Image Image Image Image Image




AIA National Convention!

The AIA National Convention is coming to Denver this June.  Below, Brian Fuentes at Charles Deaton’s “Sleeper House”, is helping the AIA in preparations for the upcoming convention – stay tuned for some amazing footage in and around Denver!




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!



Water for People Dinner

Fuentesdesign is excited to support the Rocky Mountain Section of Water for People in their annual “Everyone Forever Annual Theme Dinner” through a donation of time for their silent auction. Join us here!



The Fun Theory

We believe architecture affects us all – for a fun example, check out the “Piano Staircase” at the fun




Energy Should Be……good!

Just spent some time checking out videos at, very cool site that explains how renewable energy works!  Check out Ken R’s great work trying to rally the troops!



Chasing Ice

If you haven’t seen Chasing Ice yet,  you should!  The scenery captured by Boulder based photographer James Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) is not only awe inspiring, but the time-lapse photography of the retreating glaciers proves to be heartbreaking – giving a “visual voice” to the quickly changing ecosystem.  A bit of an emotional roller-coaster, the film is certainly a call to action. Watch the trailer here!

As a call to action, identifies a number of “easy” and “difficult” home upgrades that can reduce the carbon footprint of your home. Recognizing that buildings account for nearly half of our country’s carbon footprint, we’re excited to see such tangible steps highlighted – but what makes us most excited (we prefer this to horrified!) is knowing the magnitude of energy we can save through retrofiting/rebuilding our living spaces with existing technologies (see Passive House building techniques) – if designed and built properly, our buildings can require 10X less energy to heat and cool than the current American average. It’s bold, but it’s what we need to do.




Dec “Do the Math Tour”

Bill McKibben and the “Do the Math Tour” bio-diesel bus recently made a stop in Boulder, Colorado spreading awareness of the math behind climate change, asking those who signed the banner below to remember three numbers:

1) 2 degrees Celsius: The agreed upon change in temperature that we must stay below, at least in the Copenhagen Accord, 2009 in which 167 countries responsible for 87 percent of the world’s carbon signed. Where representatives signing the Accord agreed that, “deep cuts in global emission are required…so as to hold the increase in global temperatures below two degrees Celsius.”
2) 565 Gigatons: The computer simulated amount of carbon our atmosphere can assimilate and still have a “reasonable hope” to stay below 2 degrees Celsius.
3) 2,795 Gigatons: The amount of fossil fuel we are currently planning to burn.

If you missed it, read  Bill McKibben’s recent article in the Rolling Stone magazine here.



fuentesdesign to present at the International Straw Builders’ Conference

The 2012 International Straw Builders’ Conference is coming to Estes Park, Colorado this September.  Brian Fuentes will present on the Passive House standard and its technical requirements, providing examples of building to this standard in Colorado climate with straw bale and other natural materials. Read more about the conference and Brian’s presentation here.



Das Haus Tour is coming to Denver!

fuentesdesign is excited to welcome the Das Haus tour, scheduled to be in Denver October 2012.

According to the tour: ‘Das Haus is a traveling pavilion, a North American tour about advanced technologies for home construction and solar energy use. The purpose – to share German innovations that have achieved sustainable construction and operational energy savings. Attendees represent leading organizations and businesses in building materials, architecture, engineering, renewable energy and energy efficiency businesses, universities, and public officials…

The hands on format includes:

  1. An enclosed room built to Passive House standards featuring a relatively thin yet superinsulated envelope, heat recovery ventilation and cooling, and triple–pane windows that optimize solar heat gain while minimizing heat loss. Stepping into the room instantly communicates the superior indoor comfort the Passive House Standard is known for.
  2. Solar energy collection systems which help to power the pavilion, including roof modules featuring state–of–the–art thin film CIS photovoltaics, and solar capturing façade elements which generate power while providing additional insulation benefits.
  3. Exhibitive wall construction systems representing a wide range of insulation techniques and materials designed to resist thermal conductivity, avoid thermal bridging, and maximize year–round indoor comfort.”

Find more information here.

Photo from:



fuentesdesign Returns from International Passive House Days in France.

It was great to see some passive house projects in action – but like the US, passive house is relatively new to France, with only a handful of projects compared to neighboring countries (esp. Germany and Austria) where energy costs are higher. Considering this context, it was interesting to hear stories of struggles to get the builder to understand the air sealing details,  finding affordable materials, getting financing, and getting projects approved through local building and zoning codes.

Below, a passive house on the outskirts of Paris, France.