Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog

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New Homes— the Good, the Bad and the Ecosystem

WHAT BELONGS HERE? ashevile area ecosystem and the developerYOU can enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Following consumer demand, or just because they are smart eco-friendly developers and building contractors who've contacted me through Active Rain, have let it be known that they're seriously considering the value of healthy-built homes. So, in this fifth post in a series that looks at sustainability and the undeniable trend toward consumer demand for attractive, green-built homes, I want to say a word or two about New Homes- the "Good", the "Bad" and how this might all come back to an ancient notion of respecting the Ecosystem.  

Ecosystem  

As a real estate professional, I'm always interested in what's new on the horizon that will bring satisfaction to my clients. So this ‘whole systems" concept as it applies to building and real estate development has caught my attention. More and more clients are saying they are more attracted to homes and neighborhoods where the developer /contractors have tried to respect their building sites as being a part of the ecosystem. 

And I can see why.  Having a builder with a depth of knowledge and consideration for what's around the building site has definite appeal. I myself (and possibly you) would prefer to invest in a home where the context was a part of the plan and the building site is respected as a special and unique place rather than just a place to put a house.

  I look for telltale clues around the property that herald the work of an eco-savvy builder

  • native plants
  • natural landscaping
  • paved only as much driveway as ordinances require
  • saved topsoil
  • saved trees
  • possibly a small footprint. 

I look for certifications: HealthyBuilt, LEED, Energy Star 

 In an eco-community, and there is a growing number of these here in Asheville, being green-smart includes thinking about the quality, longevity, and  health-wise features of a new home (or remodel ) AND the entire context...the neighborhood and the ecosystem.

So I want to know... what home would YOU construct on the property shown in the photo, and how would you subdivide this land? Be sure to enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Copyright © 2008 All Rights Reserved.  Join the conversation at the Eco-All-Stars Group  where AR Members "Cycle in" to the Latest in Trendy Green News &. Subscribe to Greenolina's  "Green Wheels" BLOG.

__~o
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Comments

JaneAnne, I really the way you blog to builders who want to make a difference.  Of all of the posts I read on Active Rain, yours really make me think about reducing my footprint on the planet.  Now, I feel like Big Foot!  But it's getting better!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (Redfin) almost 12 years ago

Hi JaneAnne,

I am reading this challenge with interest! I am curious...how many parcels are being considered after the land is being subdivided? How many acres are there to work with? Is this property close to transportation lines? Will the Eco Community have a nice mix of retail, mom and pop shops, maybe a neighborhood coffee spot where I can meet you for morning tea?

I'm a little curious if this is going all the way to the mountains in the background!!! It looks like blue flowers in the foreground - what are they? You have a lot of thought going into this one!!!

Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) almost 12 years ago

Such good values need to be spread globally.  You can be proud of your part to make Asheville a leader.

Posted by Arlene Brown almost 12 years ago

As homeowners' are starting to take a closer look at shrinking their carbon footprint and engaging a sustainable lifestyle creating green home options is key. There is now a new sustainable answer, Prefab homes. No, this does not mean mobile homes, but there are a multitude of companies creating smart, attractive and energy efficient homes with a lot of style. Check out this article from the Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/economy/ci_9365484 and also http://livemodern.com/resources/directories/prefabhouses/ has a list of companies designing and building these types of homes. 

Posted by Aaron Hartselle (The Devonshire Company) almost 12 years ago

janeAnne - you have to give us a bit more information, is it just one house? a development?

But I will start off by saying that the certifications scare me a little bit because of the regulation factors behind these.  I look at green conscious builders as those that not only use green materials but also those that use native materials, are really concerned with minimizing not only construction debris but where this will be discarted.  I will add that getting those certifications is a move in the right direction though.

Local materials: woods, stone, etc.   Picture windows taking advantage of the views as well as natural air circulation, solar panels, wind mills if possible, water wells....that should be a good start.

Posted by Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate (Majestic Properties) almost 12 years ago

Pat~

Interesting isn't it how the practice of real estate can inform innovative decsion-making? And I bet the next home you build will be amazing.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Mary~

I'm just thinking that you are right...this is a CHALLENGE..

