Why This Denver Developer Is Pivoting to Eco-Friendly Homes
Chris Lopez "Why this developer says yes" to environmentally friendly homes redT Homes interview
Why This Denver Developer Is Pivoting to Eco-Friendly Homes
Why is this Denver-based developer shifting his focus to building eco-friendly homes? We sat down with Nathan Adams of redT Homes to talk about his real estate journey, the importance of having a higher mission, and why he’s creating a “lightstyle” brand.

Today, I’m sitting down with Nathan Adams from redT homes, a Denver developer.  He started out as a real estate investor, then transitioned into development.  Now, find out why redT Homes is shifting their focus to building environmentally friendly homes. 

Three Learning Options!
  1. Listen to the podcast “#429: Why This Denver Developer Is Pivoting to Eco-Friendly Homes” Denver Real Estate Investing Podcast
  2. Watch the YouTube video.
  3. Read the blog post. Note, the blog is an executive summary. Get the in-depth breakdown from the podcast or video.

From Investor to Developer

Nathan bought his first property at the age of 27, and sold it a year later for a profit.  After spending time traveling around the country, he settled in Denver and got his brokerage license.  He soon started flipping properties and eventually put together a team of people completing flips all over the Denver metro area

He got the inspiration for his own development company after deciding to build duplexes next door to his primary residence.  It was much easier to oversee a project when the properties are next to each other, and he was able to answer agents’ questions about the makeup of the homes. 

From there, he left his company and formed redT Homes.  They do mostly infill development throughout Denver and the metro area.  

Finding a Higher Purpose

Culture is really important to Nathan, and he applies every year for redT Homes to rate as a best place to work both in the Denver Business Journal and Inc.  At first, he thought he just needed to offer a great benefits package to keep employees happy, but as time passed, the satisfaction rate wasn’t going up.

He started asking his employees what they wanted and found it was working towards a mission or higher purpose.  His employees wanted to build green homes that would be better for the environment and produce less waste. 

What Is the LEED Program?

In 2021, he started doing research to see how he could accomplish this goal.  He found out about the LEED program, an initiative of the US Green Building Council that certifies buildings based on their level of environmentally friendly aspects.

LEED certification comes from a third-party review of all of the components in a property.  After assessing the property, it can be given one of four possible ratings: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.  If the property has zero net energy bills after a year, it can be upgraded to Zero. 

By 2022, he decided that if a new build property wasn’t built to at least a LEED Gold Certification, redT Homes wasn’t going to buy, build, or sell it. 

What Does it Take to Build an Environmentally Friendly Home?

Currently, Nathan is working on building seven homes in Denver to the Platinum standard.  As long as the owners are willing to hand over their energy bills after a year, they anticipate the rating moving to Zero.

To ensure the properties rate at the Platinum level, they follow certain standards.  They don’t use gas energy at all, running everything on electricity instead.  All of the indoor and outdoor plumbing fixtures are low flow, and the yard will be mostly xeriscaped.

Solar panels will be installed on the roof that will generate more energy than will be used at times, while the owners will be able to draw from the power grid at others.  They expect the homes to achieve net zero energy usage based on this. 

Building a 1500 sq ft home to the LEED Gold standard costs an extra $20K-$25K in materials and labor.  Getting to the Platinum level pushes the cost closer to $50K per home. 

Why Buy an Environmentally Friendly Home?

During his research, Nathan found that the biggest pool of home buyers is millennials, many of whom care about the environment. 

There are three main appeals to the buyer when it comes to building an environmentally friendly home with redT:

  • Building with the environment in mind
  • Less costly overall because of the increased efficiency
  • Healthier to live in

These buyers want to live in homes that are more sustainable and will work with him to ensure the home they want can be built to those specifications.  Nathan even had a buyer willing to wait until he was able to build a home at the Gold standard to the sizes and layout they preferred.

The next evolution is to create a lifestyle brand.  They plan on adding more features to their properties, such as water filtration, raised planter beds to grow vegetables, and a countertop composter that will generate nutrient dense soil.  

Nathan calls these homes a “lightstyle” brand: their impact is light on the wallet and the environment. 

Learn More about redT Homes’ Environmentally Friendly Business

Check out their website to get more information.  You can also reach out to Nathan directly at 720-255-4101.

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Authors
Chris Lopez
Chris Lopez is a Denver area real estate entrepreneur and investor, as well as the host of Bigger Pockets’ House Hackerz and the Denver Real Estate Investing Podcast.
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