Barring the notable exception that it sits in close proximity to NORAD, the subdivision looks like pretty much every other suburban creature built in the last 10 years. Winding roads dead-end in cul-de-sacs surrounded by three and four-bedroom homes, their paint colors most likely named after desert pastels like "sage" and "sandstone taupe."
Look a little closer, though, and you may be more impressed. The Tierra Vista military housing facility at Peterson Air Force Base defies a lot of stereotypes, starting with the houses themselves. Unlike most housing for active duty military, the emphasis in this community is on sustainability and smart energy usage.
Outside, the ethos is no different. Xeriscaped landscaping aims to cut water consumption by 50 percent, while 500 mature trees have been saved and transplanted onto nearby Air Force Bases. A dog park and community center (complete with children's rec-room and full pool) also up the appeal.
The Tierra Vista project at nearby Schriever Air Force Base features much of the same energy efficient construction. "This is the best housing we have ever lived in," said Debbie Goudy, the wife of a Senior Master Sgt. at Schriever, in an 'Inside Schriever' article. "If they would let me, I would stay here forever."
Is this the panacea of suburbia? No, but it defies a lot of our preconceived ideas about living on a base. And if decreasing our reliance on foreign oil is a top priority for domestic security, it's awfully nice to see the Air Force leading by example.
To wit: in 2011 the Air Force Academy began generating 11 percent of its own electricity via a 30-acre solar array on campus.
PHOTOS of the uber efficient housing at Peterson and Schriever Air Force Base: