Innovation on display at Parade of Homes

RICH LADEN Updated: August 4, 2011 at 12:00 am • Published: August 4, 2011

Homebuilding has slumped in recent years, but enthusiasm on the part of builders and other housing industry members to showcase their latest products remains in full force.

They’ll be on display Friday through Aug. 21 during the 57th annual Parade of Homes, which is sponsored by the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs and several other businesses and organizations.

This year’s event features 33 homes by 25 builders, an increase from last year’s 23 homes and 17 builders. The uptick in participation indicates builders, designers, subcontractors and other industry members are eager to demonstrate what they have to offer — even as they face a tough housing market, said Kyle Campbell, the HBA’s board president.

“They’ve sort of waited over the last couple of years, and they’re just now feeling like this was the right time to come out with some new products and some new models to hopefully ride on an increase in the market,” Campbell said. The pace of homebuilding in Colorado Springs and El Paso County has picked up each of the last two months, although year-to-date activity still trails that of 2010.

While the parade showcases new homes, it’s also meant to show off the products inside them — providing attendees with ideas about the latest styles on kitchen cabinets, lighting, flooring and other amenities and accessories, Campbell said.

Among the innovations at this year’s parade home sites: The first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified home, which was built by G.J. Gardner Homes Northgate in Gold Hill Mesa, southeast of U.S. 24 and 21st Street on Colorado Springs’ west side. The custom home features a geothermal-sourced heating and cooling system, along with roof-mounted solar panels.

A custom home by Comito Building and Design includes lighting, music, security and other features that can be controlled by an iPhone or iPad. A home built by Classic Cos. has been decorated entirely with furniture, art, drapery and accessories from Pottery Barn, also a first.

Eleven of this year’s homes are priced below $300,000; a pair of them go for more than $1 million. The Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust and Habitat for Humanity will display homes designed for lower-income families. The Habitat home generates electricity and hot water via solar power.

“It’s obviously been a prolonged slow period for the market,” Campbell said. “But it has appeared to stabilize and hopefully what we’ll continue to see over the next couple of months — while it will be a very nominal increase — a positive trend continuing for new home sales and permitting. So, I think everybody is viewing this as the right time to sort of focus on the new, the better, the improved, especially from a technology and energy efficiency standpoint.”
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Contact the writer at 636-0228

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