.just looking at this acreage opens up all kinds of possiblities for eco-design and development plans. . The photo is one I took of conservation land. 2,000 AC. About 200AC has been set aside for green-built homes. These will NOT be clustered homes, but will be placed on 20AC +/- parcels as mini horse farms where horses and riders will share the hand-formed trails throughout the rest of the acreage...

but there are any number of large tracts like this (Hickory Nut Forest, for example...on about 1,000 AC of conservation partnered LAND ) where eco-developers are setting aside smaller lots so that green-built homes will be clustered in a conservation neighborhood..

I am wondering how would YOU choosse to design the acreage

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Arlene~

Thanks for the wise words and the kind words, as well. I am excited about the possiblities for our clients...and for US, too!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Aaron~

Interesting you should mention this. I had a conversation over lunch just yesterday with a person here in Asheville who is considering green prefabs for her clusterd in-town eco-development. I will be sure to send her your link. THX!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Ines~ 

Oh..it is just an ECO-All-Star Group Challenge ...

this month to see what art form/ land scupture appeals to the readers...

I love the idea you present... "Local materials: woods, stone, etc.   Picture windows taking advantage of the views as well as natural air circulation, solar panels, wind mills if possible, water wells....that should be a good start..."

to which I add a resounding

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

LOL!!  I knew it sounded like one of your challenges....that's what I get for not coming to AR as often as I'd like!

Posted by Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate (Majestic Properties) almost 12 years ago

janeAnne-My initial inclination is to do an area of slightly higher density. say 1/2 acre lots while leaving the remaining area for open space and community equestrian activities. What about farming? Any potential for growing food in the area? What is the soil like?

Posted by Pete Jalbert, R(S) (The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. ) almost 12 years ago

janeAnne,  :)  I love it.  The opportunity to take one of your awesome pictures and make it our own.

Well, I was thinking exactly like Pete.  As a matter of fact I was thinking just the other day about this exact topic.  200 acres would make a fantastic but small acreage community with the option of 1-2 acre homesites.  Each one could have a rain water capture systems with organic gardens.  But how about a 'common' composting area?  It takes a lot of stuff to make a good composting area and can take up a lot of room.  So, why not a common area?  :) 

It looks like there is a ravine or river down behind there that could make a great picnic area.  With all of the gorgeous scenery, definitely minimal impact/footprint on the ground to help keep the area permeable. 

I've had a handful of people in lower price ranges wanting composting/garden areas, it's just hard to find a space large enough in an affordable price range.  That's why I was thinking common areas by the way.  :)  Think how neat it would be to have cluster type communities in the middle of a city that had features like that for the homeowners.  It would bring back the neighborly feeling for sure!

 

Posted by Stephanie Edwards-Musa, knitwit at thred UP (thredUP.com) almost 12 years ago

janeAnne- This would never go over in this town! Composting is illegal and the horse manure along is a huge problem on our waterways and eco system. Funny, you write your code as Chupa Chupa to Ines above, everytime I see that word I have to laugh because in Latvian it means POOP!

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) almost 12 years ago

Ines~

You can check out the DESIGN CHALLENGE at the
Eco-All-Star Group (now with over 650 members) and we all would be THRILLED to see the 2,000 AC envisioned as an eco-community by YOU!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Pete~

SOIL ranges from superb bottom land and then to meadow/pastureland and then to hilly/with some rock...surrounding land was a TREE FARM...there once was an apple orchard within half a mile of the extremities of this 2,000 AC tract......think of toxic chemicals and include that in the design plan...(??)

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Stephanie~

I'm using your beginning "sketch" as an example for the
ECO-All-Stars JUNE CHALLENGE... Thanks for your envisioning and...BTW...it's 2,000 AC...so possibly e x p a n d your vision -)

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

I haven't heard too much about green building in our area but I'm sure it's around the corner.

Posted by Kathy Anderson, Arizona Homes For Sale, Sun City Grand (Arizona Luxury & Lifestyle Living) almost 12 years ago

I see homes that are solar, wind and water powered as possible. 2 acres go with each lot with 1/2 an acre used for home and living, 1/2 acre for small gardens and 1 acre left natural. The outside is muted in coloring or shakers to blend into the landscape. All conservation materials and construction must be implemented.

Roads are dirt or gravel (I know some of you say it must have pavement but this is my vision, haha) Naturally growing areas will be on all sides and a community park area in the center.

