Currently there are 98 homes that are LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, but the group, which is based in Washington, D.C., expects some 5,000 to be certified in the coming year. Here are three examples of whats possible in green building on a more... "flexible budget."
Frank McKinney is betting $29 million that what luxury home buyers want now are environmentally-friendly estates. His speculative 15,000 square foot mansion in Manalapan, Fla., will be the first home of its size to be certified green by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Florida Green Building Council. The home features eight bedrooms, eleven bathrooms, two elevators, two laundry rooms, two wine cellars, a movie theater and guest house. According to McKinney creating this mansion green added and additional 7-10% in cost to the budget.
Some of the homes cool features include; the use of reclaimed teak,a massive solar panel system (price tag: $120,000), a water system that uses "gray water" from the showers and sinks to irrigate the lawn and gardens, as well as a series of pools, reflecting ponds and water gardens to cool down the 1.5 acre property by 2 to 3 degrees....to list a few.
*The $29 million home is slated to be completed by January 2009.
Welcome to what is currently the largest completed built Eco-friendly house in America. Featuring 27 photovoltaic panels on the roof, solar tubes that snake into interior rooms, geothermal heat pumps, and rainwater-collecting cisterns to name a few of the features in this Tudor Manor. The home is nearly 6,000 square feet and is the largest ever to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The home owners Laura Turner Seydel (as in Ted Turner’s daughter) her husband, Rutherford (an environmental lawyer), spent $1.5 million to build the home, now called the EcoManor. The couple estimates that it cost some 10 % extra to go Eco-friendly. The couple estimates that the expenses will be offset by the savings they get in energy costs which they predict will be 80 to 90 % below average for a like-sized Atlanta home.
Some of the great features of the five bedroom home include wheat-core doors (composed of wheat, and formaldehyde-free), use of wallpaper made of recycled newspaper, floors made of fallen oak from Ted Turner's plantation, and insulation made of cellulose and soy-based foam, to list a few.
*Construction of the home was estimated at $1.5 million
Santa Monica, CA based LivingHomes home builder is a very two year young firm that has carved a niche for itself in constructing self-sustaining mansions which have zero energy, water, waste or carbon emissions, not to mention spacious floor plans, outdoor decks, top-of-the-line appliances and cedar finishings. The homes provide scale, luxury and cool stylings.
Each LivingHomes mansion is entirely Pre Fab (can be built in 8 hours by a modest sized crew) and can be customized by the prospective homeowner right off their web site. Cool features of the model include a roof deck (with solar panels), a rainwater collection and filtration system that holds up to 3,500 gallons, as well as many features of the home which are recycled, reclaimed or reused such as the kitchen counter tops made with Paper Stone, and the bathroom tiles made from recycled porcelain and glass.
*Estimated cost of home (excluding cost of land) will run between $868,000 for a base model (3100 sq. ft 2/ five bedroom) to $1.2mi for the high end version with all the perks.
So if you have a few million you are looking to invest in the real estate market, and scale is just not something you are ready to part with, you can still do it while keeping to an Eco-friendly approach.