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Can a "Luxury" Home also be "Green"?

Can a "Luxury" Home also be "Green"?   asheville luxury green homeIf you think that it is possible for a home to be both a "luxury home" and  eco-savvyyou are one person who has given some thought to how the building is to be used.

Flexible design a key feature in green-built homes. Size and function matter when you are talking about environmental impact. In fact, size can be quite a lively, if not controversial subject with our green buyer clients and eco-friendly builders and developers.

Can a "Luxury" home also be "Green"?

As you consider  your answer, you may want to take into account the relationship between size and  sustainability.

After all, some people will tell you that  "luxury" real estate may come in many shapes and sizes. There are small footprints with three-stories rising in the trees and lots of square footage, there are larger footprints set neatly into the landscape.  

And then , too, you have to think about the green features. 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.

 Can a "Luxury" Home also be "Green"? YOU DECIDE.

I'm going to tell you about one of those cases right now; one that involves Amazing Views, Green Design & Ideal Location . I am going to tell you this story from the point of view of the artist/builder, a custom, eco-informed builder  in Asheville, NC.  And I will share a list of green features so that you can decide if this home, considered by many to be "luxury home" is eco-savvy...

What the green builder will tell you: "The home takes advantage of desirable Southern exposure, a passive solar design, and a large covered deck which maximizes the visual connection to nature on 3.5 acres of pristine forest with commanding year round mountain views.

The home was built using green design principles ensuring energy efficiency, health and low maintenance while providing an elegant ambiance and a close relationship with the surrounding environment. The home was sited to maximize the mountain views and the preservation of the existing hardwood trees and the flowering rhododendrons. Hiking trails and the best that nature has to offer await right at your back door [and there is ]  a beautiful and edible landscape featuring strawberries, blueberries, fig & cherry trees." 


 Green Building Attributes: 1. Passive solar design 2. low maintenance exterior 3. highly insulated exterior walls and roof 4. high efficiency variable speed heat pump 5. recycled kitchen cabinets 6. milled on-site cleared and wind-falling trees 7. recycled greenhouse plastic vapor barrier under cement pad 8. natural boric acid termite treatment 9. foiled faced rigid insulation on roof 10. low VOC sub-floor and interior paint 11. low maintenance native and eatable landscape 12. landscape rocks (walls and paths) were obtain on-site and within 1 miles of building site. 13. Over 90% of lighting is fluorescent 14. Grided and finished cement floor adds thermal mass and low maintenance 15. tight high quality Hurd windows 

Design: The main objective was to preserve the mature hardwood trees and rhododendrons while taking advantage of the southern exposure with good "green" and passive solar design. A significant design element is the large south facing sliding glass doors in the great room and bedrooms. This design configuration brings daylight deep into the house, connects the interior space to native hardwood trees, offer pristine views of the mountains, while the southern exposure allows for solar energy gain.

The kitchen, living, and dining areas are one big space with large areas of glazing on south side. These windows are protected during the hot summer months by the mature deciduous trees, adding to the house's overall energy efficiency. The north and west face has minimum window area. The color palette (bronze) of the exterior surfaces are dark, absorbing solar energy during the winter months. The abundance of hardwood trees around the house keep it cool during the warmer seasons while also maintaining complete privacy. The net result is extremely low energy use with an average utility bill of less than $50/month. All domestic energy demands are 100% electric supplemented with a wood burning stove. 

Construction: The house is built using basic stick framing with low maintenance cement board siding trimmed with western red cedar. A maroon-color standing seam metal roof adds aesthetic qualities while contributing to the sustainability and low maintenance of the exterior. The interior woodwork is highly crafted of fine hardwoods milled on-site. 

Landscape Design:The 3.5 acre site is blessed with an abundance of mature hardwood trees, native rhododendrons and mountain laurels. The house site was carefully placed on top of a sloping knoll so as to maintain the largest oak, hickory, and maple trees and the many native (flame) azaleas. After careful thinning of the wooded area, native plants were incorporated into the landscape, such as oak leaf and flowering hydrangeas, ferns, dogwoods, hemlocks, rhododendrons, hollies, irises, daylilies, laurels, hostas, etc. Many low maintenance edible fruit bearing plants were added including blueberries, strawberries, cherry trees, service berry and herbs. Finally, an area was designated to accommodate a vegetable garden. All planted vegetation is grown organically utilizing the site's top soil supplemented with organic fertilizers and generous amounts of on-site produced compost. 

