"Can a "bigger than life" luxury home still be eco-savvy? " you ask. Good Question! And you may already know (or think you know) the answer. Size and function matter when you are talking about environmental impact. In fact, size can be quite a lively, if not controversial subject among the eco-savvy tribes.
But as you consider the relationship between size, and "green" remember that "luxury" real estate may come in many shapes and sizes. There are small footprints with three-stories rising in the trees, there are larger footprints set neatly into the landscape.
There are homes sited to take advantage of solar benefits. And, there are those very large homes designed to take advantage of nature, or privacy, or architectural excellence; signature homes that may, in some cases, offer eco-savvy features. I'm going to tell you about one of those cases right now. This story involves an architect some refer to as enlightened.. . .
Alice Dodson, is an architect in Asheville, North Carolina. Her firm's motto is, "Sustainable Design for Healthy and Harmonious Living". Alice, who has an extensive European education in Art and Architecture and has run her own Architectural Design firm since 1991, specializes in non-toxic, energy efficient, solar, and sustainable construction. She has attracted attention for her designs that include energy efficient features even up to proportions worthy of a grand, private equestrian estate. You'll see what I mean as you read on. But back to the question:
"Bigger than life and eco-savvy?" you ask.
Well, let's look at these alternative building methods Alice incorporates in her designs :
- Post and Beam Timber construction
- AAC (Aerated Autoclaved Concrete) building systems
- DURISOL(mineralized woodchip wall form exterior wall system)
- ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) wall system
- SIP (Structural Insulated Panels)
Watching the process as one of her designs comes to (bigger than) life must be thrilling for Alice. Looking at her creations, I become convinced that she has found a better way to build, and that more and more architects and builders will be adopting her eco-savvy principles and extending them into luxury residences.
That's got to be a" good thing" as evidenced in the home designed by Alice that I visited recently. I was on a mission for my relocating clients who absolutely need room for their large family and " two horses they consider to be pets." They need to be close to medical facilities. They demand excellence in design and construction.
With four bedrooms, five full baths an amazingly cozy gourmet kitchen, and library with 28` ceilings, office, exercise room, home theater, wine cellar-humidor room, den, guest suite, radiant floor heat 2 fireplaces, on 6 acres within minutes of downtown and an exquisite building for horses adjacent to a masterfully planned 7,101 square feet, this could be the gem they seek. (Local trends in residential construction --big,custom and/or second vacation mountain homes, and an increasing use of "green" building practices are red hot in Asheville, often ranked in Top Ten Most Desirable Places to Live.)
As I visited with Alice's smiling client, the owner of the above-mentioned residence, I was struck with the flow of the interior design, a sense strength and beauty, the air quality, and the quiet all around me. How glowingly the owner of this home talked about what sustainable innovation means to her. Obviously, she had been involved in the creation of this masterpiece.
"Design matters, " she pointed out. "Besides the materials and construction practices, we enjoy a flexible design that can accommodate a multi-generational family."
Modestly, for it is a wonderful contribution to the community, the owner had not mentioned that her luxury residence also is home to her business about which a writer for a local magazine recently wrote,
"Maybe it's the fact that the . . . horses facilitate personal growth and healing retreats as well as private sessions every bit as much, probably more, than their human companions/ facilitators. Or perhaps it's the facility itself--a stunning private green home with many outdoor rooms and a spacious barn equipped with an indoor ...arena).
It could also be the setting, close to the end of a winding private road and halfway up a majestic mountain in north Asheville, with west-facing, long-range mountain views above pasture, surrounded by woods, a stream, and the peaceful sounds of nature. "
Now to my point: I believe that flexible design is a key feature in green-built homes. So when someone asks you,"Can a "bigger than life" luxury home still be eco-savvy?" ask them how the building is to be used.
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