More than green for green’s sake, the community of Echo Spur boasts sustainable and efficient homebuilding practices that are thoughtful and mindful of a home’s longevity and cost
By Sergio Flores
Located in the heart of Park City, Utah is Echo Spur, a seven-home community in the city’s Old Town district. Park City is well known as a ski destination, a city where visitors or residents only spend a couple weeks to enjoy skiing. However, the mission behind Echo Spur was to create homes that would feel more like a real, livable home for buyers who didn’t want to rent out their second home, and instead wanted a more semi-permanent home that would feel like theirs when occupied.
Developed by Sean Kelleher, president of Austin Atlantic Asset Management Co., a financial firm headquartered in Coral Gables, Fla., Echo Spur is actually Kelleher’s first residential project development. Because of his extensive background in finance, he knew the end goal of the community was to marry energy and sustainable efficiency with financial savings.
Development broke ground in 2014, and the first home was sold in late 2015. “We wanted to do something that the town would be excited about,” said Kelleher. “A lot of what we wanted to do was show that a lot of these sustainable [features] were more than just a financial benefit to the homeowner.”
With his expertise in finance, Kelleher gathered a team of experts in energy and sustainability to ensure everything included in the home would, in the long run, be a wise investment, meaning the features would bring in more money than spent over the home’s longevity. Utah-based Heliocentric, an energy and environmental engineering firm, advised the builder on how to optimize all the energy elements of the house, essentially modeling how the architectural plans would affect the house’s performance. From choosing the right solar panels, windows, and so forth, they provided optimal solutions that would help Kelleher meet his sustainable and ultimately fiscal endeavors.
For example, Kelleher knew he wanted heated driveways, but the system in place, using a standard air exchange heat pump for radiant heating in the house, was insufficient. Instead, Heliocentric advised on a much more powerful boiler for driveways and decks. And because the boiler is more efficient than the heat pump, the new software knows to switch over to the boiler when it gets below 30 degrees outside. Essentially, savvy tweaks here and there that would maximize the efficiency of the home.