HVAC:Force air heating and cooling- Trane high efficiency heat pump 14 seer rating, 34,000 BTU/HR Max Blank (Mfg. in Germany) woodstove with baking oven. All HVAC duct work and air handler are within the insulation envelope of the home.

Site: A beautiful south facing mountain property was an opportunity to design a contemporary passive solar home that limit the disturbance of native vegetation while maximizing visual connection to nature. The 3.5 acre site is located  just a 15 minutes from downtown Asheville and 15 minutes to the regional airport. ..and offers complete privacy, sloping land, mature hardwood trees, southern exposure, and 180 degree pristine mountain year-around view. 

Exterior Materials:Hardi panel cement board accented with Vermont slate roofing shakes, vertical grain western red cedar and mahogany, standing seam metal roof, ipe (ironwood),
white oak and locust decking (milled on-site), stainless and galvanized steel fasteners. 

Interior Materials:Painted drywall, quarter-sawn white, red oak and hickory floors, quarter sawn oak, walnut, and cherry trim, white oak/steel tubing baluster, split-face block, granite counter top and hearth, stainless steel counter tops, and T&G spruce cathedral ceiling in great room. All hardwood flooring and trim were milled (quarter-sawn) on-site from building site trees and wind fallen trees found near the site. 

Cabinetry:Custom built and recycled kitchen cabinets (birdseye maple faced drawers and doors featuring Blum hardware with full extension under-mount slides and soft close blumotion). Bathroom cabinetry utilizes black cherry, mahogany, white oak, black walnut, and stainless steel.

Windows:High Efficiency Hurd sliding doors and windows. Anodized bronze aluminum cladding with wood interior. 

Insulation: Formaldehyde free fiberglass wall insulation R19 and R30 (1st level). Foil face polyisocyanurate foam insulation under 1st level cement floor R14, behind block walls R17, and roof R42

Now to your evaluation and your answer to the question. For sure, this home is a LUXURY HOME.
So- Can a "Luxury" home also be "Green"?  
Let me know what YOU think. . .


Curious about sustainable Green real estate possibilities ? Simply pedal on over to  Convivial Blogger Greenolina's  "Green Wheels" BLOG  and SUBSCRIBE 

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Now to your evaluation and your answer to the question. For sure, this home is a LUXURY HOME.
So- Can a "Luxury" home also be "Green"?  
Let me know what YOU think. . .

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 9 years ago

Aloha janeAnne,

We have a home listed that I believe meets that criteria. It uses insulated concrete forms for superior insulation. They use bamboo extensively for flooring, counter tops and builts ins. They also use on demand hot water to limit energy consumption. If anything, I have seen more green building in the high end market on Maui than in other market segments. I am hoping to see more green efforts in the affordable and middle ranges of the market.

Posted by Pete Jalbert, R(S) (The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. ) over 9 years ago


and may 2009 bring endless possibilities in "green awareness" in residential properties
and in eco design and development. "

Possibly, just possibly...."Luxury" does not have to preclude sustainable design.

What if a 6,000 square foot residence were created as a multi-generational abode? and what if it were designed in such a way to include the features I describe in this post? Just a thought...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 9 years ago

We seemingly have a pretty good head start here in Asheville, so it would seem.

Not only are there truly green luxury homes (yes indeed, it is possible) but there are also the whole range of (certified green) affordable to mid priced homes (and, might I add, condos and town-homes) as well.

Even Habitat for Humanity is requiring all of their new homes to be Energy Star certified.

We sure are lucky.


Posted by John Narrin (ECO-Steward Realty) over 9 years ago


Interesting that you think a "luxury" home can also be "green"... and also interesting to know that Hab itat for Humanity is requiring Energy Star certification!  thanks for the info

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 9 years ago

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