(Editor’s note: This post reflects the opinions and conclusions of the guest blogger. Neither Dan Hofmann nor Insider Louisville received compensation.)
By Dan Hofmann, RegenEn Solar

Since launching RegenEn Solar a few years ago, I’ve long loathed homebuilders and architects from the past couple centuries who insisted on unnecessarily making residential roofs a jumbled mess of dormers, odd angles, unevenly spaced rafters, and peaks and valleys.

Dan Hofmann - presumably smiling in this photo because this roof was unknowingly built solar-ready 100 years ago.

This hindrance led me to the conclusion that every new home construction in the United States should be required to be built solar-ready. A new rule like that would easily make it possible to make every new house a net-zero energy home – even with current technology.

A state that has a lot of experience with the solar industry has already seen the light (pardon the pun).

The California Energy Commission unanimously approved rules on May 31, 2012, requiring all new homes in California to have roofs equipped for solar panels.

This is why I was excited when I received a phone call from Kelly Emerine a few months ago.

Emerine and a partner, homebuilder William Harris, are building Kentucky’s first Eco-friendly neighborhood in Elizabethtown.  Development plans call for 50 houses when completed, with each lot at a minimum of one acre.

Kelly Emerine and William Harris.

That was great to hear, but the big news is they want to collaborate with RegenEn Solar and make every house solar-ready.

While they won’t force solar on the new home buyers, they want the roof to be built with solar in mind.

Emerine and Harris say they were surprised when every potential buyer they talked to was in favor of having solar panels included in the new home. And why not?

They will never have an electric bill and their cost of electricity will be cheaper than conventional power.

When I can put solar in on a large scale like this, I can get the break-even point down to around 10 years and these buyers might plan on staying in these homes for a lifetime.

The solar panels won’t just stop producing electricity after 25 years; they are projected to produce power for up to 50 years.

The Houses will feature a variety of green components including:


Energy efficient appliances and windows

Geothermal or radiant heating

Non-toxic sealants and adhesives

Non-toxic paints

Formaldehyde-free drywall

Recycled cotton insulation

Tankless water heater

Clean-air systems

Recycled materials

Rain water harvesting

Utilizing local and regional suppliers whenever possible

Pervious pavement driveway

The development will also include the following features:

  • Three lakes for aesthetics, irrigation and fishing
  • One-acre organic garden for residents: vegetables, flowers, herbs
  • Green space for gatherings
  • Eight foot-wide trails around the development to encourage biking and walking
  • Recycling and compost center
  • Educational events offered regarding green building practices and healthy, non-toxic living
  • Homes built in the development will meet the green/energy standards set by the neighborhood association
  • They will host Idea House Green Carpet Event in early summer in conjunction with the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. Admission will fund an eco-friendly project in Hardin County

Emerine and Harris say they’ve broken ground and plan on having the first home (the model home where Emerine and family will live) built by late spring 2013.

They are tentatively calling the eco-neighborhood Magnolia Farms.

Personally, I like to call it Paradise City.

Contact the developer:
Kelly Emerine
Magnolia Farms
Elizabethtown, KY
Phone: 270-982-5275
Email: [email protected]

About Dan Hofmann: Dan Hofmann is President of RegenEn Solar LLC (www.regenensolar.com), a solar panel installation company located in Louisville.