The Top Ten Eco-Friendly Features for Today’s Luxury Homes
This article was originally published on Christie’s International Real Estate’s lifestyle blog, Luxury Defined.
In honor of Earth Day, we discover that for the world’s most innovative designers and architects, green is the new black
A home can be luxurious, historic, glamorous, commodious, even fun. But can it also be sustainably designed and eco-friendly green? It can be all of these things, according to some of today’s most innovative designers and builders. Earth-conscious does not have to mean “doing without.” Quite the contrary: chic, even dazzlingly beautiful homes around the world are now sporting green roofs, drawing power from geothermal energy, and making use of solar panels year round. The technology we currently deem “eco-friendly” will probably be de rigueur in coming years. Many companies that were founded decades or even a century ago to produce glass, ceramics, chemicals, and electronics are now riding the wave of green design. Ahead of Earth Day 2019, we spotlight a collection of properties from trailblazing innovators who are making sustainable design the ultimate deluxe amenity.
1. Sustainable and Locally Sourced Materials
This eco-friendly practice is actually not at all new: before international shipping became commonplace, “locally sourced” was simply the method all builders used to construct houses as they chose from stone, wood, thatch, or local clay, depending on which resources were abundant in a particular region. To reduce the carbon footprint of today’s construction practices, architects and contractors are seeking local solutions to new design challenges.
2. LED Lighting
Electricity drastically transformed the nighttime look and feel of interiors by replacing the soft flicker of candlelight and gas lamps with the bright, on-demand illumination of incandescent bulbs. Lighting is experiencing a radical change once again thanks to advances in LED technology. LED bulbs are vastly more energy efficient than the filament bulbs of the 20th century, which means the carbon footprint of a home can be greatly reduced without switching off the lights. The Dutch multinational corporation Philips, founded in 1891 and now a global leader in LED lighting, even produces LED-powered luminous textiles called Kvadrat Soft Cells that can add an atmospheric glow to any interior without the need for a single fixture.
3. LEED Certification
In the industry, LEED certification has become a byword for eco-friendly construction practices. LEED(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification program from the U.S. Green Building Council that recognizes a project’s efficiency standards. More than 150,000 homes around the world are LEED-certified, a number that more than doubled between 2011 and 2013 according to a report by the Council.
4. New Habitats for Sea Life
One of the most exciting trends in Eco-friendly building isn’t happening on land, but on the ocean, where innovative new projects are creating stable habitats human beings and for the sea life below. Coral, fish, anemones, and all manner of microscopic creatures can carve out a home using the base of each island, as though it were a natural rock formation.
5. Vegetable Gardens and Orchards
The fun and relaxation of tending a garden is a proven way to clear the mind and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. And there’s an added benefit: vegetable gardens are as good for the planet as they are for the gardener. With increasing interest in organic produce, home vegetable gardens have become a feature of luxury estates, where a scaled-down version of the “farm-to-table” concept can be brought right into the kitchen. Gardening promotes the cycle of growth and decomposition that maintains healthy soil, and growing plants produce oxygen—as well as the ingredients for a farm-fresh salad. With enough space, an avid gardener can tend a grove of citrus or apple trees or even produce wine from a small vineyard. Like vegetable gardens, orchards surround a home with fresh air and greenery, offer natural shade, and perfume the air with the subtle fragrances of fruit and flowers.
6. Green Roofs and Walls
The earliest “green roof” may have been the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but it was not until the early 1970s in Germany that technology caught up with aesthetics and green roofs became a viable design option. Today, green roofs are so practical and effective that mainstream, design-focused authorities like HGTV are offering primers on how to install your own. Luxury homes have incorporated green roofs and balconies for a mix of efficient, natural cooling and landscaped, aesthetic beauty.
7. Solar Panels
Using the inexhaustible energy of the sun, solar rooftop panels provide a lightweight, inexpensive way to boost the “passive” energy of a home, storing power for future use without the need for any wasteful processes. Solar panels can be attractive, too. Sweden’s SolTech Energy produces beautiful glass roof tiles that allow builders to create energy-efficient, solar-powered homes that draw design inspiration from a classic architectural style. Solar power is among the most exciting innovations in green design.
8. AMX Technology
Today’s eco-friendly houses aren’t just sustainable, they’re smart. In-wall touch screens from AMX that control a home’s light, heat, irrigation, sound, and more are perfect for those who split their time among several residences, allowing homeowners to program such features remotely so energy is not wasted when a home is empty.
9. Geothermal Heating and Cooling
Like solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling elegantly harnesses the forces of nature to provide optimal indoor conditions at any time of year. This technology allows homeowners to make the most luxurious home’s environmental footprint relatively small, even as its design makes a big aesthetic impact.
10. Private Eco Preserves
Green homes can incorporate more than eco-friendly construction and cutting-edge technology. For those searching for adventure as well as an environmentally conscious lifestyle, combined with all the comforts of home, a property located in a private eco preserve provides the perfect balance.
Just Listed on Lake Simcoe: 968 Degrassi Cove Pl W, Innisfil
This custom home direct waterfront home was built in 2000 by the current owner and has served as a sanctuary for family and friends. Over their 22 years of ownership, they have enjoyed the property during every season.
