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5280 Home Summer 2015

Check out the Summer 5280 Home issue that features our Renew project. Many thanks to all involved!




fuentesdesign project in Modern in Denver

Check out the Fall Modern in Denver issue, featuring our Integration House!

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Magnolia project breaking ground!

Our newest project broke ground this week! Located on top of Magnolia, this straw bale, solar powered home is modeled to meet the Passive House Standard. Dedicated to preserving the natural settings, this home will utilize a unique enviro-transpiration water treatment system instead of a traditional septic system, incorporating composting toilets and a grey water system. More project updates to come soon!



Sunshine project update

Perched on top of Sunshine Canyon, this 4-Mile Fire rebuild is heading towards the home stretch! Targeting the Passive House standard, the home is designed with a continuous air barrier, super-insulated wall/roof/slab assemblies and phase change material for increased thermal mass. In addition, the triple pane European windows by Zola Windows, are used throughout. The fuentesdesign team is excited to receive results from tomorrow’s preliminary blower-door air tightness test!  Thanks to Roger Sims, of Natural Homes, and the entire team for a well executed project!!



Featured Project – Strata

It’s always exciting when a project starts to become a home! Congrats to everyone involved as our STRATA project, designed and built by the fuentesdesign team, wraps up! Read more about the project here.






Featured Project – Wash Park

Excited to see our newest Wash Park project wrapping up!

Located in the Washington Park neighborhood in Denver, this second floor addition and energy retrofit transforms an existing single story brick bungalow by adding R-20 continuous insulation to the exterior, high-gain windows on the south fascade, allowing mini-split heat pumps to serve as primary heating supply for addition.

Designed in collaboration with the clients and builder/artist Bill McDonald of Denver, interior finishes include reclaimed wood doors and custom fabricated barn doors complementing the existing brick to create the clients’ desired loft feel.

In addition,  the client’s son recently published a book, “Reinventing the Chicken Coop”! Check it out for some unique DIY coop designs.



New Office!

We’ve moved!! Come see our new office at 1722 14th Street #115!

For the new studio, we decided a new table was in order.  To find a large piece of locally salvaged wood, a trip to TC Woods was in order. A little hunting and we found a 95 year old Locust tree that had been taken down in Boulder, right behind Jalinos Pizza and just a few blocks from our office.  After a weekend of wood working, we had the table planed and glued in two halves and Travis started in on welding the steel frame together.

Brian Fuentes and Steven Rouisse glue up the first half of the table.

Steven Rouisse and Megan Monroe admiring the future table

Travis laying out the table


Finished table


Next we freshened up the walls with natural paints by Unearthed Paints – we choose a lime based plaster with mica and a blue accent wall with lime based paint. Unlike conventional latex paints (even the “environmentally-friendly,” zero-VOC versions), natural paints are biodegradable and free of petrochemical ingredients. From Unearthed: “natural paint relies on the inherent qualities of natural ingredients that can be used as binders (such as casein, a protein glue), fillers (such as marble, which provides opacity and whiteness), and pigments (such as earth pigments that derive natural color from their mineral content). A variety of different unique natural paint types exist, and include clay paint, milk paint, and lime paint. Most natural paints, including the entire line of paints by Unearthed Paints, are 100% zero-VOC and safe to use while pregnant.”

Unearthed Paints

so now that we’re in, stay tuned for an open house date!



Tour of Straw Bale Home in Boulder

David Adamson of EcoBuild and Brian Fuentes discuss the construction of the Adamson’s straw bale zero-energy residence in Boulder, Colorado.

Special thanks to the team: The Adamson Family, RMI, Artesano Plaster, EcoBuild and builders Doug Parker and Roger Sims.



Renew bath almost finished!

The Renew Home bath is almost complete- reclaimed barnwood, custom cast concrete ramp sink by Concrete Visions, who also did the hand troweled floor.  The shower walls are by Artesano Plaster, and are tadelakt, or a Morrocan lime plaster technique that creates a waterproof plaster using olive oil soap and hand burnishing with a stone.  Windows are by Zola European Windows, passive house ready thermoplus Clad.  The stain is an antiqued yellowish brown over finger-jointed pine.   The muted earth tones play background to the white Victoria Albert slipper tub.





Visit of Future Off-grid Passive House

Beautiful Colorado!! Here’s a quick panoramic of the future home site of an off-grid Passive House in Fairplay, Colorado (elevation 9900′).  Construction anticipated spring 2013 – check back for additional videos as the project progresses!




Project Report – Sunset

Our newest project is framed and starting to take shape! Perched on top of Boulder, this second floor addition is rotated true south to capture passive solar gains and mountain views while a complete gut and remodel of the first floor and basement improve the layout. Despite increasing the square footage to accommodate three generations, super insulated, double stud walls and a continuous air barrier will ultimately save energy, relative to the original home. A geothermal heating system provides heating and cooling while a 10 kW PV system powers the home and continuous filtered fresh air ventilation is provided. Triple pane Zola European windows are used throughout with an 18 foot wide lift-slide door, providing a 9 foot connection to the south balcony.



Allenspark Gallery Improvement

Fuentesdesign is excited to be involved with the schematic design of the NEW Old Allenspark Gallery! The Old Gallery is owned and operated on a volunteer basis by the Allenspark Community Cultures Council, Inc. (ACCC), a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity.  Formed in 2008, the mission of ACCC is to promote the different cultures of Allenspark:  community services, education, wellness, arts, visitor information and services, and environmental stewardship.   Programs are open to all residents and visitors to the Allenspark area regardless of age, race, religion, politics, sexual orientation, or ability to pay.

Renovation will bring the building up to code and address structural weaknesses while enhancing the Gallery’s capacity for community events by creating open and flexible space.  New and updated indoor and outdoor spaces are designed to host a number of activities from community meals, to lectures, performances, art workshops and yoga classes. According to the ACCC, “the New Old Gallery will remind us of what we have done well in the valley: we affect change as the wind has, we blanket and protect as the snow has, we watch and smile as the sky has, we appreciate – and protect- the beauty that surrounds us. Allenspark possess a heritage worthy of preservation. In the New Old Gallery, that heritage will find a home.”

Please visit the Old Allenspark Gallery if you’re interested in volunteering or learning how you can support the efforts of the ACCC and the Old Gallery!



National Passive House Tour features fuentesdesign homes


Building scientists and Passive House enthusiasts from around the country gathered in Denver for the 2012 National Passive House conference and capped of the week with tours of fuentesdesign homes.

View clips from the tours here:

  • Marshall Plan – Rebuilding an 1890s mining cabin into a state of the art Passive House (VIDEO COMING SOON!)
  • Renew – An urban retrofit renewing a 1950s track home into a cozy but modern adobe home
  • Alpine Passive House  – a prefabricated straw bale mountain home, pursuing Passive House certification
  • Passivista – designed by fuentesdesign, built by Mainstream Corporation
Brian Fuentes and Megan Monroe volunteering at the 2012 National Passive House Conference in Denver, Colorado.



fuentesdesign utilizes THERM to evaluate heat transfer in building assemblies.

Utilizing thermal modeling (THERM) of wall assemblies, fuentesdesign gains bettering understanding of thermal performance. THERM, a computer based program developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory can be used to evaluate two-dimensional heat transfer in building components including windows/doors, walls, foundations and roofs. Beyond evaluating energy efficiency an understanding of heat-transfer is fundamental to understanding problems related to condensation, moisture damage, and structural integrity (LBNL).

Below, isotherms used to determine the transfer of heat through a glulam window sill in a fuentesdesign mountain home.