Colorado – A pilgrimage to the Lovins home

After a stressful progress through the enormous Denver Airport, collection of the hired car and first drive in the USA on the wrong side of the road just before midnight, we found our B+B in Boulder and had a good night's sleep.

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast with the other guests before setting off to drive to Snowmass for a tour of the Lovins house and previous headquarters of the Rocky Mountain Institute. Being a beautiful sunny day, we drove up through the spectacular Colorado River valley and wondered at the grand beauty of the place. We had lunch at Glenwood Springs before taking a left to drive to Snowmass.

The Lovins house was just as I had pictured - except it was sunny which allowed me to see the beautiful garden setting it is in, and it seemed to be a little smaller than I had imagined…!

We were greeted by Lionel Bony, Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist from RMI, and Michael Kinsley, Senior Consultant (Communities and Campuses), who were our guides for the tour. The house has recently been remodeled, after 28 years of operation. I understand the updates were mainly cosmetic. The basic principles of passive design, highly insulated and grounded building envelope, high performance glazing a sunspace/tropical garden, and PVs/solar thermal panels are still much in place and working as intended. The use of natural timber and stone walls inside adds greatly to the beauty - it was wonderful to see such an important icon and find that it really does work!

We were pleased to meet Judy Hill Lovins - Amory's new wife. She is a photographer whose beautiful work was on display in parts of the house, and she was kind enough to spend time talking with the tour group about how great her new kitchen was!

After the tour, we drove to the new offices which are located at the Windstar Land Conservancy about one mile away. We then took the back road to Aspen which is a delightful town, with great ski hills behind, before driving back to Boulder via the Independence Pass. This took us right up and over the Rocky Mountains where we could witness even more spectacular views with the beauty of the changing colours of autumn. The sun continued to shine and we felt very privileged to be able to enjoy such a day of beauty and delight.




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