Well-Engineered Wonder

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Colorado home builder and green building pioneer John Kurowski continues to set new standards for sustainable, energy-efficient homes.

January 01, 2003


Kurowski Development won an Energy Star award for this home.

Colorado home builder and green building pioneer John Kurowski continues to set new standards for sustainable, energy-efficient homes. For the second year, Kurowski Development Co. - which he founded in 1976 with a mission to build comfortable, energy-efficient homes - received the Energy Star New Millennium award in the Denver metro custom builder category.

A panel of energy and building science experts evaluated each entry based on its efficiency, use of innovative building design, and comfort, health and safety benefits. The Kurowski Development house scored 91 out of a possible 100 points on the E-Star scale.

"Had Congress passed the home energy-efficiency tax credit this fall, Kurowski's home buyers would have earned a $2,000 tax credit for being at least 50% better than the model energy code," says Steve Andrews, senior technical officer for E-Star Colorado.

Notable features of the home include:

  • air sealing that resulted in a house 60% tighter than the average new home.
  • durability detailing recommended by the Energy & Environmental Building Association. This includes thermoply placed as an air barrier before tubs and fireplaces are installed to reduce the chance for condensation in exterior walls.
  • blown cellulose in walls and the attic to dampen air leakage.
  • insulating concrete forms in the foundation to provide an unbroken insulating value that also helps prevent below-grade mold.
  • sprayed cellulose in 2x6 walls with 1-inch expanded polystyrene foam sheathing to provide a high-R insulation blanket for the building frame.
  • low-E windows and sun-sensitive orientation of the home on the site.
  • an exceptionally efficient closed combustion boiler plus outdoor reset valves to anticipate changes in heating loads. A side-arm water-heating system is 60% more efficient than an average tank unit installed in new homes.
  • R-10 insulation placed beneath the basement’s heated slab.

"During the average year, only a dozen new homes in Colorado score 90 or higher," Andrews says. "In one of the leading green building markets in the United States, John Kurowski is the grandfather of green. This home is just the latest example of Kurowski practicing what he preaches."

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