(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:

Solar

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.

[dc_ad size="9"] [dc_ad size="10"]

8 thoughts on “Guest blogger Dan Hofmann: Elizabethtown developer plans Kentucky’s first eco-friendly neighborhood

  1. Talk about greenwash.
     
    Putting solar panels on 5,000 square foot homes on 1 acre lots, in the ‘burbs of E-town and slapping the term ‘Eco-Friendly’ in front of the development is total BS.  No matter how energy efficient these simple-roofed McMansions end up being, the fact of the matter is they’re still going to be located too far away from anything for people to actually walk anywhere. 
     
    Any of the supposed eco-features listed will be immediately canceled out by everyone having to drive half a mile to the store to pick up a loaf of bread.
     
    From a sustainable (and hypothetical) perspective, you’d do better to build a 50 unit high-rise building in downtown Louisville and heat it with coal, if everyone who lived there worked downtown.

  2. Talk about greenwash.
     
    Putting solar panels on 5,000 square foot homes on 1 acre lots, in the ‘burbs of E-town and slapping the term ‘Eco-Friendly’ in front of the development is total BS.  No matter how energy efficient these simple-roofed McMansions end up being, the fact of the matter is they’re still going to be located too far away from anything for people to actually walk anywhere. 
     
    Any of the supposed eco-features listed will be immediately canceled out by everyone having to drive half a mile to the store to pick up a loaf of bread.
     
    From a sustainable (and hypothetical) perspective, you’d do better to build a 50 unit high-rise building in downtown Louisville and heat it with coal, if everyone who lived there worked downtown.

  3. Matthew, I disagree. You are not going to stop developers from building houses in the United States, so why not do it this way? And don’t forget that there is potential for every home to have electric vehicles (EV) and be charged with solar panels. You can’t force people to live in a high rise, why not let people live where they want if everything is powered by the endless energy from the sun? 

    EV’s powered by solar cost about 5 cents per mile while internal combustion engine (ICE) cars cost about 10 cents per mile. Solar PV + EV makes any development green. Especially this one. You have to start somewhere and this is better than what anyone else in Kentucky is doing at the moment. 

  4. Matthew, I disagree. You are not going to stop developers from building houses in the United States, so why not do it this way? And don’t forget that there is potential for every home to have electric vehicles (EV) and be charged with solar panels. You can’t force people to live in a high rise, why not let people live where they want if everything is powered by the endless energy from the sun? 

    EV’s powered by solar cost about 5 cents per mile while internal combustion engine (ICE) cars cost about 10 cents per mile. Solar PV + EV makes any development green. Especially this one. You have to start somewhere and this is better than what anyone else in Kentucky is doing at the moment. 

  5. Hi Matthew,  Thank you for your comments.  Actually, we have plans to build a commercial development across the street from the neighborhood so that residents will be able to walk to get many of their necessities.  Plus, the one acre garden that the residents will use for their fruit, veggies, herbs and flowers may help them cut down on their grocery trips. 🙂  There is still a want and need for larger family homes, and we are happy that we can provide families with a beautiful place to live while encouraging healthy, earth-friendly choices.

  6. Hi Matthew,  Thank you for your comments.  Actually, we have plans to build a commercial development across the street from the neighborhood so that residents will be able to walk to get many of their necessities.  Plus, the one acre garden that the residents will use for their fruit, veggies, herbs and flowers may help them cut down on their grocery trips. 🙂  There is still a want and need for larger family homes, and we are happy that we can provide families with a beautiful place to live while encouraging healthy, earth-friendly choices.

  7. This is simply amazing. Wow, this advancement will certainly help more people and also help save our planet. The lesser energy we use, the healthier is our environment. I do hope that this kind or roofing system will be implemented worldwide. Thank you for sharing this post.

  8. This is simply amazing. Wow, this advancement will certainly help more people and also help save our planet. The lesser energy we use, the healthier is our environment. I do hope that this kind or roofing system will be implemented worldwide. Thank you for sharing this post.

Leave a Reply