I am ready to move in :.) Thanks janeAnne

Posted by Leslie Godbold, Motivation Speaker, Radio host "Positively Living" (WZGM AM1350 Independent Asheville Radio) almost 12 years ago

I could see some sort of cluster developement with open spaces.   I think the footprint of the homes could be smaller if one were to design multi-level style homes with lots of light!  The views of the mountains would be awesome.  I would have some "natural" walking paths throughout the developement and trails for riding bicycles as well. Perhpas a play area for younger kids, and if possible a swimming area.  It certainly has a lot of potential. 

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 12 years ago

Jane Anne,

I would develop this land very lightly.  Really I wouldn't do anything, if it were mine, but I see your post saying that 2,000 acres have been set aside for green built homes.  So, a very lightly placed prefab home (I didn't say modular or mobile) on a sonotube foundation is what I would place on that land.  I would not touch the landscaping around the home and would let nature take it's course.  Perhaps something like Zero House....

Posted by A S almost 12 years ago

I'm glad you are so unabashedly advocating for Mother Nature!

Posted by Don Silver almost 12 years ago

Janeanne:

I guess I would just build one home per 20 acres, about 1500-1800 sq.ft, important living areas south facing, made of stone and local (sustainable or recycled) wood. Keep spot for gardening and viewsheds clear but let nature reclaim most of the property so that it blends in with the preserved acreage. Kind of a minimalist approach to a housing development.

Of course I am not worrying about the numbers crunching to ascertain if this is feasible. But you did not say anything about that.

Posted by Bill Westel, ECO (Eco-Steward Realty) almost 12 years ago

Most builders will subdivide as much as the law will allow.  What a beautiful view and lot

Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) almost 12 years ago

janeAnne, I could do a lot with 2000 acres.  :)  Thanks for letting me know.

Posted by Stephanie Edwards-Musa, knitwit at thred UP (thredUP.com) almost 12 years ago

janeAnne - I have a thought that is probable not to popular with the developer of this property, but here goes. When the wild west was opening up in the 1800 a home steader would go out and walk their property and chose the site that on the land that would be best for their home. So I suggest that instead of just dividing up the land into parcels,  the property gets walked and pick the number of areas that would make good homesites for conservation and aesthic views.

This methodoligy would make better sense for maxium preservation of tha site instead of putting the maxium number of homes on the site.

Honestly, I would love to be part of a project like this. You have the potential to make use of a large parcel but do it a responsible way. One line from your post struck me the most: "where the developer /contractors have tried to respect their building sites as being a part of the ecosystem".

Great Post.  Brian

Posted by Brian Sharpe, Tucson EcoBroker (Tierra Antigua Realty) almost 12 years ago

dear janeAnne,

it is great to see you providing a forum to link these progressive ideas together before going out prematurely and just doing something.

this dialog creates a pregnant pause for all to think and to deconstruct old ideas into present possibilities.

In addition to meeting energy efficiency criteria, rethinking ways to minimize a home's square footage and yet feel just as free is of pressing

interest if not critical necessity. i'm going to hear the keynote speaker, Susan Susanka, bestselling author of The Not So Big House, at the Mountain

Green Sustainability Conference at Warren Wilson College <www.mountaingreenwnc.org> on June 25th to learn more. 

as always, many thanks!

linda

 

Posted by lilarsen almost 12 years ago

Hmmmm,

 

Well written post; and thought provoking.  I am happy to say that I dont have the slightest idea what a great and responsible development would look like.  The wonderful reason for this is that the green housing market has grown by such gigantic leaps and bounds the last few years that the possibilities are endless.  Thanks for asking the right questions.

 

Gabe

Posted by Gabe Swinney Asheville New Urbanism (Gabe Swinney) almost 12 years ago

Kathy~

I'm not sure how you're "sure it's around the corner". but no
matter how ya' know it, I am sure you probably are right, as all the stats point to a huge increase in consumer demand for all things GREEN...especially their homes. =)

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Hi Leslie at Asheville Stagers

Leave it to a professional stager to envision a huge
chunk o' land so beautifully. THX. Be sure to enter your "Land Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Joan~ 

You have an artist's eye, I'm thinking. As I read your comments, i could see what you were seeing. Be sure to enter your "Land Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Andrew~ 

Like so many other real estate professionals, you have an eye for design, it seems to me. I really like what you had to say...especially about the Zero house concept.QWe are currently representing an entire eco-neighborhood-community where the goal is to become a NetZero Energy community!

