New Luxury Real Estate is Environmentally Friendly

by : Mark Hostetler

According to wikipedia, the continually updated free on-line encyclopedia, "luxury real estate" is defined as a home with an appraised value estimated above $1 million. But, what makes a luxury home retain its luxury appeal today, goes beyond appraised value. Homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the inevitable effect of our consumer lifestyles. The 2001 California blackouts, the Northeast blackout of 2003, and the hurricanes that left some Florida residents without power for weeks, have all been wake-up calls for homeowners dependant on our obviously fallible power grids. So, let it be known that, "bigger is better" is not always equated with luxury these days. There is a new breed of luxury that touts high tech, energy efficiency as the 'it' thing.

With technologies that help recycle rain water, provide solar-powered heating and building techniques that better insulate homes, it is possible to get a beautiful, luxurious home that is technologically advanced and environmentally friendly. Many of these sustainable options may save money in the long run with reduced energy consumption, but their installation can carry a substantial price tag. For luxury and custom homeowners wanting to keep up with global trends, "green" improvements will keep your home competitive in the US and world markets.

Custom homeowners are in the perfect position to make a difference in the way their houses are built -- to lead by example and take measures to ensure that their homes are comfortable and responsible.

Here are some environmental upgrades that the new luxury homes are boasting:

- Site designs that are permeable so that the amount of storm water run-off from hard surfaces can be limited.

- Since luxury homes are usually built for the long term, owners may choose to take things a step further by setting up more extensive water systems. Gray water use, high efficiency fixtures, and rain water collection systems are available and often come with rebates from local water providers. Systems for collecting and reusing water can be implemented for irrigation purposes.

- With a larger budget choices become more accessible. Renewable energy sources such as solar power and geothermal heating and cooling have become popular in luxury and custom homes.

- In addition to maximizing natural light and ventilation, intelligent lighting and room-conditioning are wise additions. With smart lighting controls, energy loads and costs will be significantly reduced.

After all, it is impossible to have luxury when you have yet to contend with necessity. These new luxury homes provide great comfort and extravagance and will continue to do so, off the grid and on their own terms.