Posts Tagged ‘Eco Homes’

True Sustainable Eco Lodge At Hix Island House In Vieques

Friday, January 13th, 2012
Casa Solaris

Casa Solaris

The tourism department for Puerto Rico claims that the ex-military base for the US turned tourist destination Vieques offers visitors a eco-island experience. They may claim eco-island status as a whole however we had to search pretty diligently to find anything authentically eco friendly. Our diligence paid off with a visit to the muy verde Hix Island House

Our timing couldn’t have been better as the hillside eco resort recently opened a new additional called Casa Solaris. We see many lodges called “eco lodges” but Hix Island House offers a true and tranquil eco-villa experience.  Firstly, the architect John Hix created his new Casa Solaris building completely off the grid. The completely self contained wing offers six minimalist designed rooms powered by both a photovoltaic system and solar hot water. The pool also gets its heat from the nearby solar panels and contains a locally used a low chemical cleaning system significantly less toxic than the typical chlorine based products.

Speaking of water, in addition to dual flush toilets, the building contains a greywater system that transports used sink and shower water to the nearby field to irrigate the soon to be planted bananas trees and other indigenous fruits.

Lest we forget abut the materials used to create the building. Originally John Hix wanted to use wood however he discovered that wood doesn’t hold up well through hurricanes so he opted for concrete. The use of concrete in the overall design includes the floor, walls, countertops and showers. The al fresco shower may be the best experience with the cement floor and walls, the views of the rain forest and ocean, as well as the fact that the heated water comes via the sun.

We also enjoyed the fresh baked bread and the local fruit (Mango). One of our few disappointments comes from the fact that locals don’t grow more local tropical fruit (Corazon, passion fruit) which they grow on the main island. The Hix Island House staff already planted various fruit trees to rectify that issue.

Besides letting guests know about the sustainable design of this villa, they continue to educate the locals so that Viequenses will use the sustainable knowledge to create sustainable homes and lodges of their own.

The education, design and sustainability make the Hix Island House one of the true eco-resorts not only in Puerto Rico but in todo el mundo.

Controversy About Huge Green Tiburon House

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

tiburon_gallery_09Across the Bay in Marin in Tiburon to be exact, a lot of rumblings continue to occur about a soon to be built Green House. A large, soon to be built Green house. 15,240 square feet of large to be exact making it one of the biggest in the county.

It brings up the question that we have debated before. Is it better to build a small “dirty” house or a large Green house? Seeing that Anders Swahn who wants to build this home runs a solar energy startup, we would think that he would get the whole idea of sustainability.

He plans to build the structure as carbon neutral with solar panels, geothermal heating and greywater recycling. It would be built to last for 200 years and, of course, would measure up to Marin County’s green building standards.

The problem that many neighbors have remains the size. Since when is a 15,000 square foot house sustainable. Unless 10 people live there. A lot of materials will be used to build it. No matter how much FSC certified lumber he uses it still would need copious amounts. We’re not even talking about the trees that will removed on the wooded bluff location in order to build the house (not to mention the 2000 sq ft guesthouse).

A more sustainable idea would be to buy another large home like the one for sale just down from the proposed site, a 10,944-square-foot estate, with 11 bedrooms and 10 baths that sits on the market for $37 million. He could add his Green bells and whistles to that estate and be more sustainable without sacrificing his need to live in a ginormous casa.

Green House Meets Gas Guzzler

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

ho_greenhouse_5.jpg

You might say that San Francisco Green thinking still has a way to go after we spotted a un-Green SUV (Range Rover) in the garage of an already well publicized Noe Valley Green house.
After speaking with the one of the owners they admit that it’s hardly Green to drive the gas guzzler but they say that it’s leased. And they have a hybrid SUV on their radar for their next purchase. As for how they’re adapting to and how they like some of the interior green attributes inside the house well that’s for a future entry.

Green House Goes Down – In Price That Is

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006
bernal-heights-green-house

We actually feel sorry for the owner for the owner of the Green house in Bernal Heights. That same property (338 Holladay Ave.) has been languishing on the market for almost three months. That’s the same residence where the house’s owner wrote a letter to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle several weeks back, which practically exclaimed a rebuttal to the paper’s articles saying that Green houses are all the rage and will sell like hotcakes.

The owner can’t be a happy camper as he and his agent continually drop the asking price from $1,279,000 to $1,195,000 to $1,049,000 to $994,000. The owner claims that location sells houses, as evidenced by the Green house in Noe Valley.  True the Noe Valley Green house location represents a superior addy to the one in Bernal Heights. Also, that Noe Green house sale occurred in a slightly warmer market.

There may be a degree of truth in the owner’s statement but instead of location, location, location the seller and his agent should be more concerned with marketing, marketing, marketing. And education. (more…)

The Green That Brings the Buyers

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006
Bob Barker

With the opening pre-sales event of the LEED certified Arterra in San Francisco coming up on Sept. 30th we’re not exactly convinced that perspective buyers are placing their deposits because of the LEED certification or even the whole “Green Lifestyle” that the Arterra continues to promote.

Apparently, the sales office has pre-sales reservations booked for Saturday, Sunday and into Monday. That means green building gets a boost. Always good. But we have a sneaking suspicion (plus someone at the office told us) that the real green draw is the price point. A one-bedroom Mission Bay condo (without parking) for about $515,000 continues to draw buyers to this project like reality to television.

But who are we to judge why someone buys green? People who buy a piece of the Arterra because as Bob Barker says, “The Price is Right” may be doing the right thing for the wrong reason. But at least they are buying green.

Get the Lead Out

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Lead

Looking for some extra spending money to spruce up your house? Forget digging though the old sofas, just hit up Uncle Sam. If that sprucing up includes removing that nasty, not to mention dangerous, lead-based-paint from rental properties or one that you actually live in then it might be worth downloading and filling out some of the myriad forms on the HUD website.

HUD has made $39 million in funding available as part of their Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program.
Lead exposure can lead to reduced IQ, learning disabilities, reduced height, poorer hearing and a truckload of other health problems associated with children. But don’t dillydally as the closing date for this grant program is October 31, 2006.

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

Thursday, September 21st, 2006
Rainscreen

With the Arterra, San Francisco’s first LEED certified San Francisco condos, just about ready to go into pre-sales it’s no surprise that some visitors in the sales office appear from curious to confused.

Some prospective buyers who drifted around the sales office came for the Green factor but others don’t know green from pink. The salesroom doesn’t exactly push the green aspect. Those who don’t have an attention to detail could easily miss the bamboo kitchen floors, and the dual flush toilets. Even so, one green product continually baffles potential buyers – the Trespa rainscreen system. It more than baffles, it disturbs some.

We’re not exactly fans of bedding down in high-end coffins, except maybe during Halloween, so people here should get over their fears of something new. The rainscreen system isn’t exactly the new green kid on the block. Builders have been using this overcladding technology since the 1940’s in Scandinavia. (more…)

Green Saves Money

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Finally there’s the green that can save green. Did all you capitalists just get excited? It’s not just about photovoltaic panels, although if you’re not a fan of PG&E or the equivalent megalopolis energy supplier then the fact that an energy company can actually send you a check each month may excite your bank account in the long run.Green savings isn’t just about sticking it to the big bad energy companies but adding value to your house. When you add those photovoltaic panels, that high percentage fly ash foundation, or water recapture system then you automatically add value to your home. (more…)