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After Belz purchased land in Boulder’s Newlands neighborhood to build her dream home, she spent hours at the site just sitting there, taking in the light and the views, and refining her ideas.


Completed in 2005, the solar-powered, energy-efficient home combined hidden technology with noticeable – and appealing – green features. Perched atop a mini-ridge on 1.4 acres of land adjacent to open space at the base of Mt. Sanitas, the 4,200-square-foot, four-bedroom home offers views of both the city and the Flatirons.


The structure suggests a natural, earthy elegance that integrates seamlessly with its sunny stake in the foothills. Incorporating existing trees, large boulders, and varying elevations, she achieved southern exposures in virtually every room and an open, flowing floor plan.


Green and luxury features commingle nicely and include sustainable materials, photovoltaic panels, a catalytic wood-burning fireplace, architectural elements produced by local artisans, and a sod roof lush with indigenous grasses.


The foyer includes a round, four-foot diameter skylight, Celtic-themed door, and built-in lit alcoves.


ln the kitchen, salvaged white pine cabinetry was stained to mesh with dark antique Chinese furniture. Open shelves were installed that float across windows overlooking the Flatiron rock formations.


The toxin-free dining room's hardwood floors shine with a water-based finish, rather than a chemical glaze, and the walls are covered in a bold, cheery, low VOC (volatile organic

compound) paint.


Two specially engineered insulated windows – in the hallway floor – look downward onto the lit

boulders below;· the house, designed to preserve the natural environment cantilevers over the rocks.


Much of the energy efficiency comes from the insulation. A layer of formaldehyde-free, recycled-fiberglass interior insulation is hidden behind the warm-toned walls. Further temperature control comes from the sod roofing system, where a layer of vegetation adds a barrier between the elements and the inhabitants that naturally blends with the hillside. The PV system (16 solar panels), also on the roof, accounts for one-third to one-half of the household electrical needs. Air quality stays high with low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint and a water-based hardwood floor finish, minimizing pollutants and chemical odors. And, as with the Lab House, the lumber frame is FSC-certified, and heat comes from a radiant floor system.


Solar panels mounted on the sod roof face south for the greatest exposure. The grassy rooftop not only blends with the surrounding hills, but also provides an extra layer of insulation.

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