Degrassi Cove is a small and exclusive waterfront community and share the private road. The forested lands on the opposite side of the street provide great privacy. There is no vehicle traffic other than the neighbours, so it is very safe for kids.
Built as a 4-season home and located on the west-side of Lake Simcoe. You will enjoy north-west facing views of the lake and sunsets. There are no stairs to the water’s edge. The water table is level to the lot, which offers a beautiful beach area along the shoreline. There is great swimming and boating. The portable dock is 65 ft long with a 12’ x 12’ patio area. Boating enthusiasts can store their boat in the dry boathouse. Entertaining on the lake is so easy!
The home offers 2,700 sf on the main and upper level. The principal rooms offer generous space including a large private family room, formal dining room, large great room combined with the eat-in kitchen. In addition, there is 1,535 sf of finished space on the walk-out level. There are four generous size bedrooms. The primary bedroom is situated on the main level and overlooks the lake, and includes a five-piece ensuite, a walk-in closet and a garden door to the lakeside patio area. The three other bedrooms are located on the second floor.
The lower level includes a large recreation room with wood-burning fireplace and a walk-out to the lake. A large office with a built-in desk and bookcases can serve as a large 5th bedroom. The 3-piece bathroom is also equipped with a partially finished cedar-lined sauna. There is plenty of storage space on this level too.
Photography by @ishutterphoto
Staging by @chateau_designandstaging
This professionally designed custom-built home embodies a comfortable, vintage cottage feel built with energy efficient maintenance-free materials. This home offers a private park-like setting, with in- town conveniences. It’s a nature lover’s lot…a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. This one in in a million home was showcased in a 16-page spread in Cottages & Bungalows Magazine.
Shiplap walls and wood slat ceilings throughout impart a cabin-like coziness. The primary bedroom is secluded on the main floor overlooking a wooded area that surrounds the property. The front office duals as an additional main floor bedroom adjacent to a 3-piece bathroom. The upper level includes two additional bedrooms that provide enhanced privacy for guests. One of the bedrooms functions as a seating area with a Murphy bed and small kitchenette. It has been designed as a secure space for future rental opportunity.
Located in the charming lakeside village of Bayfield, this property is a stone-throw away from Lake Huron, a short walk to town, the fishing pier and marina, Pioneer Park and the Community playground. This spectacular property backs on to a designated environmental area and surrounded by trees makes it an ideal retreat for entertaining family and friends.
It’s no secret that green has been trending in a major way lately. Not only does the leafy shade conjure the sensation of being outdoors after two years cooped up at home, it also is a versatile (and welcome) alternative to traditional colors like white and gray.
Sweet 3 bedroom home that has a light and airy feel to the interior. Vaulted ceiling with open concept design creates a welcoming feel with plenty of natural sunlight all afternoon. Hardwood floors in bedrooms. Updated interior ready to be moved in to. It is a special place to call home or cottage.
Large wrap-around deck features West-facing views of 2-acre park of which you would be a 1/10th owner. Private dock for all park owners. Deeded Lake Simcoe access is rare to find. Very private setting with mature trees.
Message us today for more information or to book private showing.
staging by @chateau_designandstaging
photography by @ishutterphoto
20 Quiet Heights Lane, Georgina provides views of the lake from all spaces on the west side of them home, including the great room, kitchen, dining area, and primary bedroom.
You will enjoy the morning sunrise from the front covered porch and of course, sunset views from the lakeside. The natural sunlight fills the home with warmth and light all day long. It’s tranquil, serene, and welcoming.
In the design stages, the current owner had some important “must-have’s” including a Muskoka like feel, spaciousness, sun-filled rooms, and an “understated elegance“ carried throughout the home.
Some of the interior features include:
– 3 bedrooms on main level and 2 additional bedrooms on the lower level
– 3 full bathrooms plus powder room
– 10.9 ft ceiling height on the main level and 9 ft ceiling height on the lower level
– Great room includes custom millwork and 13 ft vaulted coffered ceiling
– Gourmet kitchen with upgraded appliances
– Spectacular light fixtures including ceiling fans in each bedroom
– Custom drapery and blinds
– Radiant heated floors in kitchen, primary ensuite and the entire lower level
– Surround sound system both indoors and outdoors
A full list of room features, additional images, virtual tour, and more can be found on our website (link in bio).
This listing is also available on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)
When you combine the attention to detail of a quality builder with the owner’s vision to create a sanctuary home, the result is spectacular.
This home offers a “Zen” feel immediately upon your arrival.
The landscaping is wonderfully appointed with a collection of perennial gardens, shrubs, mature trees and privacy hedges on both sides, which is home to many birds. There are several seating areas promote great conversation with family and friends or a place to enjoy some quiet time when you want to be alone and enjoy nature all around you.
This is a wonderful home to entertain in both indoors and outdoors. The raised balcony includes a covered area where you can enjoy a summer rain shower. The open area provides lots of space for your chaise loungers to get some sun and watch an array of boats on the lake.
The lower deck is covered and a perfect location for the 7-seater plus lounger hot tub along with another separate seating area to enjoy the lake views.
Listing Price: $1,935,000
DM us to book a private viewing.
The full listing can be found on our site & on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)