The news on climate change isn’t pretty, but both homeowners and builders like Sopris Homes in Boulder, Colorado are stepping up for the environment with their new net-zero emissions home. The innovative home from Sopris utilizes CertainTeed PV solar shingles to help it meet its zero-emission goals.

Boulder-based Sopris Homes has been constructing high-end homes around the Boulder area for over two decades but faced a unique challenge when tasked to build the 5000+ square foot, five-bedroom home in the Portico neighborhood of Longmont.

Sopris President John Stevens knew he needed material to meet both the aesthetic and power generation needs of the home including local building code. “In some areas, we’re mandated to use solar,” said Stevens. “In other areas, it’s a choice. Most people don’t voluntarily pay for solar on new home construction because for most, it’s not considered an aesthetic improvement.”

Stevens found his solution in CertainTeed’s Apollo Tile II integrated solar roofing system, a serious upgrade from the traditional rack and panel system that generates plenty of power but isn’t very aesthetically pleasing. CertainTeed’s solar tiles integrate directly into the concrete tile roof system, giving a less dramatic appearance while still generating plenty of power. “The homeowner has gotten a lot of nice comments about the roof,” said Stevens. “From a distance, it looks just like a regular concrete tile roof. People are surprised to learn that it is generating energy.”

According to Stevens each of the 229 solar shingles installed on the new Longmont build generate 63 watts of power each. The install was the first solar concrete tile job of its kind in Colorado. Sopris worked with a local CertainTeed certified installation team to make sure the roof install went off smoothly. Stevens admits a learning curve with the new installation, but the entire crew is satisfied with the finished project.

The combination of the home’s insulative properties, energy-saving mechanical systems, and solar generation capabilities earned it a Colorado Energy Industries Association residential installation award. According to the Department of Energy, the home has an annual Home Energy Rating System Index Score of -5, meaning it produces more power than it uses. The annual power bill for the home? Around -$392, yes, negative.

 “I’m not aware of anything like it on the market here,” said Stevens referring to concrete-tile integrated solar systems. “You get the savings of solar energy generation and you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetic quality to get it.”

TSI caught up with Alan Parkes of Roofcorp of Metro Denver, a Denver roofing company who echoed Stevens comment regarding nothing like the concrete-tile integrated solar system currently on the market.