Summit Resource Directory
Animal Control and Shelter
Ph: (970) 668-3230
Summit County Assessor
The Summit County Assessor's Office
is charged with discovering, listing, classifying, and valuing all taxable real
and personal property.
Phone: (970) 453-3480
Building Inspection Department
Main office: (970) 668-3170
Clerk & Recorder
Main office: (970) 453-3470
Community Development (Building Dept.)
Phone: (970) 668-4203
Summit County Community & Senior Center
Phone: (970) 668-2940
The Summit County Community & Senior Center offers meeting-room and event rentals, volunteer opportunities, and a variety of senior services and programming.
Elections in Summit County
Call the Elections Division Directly:
Phone: (970) 453-3479
Summit County Finance Department
Ph: (970) 453-3434
Summit County Engineering Department
Environmental Health Department
Phone: (970) 668-4073
Is the one place you won't want to miss from spectacular views to endless fun of outdoor activities. Starting with skiing & snowboarding in Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin., Which are all close by. To just sitting down at one of our fine restaurants or enjoying one of the breweries
that our available. Have fun Shopping art galleries, souvenir shops and boutiques along Main Streets.
Building a Mountain Home in Colorado
Things to Consider
When Buying Land
If you have selected a few possible properties, think about the location of the land. Will this property be able to fit the needs of a house? Work with your realtor or your custom home builder to find out:
The number of access roads leading into your property—is there only one way in and one way out? When choosing a property, is it accessible all year round or only part of the year? When choosing location is the availability of services and amenities.
If there is enough square footage potential for the home that you want. If you have access to utility services like water, septic, and electricity. If the property is properly zoned for residential use.
Zoning and Setbacks
When buying land make sure you check zoning and what is ok to build on it, as well as any other structures you were thinking of adding, like maybe a barn, or shed. No matter where you plan to build, it is important to be familiar with the zoning and setbacks for your lot. Some neighborhoods also have covenants or design guidelines that must be considered.
Snow Removal and Road Maintenance
Find out who is responsible for snow removal and road maintenance in your neighborhood. In many areas, the city or county will plow the roads. If you build in a more remote area, it is important that you understand good chances you might have to dig your own way out should it be from a snow storm or strong winds causing snow drifts. We learnt our first year a tractor was needed to moving snow just from our long driveway to the main road.
Topography and Soils
Soils in Colorado can vary greatly, even within a small area. One lot might have excellent soil conditions while the lot right next door suffers from expansive soils, which increase the cost of building. Steep sites may require extensive excavation and fill. Once you start building, if the builder encounters rock formations as they are trying to dig the foundation, may require dynamite to clear out the rocks to be able to do a foundation.
Where will your utilities come from?
City or community system, there will probably be tap fees. If you are in an area that requires a well, you will need to get a permit in order to drill. Just how deep will they have to go, and if they don't find water, cost of drilling on another spot. If a local utility company provides service to properties in the vicinity, check with them and make sure no underground service lines cross your property. If they do, determine their location before you start boring a well.
Many areas do have access to natural gas. There will be a tap
fee to hook it up. If not available many people choose to use propane, which can be delivered to the home. Look into size of Propane bottle and what fees they charge for propane,delivery, should you lease a bottle or buy one, and where the propane bottle should be on your property, consider the people who deliver propane, will they be able to access it easily enough even in winter
Has electricity already been run to your street or lot? No matter how close it is located, there will be a fee to connect it. If electricity has not been run to your street, you will need to pay to have it brought to your property. Timing varies, so ask the utility company how long it will take them to do this. Off Grid, meaning electricity can not be brought straight to your property, and you must consider alternative power
Most areas have sewer system available, or will you have to install a septic system? If there is a sewer system, find out how much you will need to pay to hook up to it. This will depend on size of your home, bedrooms, baths, etc. this will determine the fee. If installing a septic system. Before you close on the purchase of your lot, it is a good idea to make sure the land will be able to handle the septic system, do a perc test.
Budgeting for a Home-Stay on Track
Establish a budget.
