Michael Markel, founder, Markel Homes

Markel Homes is selective about what goes inside the homes they build in Boulder County but also what’s outside – this practice can be narrowed down to three words – design, sustainability and diversity.

Markel builds a large array of product types and styles- condos, triplex, duplex, single-family, tiny homes, and custom homes.

“It is important that we have something for everyone. This is unique for a small home builder,” said Kate Clement, director of sales and marketing for Markel Homes Construction Co., a family-owned business based in Boulder.

“We want to incorporate not only the style and design of the home, but also the entire neighborhood as a whole. So it’s important for us to look at designed communities that have access to trails and open space, mountain views and nearby amenities, including shops, restaurants and services,” said Clement.

The developer and builder constructs cost-efficient green homes, incorporating energy-saving features and systems that help conserve water and improve indoor air quality. For this work, the U.S. Green Building Council named the company as one of more than 40 U.S. recipients of the 2021 USGBC Regional Leadership Award, presented in June to organizations, projects and individuals worldwide that employ green building and sustainable practices.

Markel Homes builds each of its homes with the buyer in mind.

“Following a difficult year, it is truly inspiring to recognize our green-building leaders that have continued their commitment to green building and sustainable communities while adapting to the changing environments around us,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and chief executive officer of USGBC, according to a press statement. “The 2021 USGBC Leadership Award awardees have improved our world through the power of green building, and it is their contributions and work that have helped our communities stay safe and healthy.”

The USGBC has 10,000 member organizations with a portfolio of more than 106,000 LEED commercial projects worldwide — LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the standard for evaluating a building’s energy efficiency and ability to reduce carbon emissions.

“They recognize exceptional examples of sustainable leadership,” Clement said. “It takes a village, and we’re proud to be recognized that our vision, leadership and team commitment has been fundamental to the evolution of the green-building industry.”

Markel Homes, founded in 1973 by Michael Markel, makes energy efficiency and Energy Star certification a priority for the homes and neighborhoods it builds.

“We’ve been building green since before green building was a thing,” Clement said. “We’re authentic. We’re innovative, and we like to be different. We’re always looking ahead to new trends.”

Markel Homes’ projects feature a long list of certifications from LEED, Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS and the Zero Energy Ready Home program from the U.S. Department of Energy that recognize energy efficiency, improved indoor comfort, cost savings and lowered maintenance requirements.

“We build smaller scale homes that decrease the carbon footprint without sacrificing style or quality,” Clement said.

Markel Homes built 79 inclusive and multigenerational LEED-certified homes in 2020, including condominiums, townhomes, duplexes, single-family homes, tiny homes and custom homes, designed for first-time homebuyers, families, empty nesters and retirees.

Markel Homes has five active communities with a variety of home types in each neighborhood, including Blue Sage and Silver Creek in Lafayette, West Grange in Longmont, North End in Louisville, and Niwot Hills in Niwot, plus two to three new communities that will be launched in 2022.

The move-in-ready homes in Longmont and Lafayette, along with those in Louisville are built with sustainability at the forefront of their designs to conserve water and natural resources.

The homes are constructed out of environmentally friendly building materials and include Energy Star appliances, high-performance HVAC, windows and insulation systems. The homes are wrapped in a water-resistant sheath and have high-efficiency furnaces and energy-saving Nest thermostats. Homeowners are encouraged to use automatic drip irrigation systems and low-water plants native to the state as further energy-saving measures.

“Each component of the home is designed to improve the home, the earth and our customer’s wellbeing,” Clement said.

Markel Homes builds each of its homes and neighborhoods with the buyer in mind, gathering feedback from focus groups and customer input to design and build even better products, Clement said.

“Green is important to our customers and audience here in Boulder County,” Clement said. “It’s a very conscientious community. People pay a lot of attention to health, wellness and fitness, and sustainability falls in there. We want to build what people value here.”

Markel Homes aims to build 75 to 100 homes a year and at any given time has three to four neighborhoods under construction — since its founding, it has built more than 25 neighborhoods.

To create its communities, the company purchases land, designs a master plan and neighborhood, and then builds the homes or sells the lots to a list of approved builders. The focus is primarily on residential homes with some commercial, and the construction is all new.

“Just walking through our local communities, the Markel brand and style would definitely stand out,” Clement said. “We’re not a national homebuilder, and we do not build traditional cookie-style homes. We’re also not a production builder. We don’t just crank out homes. We are constantly designing and perfecting our homes to provide the best to our customers.”

This goal goes back to the company’s roots and the vision of Markel, president of the company. In 1969, Markel left his native New Jersey to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he earned a degree in international studies four years later. His summer job as a framer got him interested in design and homebuilding, and he started his company the year he graduated.

“He’s incredibly passionate about design and that’s really what drove him to start this business,” Clement said. “The design of each home down to every interior design feature is authentic. We put a lot of additional time and thought into our designs to make our products different, innovative and authentic.”

For more information on Markel Homes, visit MarkelHomes.com

By Shelley Widhalm, At Home Colorado
Photos courtesy Markel Homes