The Gatehouse will be the new home for the Ralston Creek Cohousing community. We envision a 3 story condominium style building with single-story individual units for 20-22 families plus our shared common house with underground parking and an elevator.
Advantages of Living in the Gatehouse:
The Gatehouse will create a center of cohousing in the Geos neighborhood. And it offers lots of advantages to those of us who will be living there.
We can buy smaller units.
We will have the best of both personal and shared living spaces.
Architects with cohousing expertise will help us design our space for easy socializing. We’ll have personal living quarters right next to common areas designed to make socializing easy and fun. With a courtyard in the middle, the common rooms on the first floor, gardens in the open space to the south of us, and parks to the east and west of us, having fun together was never so easy!
Our footprint will be lighter.
While we have more amenities, we will share them, making our footprint even lighter in a neighborhood of small footprints.
We can provide a center for cohousing at Geos.
Once we are established as a physical center of cohousing, we plan to invite other households in the neighborhood into cohousing, with the Gatehouse providing a physical center. Geos will be a walkable, livable neighborhood, with the Gatehouse leading the way!
Having multiple units in one building is more efficient for retaining heat.
Sharing a building reduces the percentage of exterior walls for each unit.
Geos is just finishing up the first phase of building, with our Gatehouse as the capstone of that phase. As the later phases are built, more co-housing is planned, which will make Geos an exciting and fun neighborhood. We think it’s the best place to live in all of Colorado! Arvada Mayor, Marc Williams cut the ribbon at the Geos Grand Opening, where we celebrated this unique community!
Construction of Geos moves apace. The Gatehouse will finish up Phase 1 of the project.
Ralston Creek Cohousing Plan
Our Gatehouse will be built in the GEOS Neighborhood in Arvada, Colorado on the south side of West 68th place between Juniper Court and Joyce Street. The parcel ID is: 30-011-04-013.
To the east, the building is open to Joyce Street. To the west will be the East Square Park, and to the south is “The Beach”. “The Beach” is a floodway for Ralston Creek. Beyond “The Beach” to the south is the Ralston Creek Trail and Ralston Creek.
The Gatehouse is in the original design for the GEOS Neighborhood as a cohousing condominium building.
The Gatehouse Building
We have been done some conceptual design work to see how we might fit our lives into the Gatehouse. This design is preliminary. Just about everything inside the building is flexible, and we expect them to change as we move forward. However, the shape of the building and the exterior walls are pretty well fixed.
There will be limited underground parking, wired to charge electric vehicles.
The ground floor will include common areas, including guest rooms, kitchen, dining, and whatever else the community decides. It will also have several private residential units. All units, common and private open to the central courtyard. The courtyard and the walk ways are like a shared front porch.
The second and third floors are private residential units. We are planning on a mix of sizes, targeting 500, 750, 900, and 1,100 square feet. We are not limited to these sizes at this time. There will be an elevator that will run from the basement garage to all floors. There will also be stairs between all of the floors.
The Gatehouse Viewed from the South
Ralston Creek Cohousing Core Technologies
We intend to live in the Gatehouse, generating more power from our rooftop solar panels than we consume. We will be connected to the electrical grid, putting power on when we generate excess, and pulling power from the grid as necessary. The technologies and practices we intend to use are already being used in the existing GEOS neighborhood.
Start with a tightly built, well insulated building. A typical home, built to code, will leak 35% to 50% of its air to the outside in one hour, under natural conditions. Our target is to have 4% or less of air leakage to the outside. Your new home will have:
- Triple pane fiberglass windows.
- A high efficiency Heat Pump hot water heater.
- A condensing clothes dryer (no vent to the outside, the water goes down the drain).
While it’s great to keep all of the hot air in the home in the winter, we still need fresh air to breathe. So we add an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system that brings in fresh air. The ERV system uses integrated pollutant sensors to detect levels of carbon dioxide and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in your unit. When the limits of either are exceeded, the system brings fresh air into the home while exhausting stale air. A heat exchanger in the ERV uses the heat from the stale air being exhausted to bring the incoming fresh air to the temperature of the outgoing air, saving valuable heat in the winter and coolness in the summer.
You may notice the ERV fan coming on when you have a lot of people in your home and the carbon dioxide levels are increasing. You can monitor and control the system through the included online interface. The monitoring and improvement of indoor air quality is a significant additional health benefit to the home.
Heating and Cooling
Both heating and cooling will be done with a ground source heat pump. Prior to construction, we will drill shared geothermal wells to ground water. Because the ground water is between 48 and 55 degrees year around, small, efficient heat pumps will be used to heat, or cool with high efficiency.
The roof and balconies will shade the south facing windows in the summer when the sun is high, but allow the winter sun to warm the south facing windows, when the sun is low.
Imagining Our New Home
The Virtual Solar Home Tour, Finally! Here is the virtual tour we tried to stream on April 18. The technology beat us that day, but today we triumphed and we have posted it for you. Please send us your questions in the comments!
Posted by Ralston Creek CoHousing on Friday, May 8, 2020
We did a virtual tour of an existing townhouse at Geos, using it to show what we think a 1-bedroom unit at the Gatehouse might look like. We show a little of the neighborhood, introduce the technology that makes the home carbon neutral, and present the design elements of a beautiful home.
At the end of the video we mention posting questions. You can do that at our Facebook site, where we posted this originally, http://www.facebook.com/RalstonCreekCoHo.