SEPTEMBER 21, 2019 BY 

by Suzie Romig
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Brooklyn neighborhood homeowner Lissa Hostetler learned a lot about what she wanted in a new energy efficient home by attending local green building tours, so she and husband, Jeff, are happy to open their home to the community as part of this year’s educational Sustainable Home Tour.

“I wanted a house that was going to last and not be a burden on our planet,” said Lissa Hostetler, a 17-year Steamboat Springs resident. “I am happy to share what we’ve learned from others.”

The family’s home and rehabilitated historic barn, along with six other stops, will be featured during the annual tour presented by nonprofit Yampa Valley Sustainability Council from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Steamboat Springs. The come-and-go, walkable format of a neighborhood tour attracted more than 100 attendees for last year’s event in the Old Town neighborhood.

This year the tour features a range of energy-efficient construction styles, including strawbale, hempcrete, preserved historic registry home, tiny home on wheels and two recently constructed homes designed by Kelly & Stone Architects. A 1961 home on River Road will be a live education site with two certified energy analysts demonstrating a home energy assessment.

The rehabilitated early-1900s barn on the south end of the neighborhood will feature educator Laurel Watson, curator of the Hayden Heritage Center and author of a history book on the Brooklyn area. The barn is thought to be a former stagecoach stop.

Builders, architects, vendors and a representative of the American Tiny House Association will be on hand at tour stops to answer questions. Emily Katzman, director of Historic Routt County, will be on site at the 1930s home listed on the Steamboat Springs Historic Register to discuss how to access tools and incentives available to preserve historic buildings.

“The greenest building is the one that already exists,” Katzman said. “Consider reuse as an alternative to demolition or building on undeveloped land.”

The Hostetlers both recommend patience and research when planning an energy-efficient new build or remodel. They took their time to identify and interview multiple sustainably-minded architects and builders.

If you go

What: Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s 2019 Sustainable Home Tour
When: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22
Where: Tour starts from Howelsen Ice Rink, tickets sold through 3 p.m.
More information: Tickets are free for children 12 and younger, $15 for teens and students and $25 for adults after Sept. 19. Purchase advance tickets online at

“Go see a lot of houses; there are so many good ideas out there,” Jeff Hostetler said. “Every sustainable house we looked at provided new ideas or bolstered ideas we already had.”

Their home along the Yampa River was planned utilizing a solar design computer program that identified the best home orientation and recommended specific overhangs to reduce unwanted heat gain in the summer and ensure winter solar gain. The home has a tight building envelope, a highly insulated wall system and a high efficiency modulating boiler providing hydronic in-floor heat and domestic hot water.

The couple said they are happy they opted for more efficient triple-pane windows, and they utilized Japanese-style Shou-Sugi-Ban charred wood treatment on the exterior siding for a non-toxic, minimal maintenance finish.

The Hostetler lot has a rental apartment above a separate garage to add to the local housing supply. The home was pre-wired for a possible ground-mounted solar PV system to offset electrical use. The couple said building their home in the urban area also allows them to ride bikes to errands and shopping as much as possible.