First Net-Zero Neighborhood in the US Being Built in Boulder

by , 11/30/09

Boulder Zero Energy Neighborhood

A new development in the north of Boulder, CO stands to be the first completely net-zero neighborhood in the US. Dubbed SpringLeaf Boulder, the project aims to bring net-zero homes “to the masses” by streamlining green technologies and driving down costs. The twelve homes are designed for LEED Platinum certification, will be fully powered by photovoltaic systems, and are very close to shops and restaurants, creating a little eco-community within Boulder.

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With the SpringLeaf model home already completed and construction the other homes started, this exciting project looks like it will serve as a great example for future communities and neighborhoods. Built according to LEED standards in hopes of achieving Platinum certification, the interior is outfitted with non-toxic paints and furnishings, like recycled countertops and bamboo cabinets. A strong focus was placed on insulation to make the home more efficient, and smart design allowed builders to conserve resources by using less lumber. A geothermal heat pump system works to provide efficient heating and cooling and the entire home is electric, which is powered by the pv system, so there is no natural gas used whatsoever.

Located on Broadway and Poplar Ave in Northern Boulder, the 1.5 acre neighborhood is conveniently located across from a market, shops and restaurants and with easy access via bus to the rest of the city. Six townhomes border Broadway, while six single-family homes sit back behind around a communal park. All the homes will be orientated to the south and photovoltaic systems can installed on the roof, which will completely provide the homes with all the energy they need.

The townhomes will be about 2,800 sq ft, while the largest single family home will be about 4,000 sq ft. The model home was built at a cost of about $300 per square foot, but the developers estimate the rest of the homes will cost $200 per square foot. SpringLeaf Homes was designed by architect, George Watt and is being built by Silver Lining Builders

+ SpringLeaf Homes

Via Boulder Daily Camera

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  1. Dave Toder January 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I am the architect for Green Acres, a zero-net energy development of single family homes in New Paltz, NY, about 90 miles north of NYC. Construction began in summer 2008 and at this time 3 houses have been completed, purchased and occupied, and 4 more are under construction. I found this website while searching to see if Green Acres is the first zero-net energy development of single family homes on the planet. I know of an existing development of zero-net energy townhouses in Germany, but not much else that is already built in this or a similar category. Please contact me if you know of another development with proper claim to this title. Thank you.
    David Toder,,

  2. Geraldmc December 3, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Your link to Geothermal Heat Pump actually links to Geothermal which is what we call “hot rocks” and not to a ground source heat pump system which provides both heating and cooling using a ground loop either vertically drilling about 200-400 feet deep or a horizontal loop 6 feet deep. Geothermal drills deep wells 1,700 meters deepto reach hot rocks producing steam or hot water. The link you provided is to Orly Airport which uses hot rock for heating only. You want to link to a real geothermal heat pump system (ground source heat pump system) a better link is to
    or or All three links use Geothermal Heat Pumps. More information can be found at

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