When making your budget, of course you'll begin with what you can afford, and how the cost of your house fits in with your overall plans for the future. When you're ready to get down to details, include everything that will go into the project: the cost of the land, local fees and taxes, design and engineering fees, construction of not just the home but the landscape, not to mention decorating the new house.
Choose your Architect designer to plan your home.
Making suggestions to keep the budget in check. An architect’s assistance can include suggesting appealing, cheaper alternatives to pricey finishes you like; recommending features worth spending on and places to save; and helping you anticipate costs you might not be
aware of. (Note: Time equals money—if you’re paying to rent somewhere else and you’re paying mortgage for the place under construction, that dual housing cost can lead to big budget overruns if the renovation falls behind deadline.)
Its best really to hire a professional architect designer, preferably local area, who will know the area well, when it comes to designing a home there. Always smart to get everything in writing too.
By getting a professional home designer can help protect you through the many of the challenges of building a mountain home. Things like high winds, damp weather, making sure your home is built right, good set of plans make it easier for the builder & the bank.
Get a Bid
Now take your plans to a builder, in fact take it to several and see what numbers come up to having your house built. If above the budget you had tried to stay with, then go back to your architect and see what ways you can come up with to reduce that cost.
Location. If you build in a remote location, the chances are that your builders will charge you more for the pleasure of the longer drive and other situations that occur as a result of being farther away from resources. Just another factor to consider.
Contingency Budget for Unexpected Costs
Your contingency budget is your safety net. It’s the money you set aside to cover unexpected costs during construction. Subtract this amount from the total budget and reserve it for future use. Do not allocate this one on other items in your budget as this is your insurance against project risks or uncertainties.
How to Choose a Builder
1. Ask someone you know who has recently done work with a general Contractor. Ask them about their experience and if they would recommend their GC to you.If you walk into someone's home and love the work you see, just ask them who worked on their home! That's a good place to start. But if your just moving into the area, then take maybe a different approach. When talking to a builder, ask to visit other properties the builder has worked on. You may want to ask the owners what they thought of that builder.
Questions to Ask
You are looking for a strong recommendation for a contrator who has worked on a quality project, from start to finish. You are also looking for a client who is satisfied.
Are they happy with the work that was done, and are they loving their new home, have they had any issues since they moved in??
Did the project stay on track, particularly in area under the contractor's control? Did the contrator offer ideas oh how a client could save money?
Was the schedule realistic and was the work completed in a reasonable amount of time? Just remember building in one area like in the city may go faster then when buillding in the mountains.
Did they get a warranty should anything go wrong? And if an issue had occured, did they come out to fix the problem?
A reputable, licensed builder is a must. Before you begin your search, figure out how much you can afford. Most companies will require proof of pre-approval from a bank or mortgage lender.
Be clear about your must-have features to be sure your prospective builder can provide them.
Verify experience. Ask how long the company has been in business and how many homes they’ve built. You can also ask to see examples of their work.
Check credentials. Ask for proof of licenses and insurance information. Licensing requirements vary depending on your location and the size of the project. Check state-by-state licensing requirements. Then verify your prospective specialist has the right ones for the size and scope of your project. Call the issuing insurance agencies to verify the information is accurate and up to date.
Ask about warranties. An insured third party should provide home warranties. That way, even if your pro goes out of business, you’re still covered. You should also ensure the builder will transfer warranties for fixtures and appliances purchased as part of the contract.
Take a tour. The best example of a company’s work is one of its existing units. Tour a model unit and a job site, and pay attention to materials, workmanship, and safety.
Ways to go Eco-Friendly Tips & Building Materials
1. Build Smaller
A smaller house is going to be much better for the environment than a large one. This is not to say that a big house can’t be energy-efficient, but a smaller home will have a smaller environmental impact. Be thoughtful about how you use your space. Square footing should be considered an investment—don’t just build out in every direction.
Metal roofs- are a great investment because of their longevity – they can last 50 years or more. This doesn’t even begin to account for them being eco-friendly. Not only can they be made from recycled content, and fully recycled after their useful life, but their construction reflects heat. This can help keep energy costs down. Choosing a lighter color material often yields the best results.
