowner can work together to maximize the effectiveness of their solar system, as well as the financial efficiencies of the project design.

When you talk to a consultant at Simple Solar, you’ll see that the objective is not to propose the largest possible system that might fit on your roof. Rather, Simple Solar consultants work closely with you as a homeowner to understand your needs.

I’ve seen some systems designed by Simple Solar which met the objective of creating a solution where the homeowner would continuously produce more electricity than they could use, and consequently the system always sells energy back to the grid.

Other systems have been designed to simply supplement the electricity needs for the homeowner. Whichever solution makes the most sense for you, it can be done, and it is possible to have a keen eye on the return on your investment (ROI) at the same time.

hughes-final-layout-1-21-09In the case of this particular installation, Bob Hughes designed this home very carefully so that it was exceptionally energy efficient, and it was also insulated and sealed very well. Knowing that a Photovoltaic solar system was part of the long range plan played a big part in how he designed and built this home. He even installed ‘tie-offs’ along the ridge line of his roof knowing that installation professionals from Simple Solar would have to contend with the very steep roof pitch on his home.

This steep roof pitch actually works very well for the photovoltaic panels. The angle works to maximize the efficiency of the panels (they get some of the highest levels of sunlight at this angle), and it also helps to promote snow shedding so that the panels are once again exposed to sunlight as quickly as possible.

Hughes chose a somewhat smaller than average system of about 3.5 kilowatts. He didn’t want to completely offset his electric bill, but did want to find a compromise between aesthetics in building design and function along with eco conscious choices. The two dormer features add essential living space solutions for the home, but they interrupt the space that could have been otherwise used for solar panels on the south facing portion of the roof.

Under typical circumstances, this size of solar photovoltaic system might be able to supply about 50% of the electricity needs for a house like Bob’s. However, given the forethought Hughes had about his home, he’ll likely see a return from his solar system of somewhere around up to 70% of his actual electric energy needs. Nice work Bob!

Another key to this system is the use of the SunPower 225 panels. These are very sexy and stealthy all-black panels that produce a whopping 225 watts each. Simple Solar engineered this system to work with 16 panels which brings the total system potential up to about 3.6 kilowatts. In many areas, SunPower is only available through one dealer in a given market, and here locally Simple Solar is a premier  SunPower dealer. What I love about the SunPower 225’s is their low-key, stealthy look. and even more important to many of you in our science and technology rich community; the SunPower panels are extremely efficient. You get a huge bang for your buck with these panels!

What also makes a solar photovoltaic system attractive is the attention given to details. Things such as solar panel placement, location of the conduit runs, ingress and egress points of the conduit and electric lines between the panels and the inverter, and also the location of the inverter itself. We want these things installed to the ancillary parts and pieces are as unobtrusive as possible. Simple Solar did a bang-up job for Hughes, as they have for many other clients during their decade + run of experience in the industry.

I still believe that the main focus of any home solution is to find a way to make the project fit in with your personal values and mission for your home. Simple solar is the kind of organization that embodies this kind of principle.

My goal is to bring you business profiles on people and businesses who definitely have a goal of their own to know their client’s needs, and to work closely to meet their personal goals. I hope that this profile gives you another reason to want to call or email me now, so that I can help you connect with one of the regions best solar electric providers.

-Zachary Epps, full-time RE/MAX professional, Realtor®, and EcoBroker®
FOLLOW THE LINKS I have for you on the right side of this page, all of my tours are categorized for you to help you find just what you are looking for! Business Profiles, Neighborhood Profiles, and Homes for Sale, or just browse the list from my Video Tour start page!

Best of all, you could call or email me now, so we can start talking about what’s important to you about the Boulder real estate market! I look forward to hearing from you.

-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker®

ConocoPhillips Demolition Progress

Even though the ConocoPhillips people haven’t shared too much lately, and seem to be playing their cards close to the vest, we can see that there’s progress at the old Storage Tek / Sun Microsystems campus.

Home sale activity in Boulder county is already picking up, compared to a few months ago, and we’ll see even more activity as jobs come into the area due to visible progress like this work going on by ConocoPhillips.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts about these changes and how they will affect your decisions to buy or sell real estate. Please call or email me if you’re interested in talking about what’s going on.

I’ve had a couple of recent opportunities to exchange email with Mary Manning, General manager, global real estate and facilities services, ConocoPhillips Co. While the assurances that she gave me about start dates for demolition are proving true as you can see behind me in the video above, I haven’t secured an answer yet from Ms. Manning on whether or not ConocoPhillips plans include deconstruction versus demolition.

From what I’ve been able to observe, the work is moving along at a steady pace, but the work with heavy equipment seems to indicate strictly demolition. This may not be what many more environmentally sensitive folks in our community had hoped for, but the speed and efficiency with which ConocoPhillips moves ahead with their work removing the old Storage Tek buildings may be the more salient issue for local residents right now.

Whether it takes months, or even years, to realize the job growth impact for the towns along the Hwy 36 corridor, the region is already buzzing with evidence of market confidence. I’m seeing more buyers poking their heads up and looking around to pick up some of the remaining great values in the area.

Last month, four homes of the 33 that were for sale in the local MLS system in Superior were bank-owned, and three of them are under contract with a buyer and due to close soon.

I had hoped to hear from Ms. Manning some more details about how ConocoPhillips plans to implement green building techniques as a part of the construction phase, and I’m sure that we’ll get more updates and information on that in due time. Since it may be many months before plans are devised about the campus, I’m sure many decisions are yet to be made.

A recent Denver Post article quoted Mary Manning:

“The ConocoPhillips Colorado campus is a key component in the strategic future plan for the company,” she wrote in an e-mail. “2009 project work will focus on deconstruction of the existing buildings, working on entitlement with the City of Louisville, and meeting with state officials on long-range traffic/Highway 36 issues. It will be a year of planning and preparation.”

Given that Manning shared this Post article with me, I’d say that she’s behind Louisville Mayor Chuck Sisk’s notion that CP will get behind improvements to Hwy 36. That can and should be a great benefit to everyone living in the area. Even though Storage Tek had upwards of 4000 people in it’s highest employment cycle, it’s been a few years since then and when we see 7000 or more employees at the new CP facility, as well as the ancillary job growth and commuter traffic, having turnpike improvements will be a paramount issue.

Exciting times for our area! As Mayor Sisk has said many times, this is an economic benefit to the entire area, not just the city of Louisville. Watch for some great things happening in all the local communities from Boulder to Denver due to this progress.

When you’re ready to talk more about the local real estate market, or have some questions about your personal plans, please call or email me, I’d really like to learn more about what you think and what your plans are if they include our local community.

-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker®
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… OR, you can FOLLOW THE LINKS I have for you on the right side of this page, all of my tours are categorized for you to help you find just what you are looking for! Business Profiles, Neighborhood Profiles, and Homes for Sale, or just browse the list from my Video Tour start page!

Best of all, you could call or email me now, so we can start talking about what’s important to you about the Boulder real estate market! I look forward to hearing from you.

-Zachary Epps, full-time professional Realtor® and EcoBroker®