Oreck insisted that no special
technologies be invented,
designed or engineered for
Next West. Every item in the
house is readily available from
a local warehouse.
All woodwork, including the floors, is of sustainably harvested walnut.
Next West Highlights, Boulder, Colo.
Local and Sustainable Materials
Local quartzite stone
Sustainably harvested walnut woodwork
R50 walls, exterior and interior
Left, jet black SunPower modules were chosen to match visually with asphalt shingles. Right, the front porch
was sized to take an additional set of modules forming its entire roof.
The Hoover Dam
For that purpose, the steep unbuildable site
was perfect. The triangular lot, with its hypotenuse facing south, tilted sharply toward the sun
and elevated the roof well above neighboring
trees. The irrigation ditch required a massive
retaining wall— oreck calls it the Hoover Dam
—but when it runs with water in the summer,
it cools the backyard and patio perceptibly.
The dam angles at one end to reflect light into
the east-facing basement windows. Contractor
Bob Hughes says that using pre-formed, interlocking concrete blocks kept the cost of the
wall to about $50,000, less than 3 percent of the
During the last decades of the 19th century,
the nicest houses in central Boulder were solid
piles of masonry in classic victorian style, built
for mining, railroad and ranching magnates, lawyers, doctors and University of Colorado professors. From outside, Next West, faced with recycled brick and local quartzite, looks 100 years
For more details visit 429spruce.com. old. With its large windows and deeply shaded
All rooms wired for LAN, coax and
Heated garage wired for EV charging
All materials and appliances are conventional, off-the-shelf products
10 kilowatts of SunPower photovoltaics
Grid-tied with SMA inverters
896 amp-hours of Absolyte battery
Econar Invision geosource heat pump for
heating and cooling
No natural gas
LED lighting throughout
Daylighting in all rooms
Gray water recycled
south-facing porch, the 3,800-square-foot house
(353 square meters) seems a cousin to the adjacent 1890 victorian. Like that house, Next West
is built to last at least a century.
The Boulder Historical Society didn’t want to
approve a house with solar panels, so architect
Jim Logan agreed to hide them from passersby
on the street. Edge around to the west and look
up at the roof. It forms a double peak, with two
east-west ridges and two south-facing surfaces.
The back roof, hidden from the street, is faced
with photovoltaic modules. Jet black SunPower
modules were chosen to match visually with
asphalt shingles ( sunpowercorp.com). The back
roof didn’t offer enough area to make up the 10
kilowatts Oreck wanted, so the front porch was
sized to take an additional set of modules forming its entire roof.
Finally, two more Pv modules were set flush
into a “false” roof at the front. The sheath roof
not only softens the visual impact of the modules
but provides an extra layer of insulation for the
real drainage plane. According to Sarah Marvez,