In the early days of the green movement, owning a sustainable home meant doing with less and sacrificing creature comforts.
Green luxury homes are engineered for high performance. They’re healthier, more comfortable, less expensive to run and they incorporate high-end finishes that are anything but “granola chic.” It’s no trend. The number of green homes is expected to grow to between 29-38 percent of the market by 2016. The National Association of REALTORS has responded by developing a Green Designation in which agents can undergo specialized training to help buyers and sellers understand the issues and benefits.
Making a home sustainable is a scalable effort. Owners can retrofit older homes as little or as much as they like. And they can do it incrementally over time. Simple steps include scheduling a home energy audit with the local utility company, replacing older appliances with efficient Energy Star-rated models, plugging up for leaky windows and doors and incorporating more native plants that thrive with minimal irrigation.
Smart home technology, which gives owners control over lighting, energy and entertainment through a digital device like an iPad, is making the process easier and more intuitive.
The technology continues to evolve. The most sophisticated eco-friendly home plans feature solar power for heating and air conditioning, satellite-controlled irrigation systems to monitor weather conditions and adjust watering patterns as a result and power stations for electric cars. Utility bills are plummeting.
Eco-design is more sophisticated than ever, too. Designers are increasingly adding lines of sustainable fabrics, furniture, rugs and accessories giving consumers the opportunity to think in terms of “responsible luxe.” Bamboo is an example of a floor option that is both beautiful and quickly renewable. Recycled glass bottles and mirrors have are being used for eye-catching countertops and backsplashes. Reclaimed lumber from old barns is being transformed into siding and cabinetry.
Every green choice affects the planet--as well as one’s personal well-being in their little corner of it.
View All Eco-Friendly Homes
from Sotheby's International Realty
Content Producer Iyna Bort Caruso