Slate Roof-Even more durable than metal, slate tiles can still be seen today on many historic homes, as they are designed to last upwards of 100 years. This longevity is one of the many reasons why homeowners choose slate over other materials. Additional advantages include beauty and fire resistance. Reclaimed or salvaged slate tile roofing materials are your greenest option. Like metal, light colors will reflect heat.
Cedar Shakes-It’s hard to beat the appearance of wood. However, to ensure you’re getting a green product, you’ll want to look for wood that has been sourced from sustainable managed forests. These products will be FSC-certified. The downside to cedar shakes and other types of wood shingles is that they are not very fire resistant and aren’t very durable. They will typically need to be replaced after 15-20 years.
3.Work with Your Surroundings
When choosing or building your home, it’s important you take the surrounding landscape into consideration. A typical transformation many homeowners make is removing trees from their plot. Don’t cut down trees—use them to your ability.
Things can use to help :
Find and plant trees, flowers, and shrubs native to your region. For small animals in your yard, use plants such as barrier hedges to create habitats for creatures. Try hardscapes as opposed to turf for outdoor reduce water usage. Environmentally friendly materials such as permeable pavers.
4.Utilize Solar Power & Geothermal Heat
Solar energy is a big deal—it’s one of the ultimate sources for clean and low-cost energy. If you’re building your home, you have the opportunity to plan for solar power in ways that older homes did not. Think about where to position your home and its solar panels so that you’re getting the biggest impact; Project Sunroof can help you do just this.
Geothermal goes kind of hand-in-hand with solar energy, in that it moves heat around (sustaining the energy) rather than creating it by combustion. Basically, it is an eco-friendly alternative for an HVAC system that uses natural heat sources to either warm up or cool down your home.
In the most basic sense, having multi-functional rooms means fewer rooms that need heating, cooling, and lighting requirements.
High Performance Windows, Low-E, insulated windows offer less energy loss.
Look for certifications and ratings. Always use windows that are at least ENERGY STAR approved, and get products with other designations if possible. Also, look for windows with high R-values and/or low U-values.
Siding-Vinyl siding on exsterior walls saves money on installation & maintenance. Cement siding is termite & water resistance.
Insulation-Increasing the amount and R Value of insulation is a cost effective way to save energy and help reduce heating & cooling bills, which accounts for at least half of the energy used in the home. Blown Cellulose or Spray foam insulation types completely fill wall & ceiling cavities.
Heating-High efficiency HVAC units use less energy and have lower operating cost. On demand hot water systems such as Rannai tankless water heaters heat only the water you need instead of storing hot water.
Conserve water with duo flush toliets,water saving faucets and rain sensors for lawn sprinking.
Here’s what you need to know and the most commonly asked questions.
There are three basic types of solar systems to choose from.
A. Grid tied to your utility directly.
B. Grid tied as above, but also having a battery backup in case of power outages.
C. Off grid systems (also called standalone) which become the total Power Supply to a house.
Grid tied solar systems
(A) are made up of two basic parts. Solar panels and inverters. The grid tied with battery backup and off grid systems
(B & amp; C) are exactly the same, except the backup system (B) has a switch turned on to sell excess power to the utility. These last two systems (B & C) are made up of 4 to 5
different parts. They include solar panels, inverters, charge controllers, batteries, and an optional generator to assist in low solar times.
1. Why would I choose a grid tied only system?
If your main goal is to reduce your power bill to the utility, then the grid tied system is the best for you. This system is tied to any power panel in your house or your utility meter. When the sun is up and you are making power, your house uses the power first and you only buy from the utility when you need it. Most systems during the day are supplying most of the house’s power and usually you are only buying from the utility during poor sunlight times and at night. The utility company changes your billing meter to a reversible meter. When your solar system is producing more than you need (during days and April- October usually) it sends the excess power out to the grid and your meter turns backwards, recording your credits for future use at night or in winter. If the system is sized correctly according to your past usage, most houses are making more per day from April
through October than you need and thus the extra kilowatt hours are racking up as credits on your meter for future use. This is the most common system and comprises 90+% of all solar systems installed in the United States.
