Once upon a time, the words "straw bale" and "luxury home" never went together in the same sentence. But, thanks to Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, times certainly have changed.
A recent home and garden spread in the Austin American-Statesman details such a home.
The 4,000-square-foot steel and straw bale residence profiled is set on four scenic acres and offers such amenities as a saltwater pool, an outdoor kitchen, and covered pavilion. Among its green features is a 21,500-gallon rainwater collection system that provides all the water the household cooking, bathing, and drinking. The water for the pool and sprinklers comes from a well. The straw-bale construction keeps the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer--for instance, the air conditioning doesn't kick on until the temperature rises above 98.
Currently on the market, this home is listed for just under $1 million. Can you say ka-ching?
Luxury Homes and the Green "Trend"
A 2008 survey of 1,281 luxury consumers with an average income of $155,700 and age of 47, conducted by Research and Markets, revealed that, indeed, luxury consumers are looking beyond their pocketbooks to larger issues, including protecting the environment, global warming, and avoiding water and air pollution. "A lot of marketers are skeptical about the green trend," says Pam Danziger, author of the Research and Markets report, "Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Customer Experience." She believes the trend should gain momentum in the future and the affluent community may take the lead in green living.
Could it be a good thing that environmental living--while it saves you money in the long run--typically isn't cheap? Perhaps that helps make being green more fashionable, but as you make remodeling decisions, don't think of green remodeling as a trend. Eco-conscious building should be here to stay, and while it's simply easier to make a less expensive, non-green choice in building materials, here's a good reason not to.
There's little, if any doubt, that green living is better for you and the planet. But now there's even less doubt that it's also good for resale.
About the Author
Mary Butler is a Boulder, Colorado-based writer and editor who spends much of her freetime remodeling an old house.
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