 Be sure to enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Don~

I'm kind of blushing..unabashedly. How that is possible, I do not know.  Hey.. you can, too...enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Bill~

I'm particularly drawn to your idea of spatial planning , footprint, acreage, etc.  

Be sure to enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Green Building Group can help you, how can we help? Please take a look at my website. http://www.greenbuildinggroup.net

Jack

Posted by Jack Climer (Jack Climer Realty, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Katrina~

HoHo...I'm LOL. Now all I need to do is check my Latvian lexicon before adding  graphics, eh?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Russ~

Possibly, as our clients and consumers learn about the advantages of eco-design, development and building, we will see a change in what is the standard. Certainly here in Asheville, we are seeing this trend. I expect Michigan would  do well to have this opption available to new home buyers.  Do you think it could spur interest and a boost in the economy there?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

YOU can enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Everyone~

Here is an example of a much requested plat map...2,000+ AC.....and ..YOU can enter YOUR "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

 

Good Luck!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Stephanie~

I canhardly wait to see what kind of a Plan you come up with. i bet it will be full of sustainable features and also full of benefits for alll parties.

Enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Brian~ 

WOW! Now this is a "recycled"  innovation you suggest..." the property gets walked and pick the number of areas that would make good homesites for conservation and aesthic views...."

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Linda~

You  commented, " this dialog creates a pregnant pause for all to think and to deconstruct old ideas into present possibilities...."

I hadn't thought of that way, but you have brought a big smile to my face.  Given that...I'd love to see what you would do with this 2,000 AC... and/or a smaller/infill project...say on 5 or 6 AC...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Gabe~ 

You are welcome...and just for the "exercise"..I'd love to see  what your eco-development would look like. YOU can enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest! 

How about it?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Jack~ 

Your site mentions that you are, " a Construction Management Company, GBG will involve you in the entire process as we look at various option and costs..."..I'd love to see  what your own dream of an eco-development would look like. YOU can enter your "Land Design and Development Sketch" in the ECO-All-Stars June Challenge Contest! 

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

janeAnne -- you are always coming up with interesting stuff!

Posted by Colleen Irwin, Creative Real Estate Solutions... (Retired) almost 12 years ago

Colleen~

I like to keep it interesting. Many times it occurs to me that designing the way our neighborhoods 'play" with the LAND is an art form.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

What a gorgeous site.  Is "nothing" the correct answer? 

Posted by Stanton Homes, Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina (Stanton Homes - New Home Builder) almost 12 years ago

I sure wouldn't like to run roughshod over the native plant species, such as, jack in the pulpit, or a Venus fly trap, or even a trillium or blood root.

Posted by John Narrin (ECO-Steward Realty) almost 12 years ago

Hi janeAnne~,

Every since in met you when you took the RLI Land 101 class I teach in Asheville 2004 I have never know you not be be right on the cutting edge of things.

We all need to follow your lead..I someday will finish my EcoRealtor Designation as well...

Love your work and you too!!!

 

Lou Jewell

Accredited Land Consultant

Posted by Lou Jewell ALC, ALC (United Country Real Estate - Sutton Properties) almost 12 years ago

Penny~

\Oh! / I totally can understand your thought on this! The "compromise" is to find a place in the design plan where the sense of place remains in tact...where "nothing" seems to be  (or is not) disturbed and where the viewshed and topography are honored.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

JT~

You commented, " sure wouldn't like to run roughshod over the native plant species, such as, jack in the pulpit, or a Venus fly trap, or even a trillium or blood root...." and I had not focused on preserving the native species...and how to do that as part of the land planning. Would you recommend a biological survey prior to any disturbance of the land?

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

Lou~

Coming from a  teacher whose Land 101 Class experience (and it sure was an experience) is with me to this day...and has inspired me and the work we do here in the mountains....your comment is a great compliment. THX~!!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 12 years ago

FINALLY... the ecosystem being thought of in the development process!  What a concept!  I am glad it is being written about, and hopefully this common sense will keep spreading.  Thank you!!!

Not only will our land be better taken care of when it's taken into consideration during the building process, but the house itself and final product is always that much better too.  Can't wait for this notion to catch on.

Writing about this and spreading the world is a HUGE step towards a better world, and greener real estate.

Posted by Rhodes Waite almost 12 years ago

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