Stylish net-zero house on hill above Denver

Net-Zero Green Home


LAKEWOOD — The image hangs in Brad Goeddel and Julie Applebury’s first-floor hallway: a photograph of John Lennon from a poster for Lennon’s album “Imagine.”

It’s a fitting totem for the home that the married couple moved into in 2009. A talisman for their sanctuary, a three-bedroom, two-bath and 2,200-square-foot home nestled against William F. Hayden Park on Green Mountain in Lakewood — the one they call the “Ghost House.”

In the image, Lennon is an apparition; clothed in black and surrounded by ghostly white walls. His slender hands are hidden by his piano’s stark, white bulk. Ears cupped by headphones, the rock ‘n’ roll prophet sings.  Maybe he belts out these words: “You say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”  In 2007, before the home was built, before Goeddel and Applebury, who will have been married 25 years in September, hoisted that image onto their wall and shortly before the American housing market plummeted into oblivion, they shared a dream.  “So we drove by; there was a sign that had fallen down here,” said Applebury. The lot was for sale. “We got out, and we walked up the hill. I just looked out and I said, ‘Well. I want to live here.’ ”

Putting function first

The home the couple now shares there recalls a Modern Movement aesthetic. But it sheds some common modern elements in favor of purpose, health and efficiency.

Goeddel said a simple aesthetic coupled with a functional design was important to them.

“We really were into that idea of openness, simplicity and clean lines,” he said.

Architect Joseph Vigil of Workshop8 in Boulder, who designed the home, said the couple was also intent on keeping their square

Workshop8 interior designer Brandy LeMae helped keep the modest-size home’s décor spare, but lush with color. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

footage low. That meant maximum energy efficiency was possible. “It’s a very simple house,” Vigil said. “More complex forms cost more.”

The Ghost House is a net-zero home. It produces at least as much energy as Goeddel and Applebury use over the course of a calendar year — and likely more. The surplus energy gathered by their photovoltaic solar system is fed back into the power grid for later credit.

“They (Goeddel and Applebury) were obviously interested in sustainability and energy efficiency,” said Vigil at a tour for design professionals during the American Institute of Architects’ convention in June. “Being able to harness the sun in a positive way is critical.”

The premise for net-zero energy usage seems simple — build small and use an efficient shell. For this home, though, which has no active cooling, Vigil had to take into account the sweeping, full view of downtown Denver to the east.
Deck facing Denver
The rising sun presented a threat. How could they both harness it, and defend against its heat?

On the top floor, large, vertical windows draw the eye toward the stellar view. But the windows, a triple-paned design with a center heat-shield, also diminish the sun’s effect. Red sunshades latched outside the windows also help, and they cast a relaxing, rosy hue across the top floor in daylight. The overhanging roof and patio shade the home during the sun’s highest hours….

Read more: Home design: Stylish net-zero house on hill above Denver – The Denver Post