2. Why would I choose a grid tied with battery backup system?
If you want all the advantages above, of a grid tide system, and also want security of power in
case of a utility outage, this is your system. Though more expensive, it will switch over and supply the same power from your batteries, though usually only enough for critical loads, like your well, furnace, refrigerator and some lights and outlets. Of course, emergency backup can also be accomplished with a generator only and a grid tied only system.
3. Why would I choose an off-grid system?
If your home or property is a long way from the utility lines or you simply want independence
from the utility, then this is your best choice. In off grid systems we are sizing three things.
A. The number of solar panels (usually 9-24) determines how fast you recharge the batteries every day.
B. The amount of batteries (total Amp Hours or total KWH’s stored) determines how long you can go through the night or days of inclement weather and still have power. (Remember as soon as the sun comes up again you are recharging).
C. The size of the inverter (total watts) determines how many things you can have on in the house at the same time. (Most are 4000-8000-Watt inverters).So, there you have the three basic systems.
Now for some other common questions.
4. How do I (you) size the system we need?
For 100% offset of your needs (the typical size), you can simply look at your average KWH usage over the last 12 months. Every KW (1000 Watts of panels) makes about 1400 to 1500 kilowatt hours per year. Another way to figure is your average KWH’s per month, divided by 40 for a 300-Watt panel (each panel makes 40KWH/mo.), or 50 for a 400-Watt panel. That will give you the number
of panels or total wattage needed.
5. Should I use a roof mount or ground mount?
Here you need to look at the available space. If you have a small lot, a roof mount may be
your only option. If you have land, a ground mount is usually preferred. If your roof is small
or doesn’t face South, a ground mount is preferred. If you want to brush snow off in winter,
a ground mount is your best option The cost of each is close, because a roof mount is
under a different electrical code and requires shutoffs at each panel. Ground mounts don’t, but of course do have concrete footings and trenching. Remember Solar and shade don’t mix, so the least shady spot is always the best.
6. Will the utility company limit my size?
Yes, Sangre and IREA allow you a limit to a 10,000-Watt sized system. Xcel limits size to
produce no more than 120% of last year’s usage but you can do up to a 25KW system.
If you have a different utility, check with them.
7. Are there any rebates or tax credits?
Yes, the Federal Tax Credits of 26% for 2020 and 22% for 2021 are available.
Accelerated depreciation is available only for business systems.
8. How long does it take to pay back a typical system?
For most grid tied systems it is 7 to 9 years. For most battery-based
systems it is 12 to 14 years.
9. Are there any financing options?
Yes, there are many. Your local bank is always your first stop. In addition,
the Colorado Government through the Colorado Energy Office has the RENU loan.
Google “RENU loan” and you can apply. Many have used it successfully this year..
10. What about just buying online?
A quick answer here is “always buy local”. Online dealers sell many products,
some good and some market “has beens”. Since service and installation are
important down the road, a local, well established and experienced installer
is clearly your best bet. Buying online usually does NOT save costs.
11. What warranties are standard?
Most all solar panels have a 25-year warranty with a 40 to 50- year life expectancy.
Most inverters have a 10-year warranty with extensions available on some to 20 to
25 years. Most batteries are a 2-7 year warranty.
12. Do solar systems require permits?
Yes 2 to 3 may be required. Most counties require a permit for install and electrical
inspection. Utilities also have a permit application if it is a grid tied system.
13. How long does it take to install?
Most jobs take less than a week but waiting on inspections and final utility meter
set may add some to this.
14. Is a site visit required?
In most cases yes, because access to your house power panels and solar panel placement must be assessed. Also, we want to meet you personally.
15. How do most customers feel after having solar?
The most common response of customers who have installed solar is this,
“what was I thinking, I should have done this 10 years ago.”
More answers can be found on our website at Coloradosolarenergy.net
or by calling the office at 719-395-0191. (Buena Vista)
So, you are considering solar?
