MCSTAIN NEIGHBORHOODS' COMMITMENT to sustainability has long been evident in large-scale redevelopment projects such as Stapleton and Lowry, and, more recently, in its introduction of solar homes to TNDs in and around Denver.

Now the Louisville, Colo.–based builder/ developer is taking its green ethos to the grass-roots level with the launch of the McStain Collection, a scattered site–infill venture that will compete with smaller builders for teardown projects in the city's most venerable, old-growth neighborhoods.

It's an unorthodox move for a company that closed more than 300 homes in 2006 and ranks among the nation's top 200 builders, but one that CEO Eric Wittenberg sees as consistent with McStain's founding principle (and tagline) of “Building a Better World.”

“Resale has always been our largest competition,” he observes. “Our thought is that if we ramp up to doing 10 to 15 of these infill homes annually, we'll be able to eliminate one greenfield project per year.”

The first five homes in the pilot are spec houses, but the long-term “urban intensification” strategy anticipates fee-for-service contracts with homeowners wanting to teardown and build new. New homes in the collection have been designed to meet specific setback and height limit requirements on the standard 50-foot-by-125-foot lots found in older Denver neighborhoods.

With its portfolio of traditional Craftsman, Tudor, farmhouse, and colonial elevations, the McStain Collection honors history, but also improves upon it with homes that are Colorado Built Green, Energy Star–rated, and, in some cases, armed with three-kilowatt photovoltaic systems that feed power back into the grid.

“We feel we can bring something to the marketplace that no one else is offering,” says Brian Tippett, director of neighborhood land management for McStain. “We aren't just doing one or two houses a year. We have expertise in sustainability, we stand behind our product, and we have a strong track record.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Denver, CO.