For a long time, creating a sustainable residence meant retrofitting your heart out. In addition to the home’s cost, you also had to find a way to finance solar panels, integrate an energy monitoring system, and think about a home charging station for your EV. That’s a heavy load that some say could be lightened by thinking about energy efficiency before you buy.

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Renewablue is the first real estate company in America to make reduced energy usage part of the buy/sell process, while also improving property values.

EarthTechling recently spoke with Renewablue founder James Welch Mitchell to learn more about this unique offering, and how it’s helping Coloradans embrace clean energy technologies at home.

renewablue james mitchell home
Image (c) James Welch Mitchell

In 2011, Bloom, Nobe and Nobe found that Energy Star homes in Fort Collins originally sold for $8.66 more per square foot than non-Energy Star homes.

“Ask anyone if they would like to be more comfortable, living in a healthier home that costs less money to own, and everyone would say YES,” said local real estate broker James Mitchell. “What’s lacking is the time, money, and assistance needed to make it easy. That’s the gap that Renewablue fills.”

Mitchell was inspired to start the company through his own experience of installing a home solar panel system (pictured above) as well as what he noticed as a real estate broker for The Group Inc. “I was offering free energy audits to all my clients after they purchased a home, and I had only one taker over a two-year period where I helped a several dozen families buy houses. It got me thinking about why no one was taking me up on the offer,” said Mitchell.

Among other things, Renewablue gives prospective home buyers (and current owners) access to a certified energy-efficiency adviser. An affiliated business of the Group Real Estate, it’s a sort of concierge service that helps take renewable energy upgrades from after thought to priority.

When a house goes through Renewablue, the focus is on the fundamentals. Mitchell and his team begin with reducing energy needs through insulation, air sealing, installation of Energy Star appliances and a Nest smart thermostat to ensure that efficiency is at a high level before moving on to renewables.

After that, the  goal is to help homeowners determine their energy goals, choose the best payment option for the right technology, and manage the upgrade work so that families can spend more time enjoying life and less time fussing over utility bills.

“Renewablue is a simple tweak to the real estate industry that has been a long time coming.  No other real estate company is doing anything like this…yet,” Mitchell said. “We in Northern Colorado are in the right place, at the right time, to be able to collectively shift the way people buy and sell homes, nationwide.”

Ultimately, Mitchell would like to see Renewablue adopted by all real estate companies. To learn more, visit or send an email to

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