Presented by Colorado Solar Energy
Typical Roof Mounting System
What is a Smart Home
A smart home allows homeowners to control appliances, thermostats, lights, and other devices remotely using a smartphone or tablet through an internet connection. Smart homes can be set up through wireless or hardwired systems. Smart home technology provides homeowners with convenience and cost savings.
Here is some of the items more used in homes.
Powered by a virtual assistant, smart speakers are able to answer questions, set timers, reminders and alarms, as well as controlling any other smart devices in your home. If that
isn't enough, they will also play your favourite radio station, playlist or podcast
These devices establishing a heating and cooling schedule based on when you anticipate
being home to enjoy those benefits. They can detect when you’re home and when you’re
away, so that your HVAC system operates only when it’s needed.
Home security cameras
A quality home security camera great way for you to keep a watchful eye on your home,
Indoor models can help you monitor your children . Outdoor models can catch prowlers
in the act and hopefully discourage them from coming around in the first place.
Smart smoke and
carbon monoxide detectors
Conventional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are great for when someone
is in the home, maybe sleeping, they warn you with a loud sound. But a smart smoke
detector can be good for those who are not home, will sound a local alarm, but it will
also send an alert to your smartphone, if danger is detected. If planning go this route,
i would put conventional & smart in home for reliability & saftey purposes. Just my
opinion but i dont think this should be a primary item to a house, but just a back up,
one more way to help maybe to keep things safer.
A regular irrigation systems are controlled operate on a preset programmed schedule
and timers, smart irrigation controllers monitor weather, soil conditions, evaporation and
plant water use to automatically adjust the watering schedule to actual conditions of the
Is an advanced way to light your home. Smart LED bulbs contain software that connects
to an app, smart home assistant, or other smart accessory so you can automate your lights
or control them remotely, eliminating the need for traditional wall switches.
Sizing and capability
Getting things right often involves sizing systems, considering expectations and keeping an eye on your budget. You need to consider all of these things in great detail before considering any system.
Depending on the size of the home, should it be a 1000 square feet home, you may not need such a big system, costiing less, Compared to a bigger size home & Family.
Think about what you want the smart technology to do and how it can make your life easier. You dont have to do a whole smart house system, but what fits best to your needs.Like if you have a vacation home, you would like the heater come on before you arrive, so its warm when you get there. Instead of waiting hours in the cold for it to get toasty. Lots of practical ways to make your life better.
As technology advances at an alarming rate, make sure that you can easily update your smart home system. You will also want your system to be able to expand and handle any new technology or features
as they come along.
Smart Home Safety
Smart Sensors , ways to protect your home. Through smart home devices can help
homeowners maintain their risk by allowing remote monitoring, warnings and control
of a home’s systems, if they were to fail and go unnoticed, could outcome in costly
consequences. But keep in mind if the smart devise fails to work you may still come
back to a disaster. This is just one extra step of possibly keeping your home safe a
smart sensor can provide a warning if a home loses power or if the temperature in
the home decreases below or increases above a set edge.
Also, water sensor can find out unwanted water in the home notifying the homeowner
to possible leaks near appliances that use water and other areas.
Smart Security System
Different ways for home security. Smart locks systems through remotely monitor
and control home entry. When you are not present at home, then smart light bulbs
remotely control or program lights, in order to make a home seems occupied.
Smart motion lights of exterior home, come on when a movement happens or set
to come on by a timer. cameras that monitor the home, while connected movement
sensors can give warnings.
Privacy Policies or Security Issues
Its important to take the time and read the agreements for each specific device.
On how information from smart home devices are used and shared.
When purchasing a smart gadget look for potential safety and security issues.
Devices that are hard-wired to the Internet instead of those that depend on a
Wi-Fi connection have a tendency to be safer.
The Pros and Cons of Smart Homes
-Increase in Convenience
-Energy & Time Saving
-Full control on smart items by using one devise
-Cost savings in the long run
-Smart homes can be customized to your needs
-Reliable internet connection is crucial to have
-Helplessness if technology fails.
-Cost of installation
-Compatibility problems with devises
What ia a Smart Home