The standard spec sheet for every home, for instance, includes a zoned, high-efficiency propane heating and cooling system with an energy recovery ventilator attached; insulation levels, including closed-cell foam, that exceed energy-code minimum; low- and no-VOC finishes, including coatings and cabinet frames; fly-ash-content concrete; and high-performance casement and single-hung windows that not only perform thermally but are placed to promote cross-ventilation.
“Our standard construction practices and specifications get about 50 LEED points,” says development manager Matthew Nielsen, or about 80% of the way toward the 63 credits needed to achieve certification per the sliding scale applied to homes of more than 2,500 square feet. “We’ll work with each buyer to figure out what fits his interests and budget to achieve Certification [level] or higher,” he says, among a selection of options that include a geothermal heating and cooling system, solar panels, and rainwater harvesting available for that purpose.
The remaining 21 homes will be sold on a contract basis within a four-house design program that allows buyers a reasonable amount of flexibility in their options and upgrades, including a landmark tower, wine cellar, home theater, and outdoor cooking area within the standard English-garden landscape plan devised for each parcel. Each home’s baseline spec sheet to achieve efficient performance, however, is non-negotiable, which Robbins says also enhances each home’s comfort, livability, and resale value.
On the touchy subject of whether 8,000-square-foot homes can truly be green, the developer points to a market location and likely buyer profile that demand large-scale homes; making them as resource-efficient as possible, he says, was simply part of his overall commitment to an environmental program for the community.