In the past few decades, eco-friendly and sustainable features within homes have become a necessity. While more people are conscious about where they live and what they consume, many are also conscious about the planet and reducing their individual carbon footprint. Today, many architects are tasked with reducing the environmental impact of a home, while making it feel just as luxurious. Many talented firms are able to seamlessly integrate features that save energy and water, while incorporating renewable and reused materials, high-tech insulation, solar panels, geothermal systems and rainwater collection systems. Homes are built with sustainability in mind might also incorporate biophilic design elements, a style that connects homeowners to nature through views and more. Beyond a home’s design, other eco-friendly features include smart lighting, HEPA-friendly air filters, water purification systems, alternative energy sources and more. Many homeowners also seek energy-saving options, like radiant floor heating, that reduce overall costs. Here are nine homes around the world built to reduce impact on the environment.
The SeaPods and GreenPods at Linton Bay, Panama
Panama-based company Ocean Builders is on a mission to redefine sustainable living with its highly eco-friendly SeaPods and GreenPods. The SeaPod is designed for water-based living, while the GreenPods will be constructed for land. It’s the world’s first-ever eco-restorative floating home and the first neighborhood of pods will be in Linton Bay, Panama with the intention of shipping elsewhere, eventually. The SeaPods are 830-square-foot pods that sit eight feet above the water and are developed to create and restore a natural habitat of ocean life underneath each home. The tech-based homes also allow residents to control everything digitally, from air and water temperature. There are a range of models starting from $795,000 up to $1.5 million, based on upgrades and customization.
A State-of-the-Art Home in Boulder, Colorado
This $6.75 million Boulder, Colorado home is a prime example of how contemporary architecture blends seamlessly with sustainable practices. Designed with state-of-the-art smart home controls and designer finishes from Dornbracht, Ann Sacks, Watermark, and more, it also has radiant heat, 9kW photovoltaic solar panels, living green roofs and two EV charging stations. There are also energy-efficient Marvin windows that help reduce utility bills.
The Strand’s Grand Residence in Turks and Caicos
The Strand is set to be one of the Caribbean’s newest eco-conscious developments, located on Providenciales in Turks and Caicos. The developer was conscious about the land prior to any construction and helped preserve much of the site’s natural vegetation, like the buttonwood mangroves and primroses. Each home, including this $10.5 million Grand Residence located on the shores of Cooper Jack Bay, will have a solar package with Tesla Powerwalls; architecture and design features that reduce energy usage; flow-through ventilation in each rooms; light colors with low heat conductivity; hand-crafted wood pergolas for additional shade; and landscaping to preserve the natural flora and create habitats for local pollinators.
A LEED-Certified Bungalow in Santa Monica, California
This Platinum LEED-accredited bungalow-style home in Santa Monica, California redefines living among nature in a sustainable way. Listed for $16.75 million, this eco-friendly home has myriad sustainable features. It has reclaimed 150-year-old barn oak planked floors; a grey water system that reuses laundry and shower water in the garden; solar thermal-heated pool; a wind turbine that powers the tree house and landscape lights; stormwater harvesting; geothermal heating; and an aluminum roof with 50 percent recycled metal. Interiors were finished with zero-VOC roman clay, paint and stain, and the hardscape materials were sourced within a 300-mile radius of Los Angeles, resulting in a low-carbon footprint.
AH0 Art Villa in Valle de Bravo, Los Alamos, Mexico
AH0 Art Villa, situated within Valle de Bravo’s forests in the Acatitlán state of Mexico, is like living in an art museum. Eccentric, luxe and site-specific, the $10 million compound built by renowned Mexican architect Guillermo de la Cajiga is set on two acres with many independent structures. The ranch seamlessly integrates with the surrounding nature and uses alternative energy sources, a purifying and regenerative water system and natural materials. The water system was facilitated by a postgraduate studies teacher at a local environmental university. Other unique design details include stucco walls, crafted from a special ancestral technique made by master craftsmen out of soil, metal and adobe, as well as artisanal mosaic floors designed by an array of Mexican visual artists that also has central heating technology.
The Zero-One All-Electric Home in Malibu, California
For $32 million, you can own Zero One, a fully electric home, thanks to Tesla batteries and solar panels, that is built from sustainable timber and recycled steel. Situated on a blufftop in Malibu overlooking the ocean, this contemporary residence is not only design-forward but emits zero carbon emissions. It’s set on 2.48 acres with more than 300 trees, including native coastal oaks, and Monterey cypress and pines, plus organic fruit orchards, vegetable gardens and on-site beehives. There’s also a water filtration system, ventilation system and water vapor fireplaces.
Clearview Farm in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado
Clearview Farm in Cherry Hills Village, listed for $28.8 million, has sustainability at the forefront. Built with modern architectural detail, the property features a 1.5-acre pond and fields zoned for agriculture and equestrian purposes. It has a full solar panel array that runs the length of the property, as well as a battery backup for the solar system by Blue Planet energy. The home has Shou Sugi Ban siding, an ancient Japanese technique used to preserve wood by charring the surface, which in turn makes the material more durable and chemical-free. There are also grand 22-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in stunning Rocky Mountain views.
181 Fremont in San Francisco, California
It can be difficult to make a condo tower sustainable, but 181 Fremont in San Francisco has succeeded. Urban Fabrick, a firm who developed the San Francisco Green Building Code a decade ago, worked closely with the developer to implement green, eco-friendly features into the building. Not only is it the city’s first LEED Platinum-certified mixed-use building, but it has a state-of-the-art water recycling system, saving more than 1.3 million gallons of water per year; a glass curtain wall system; and finishes and materials that adhere to the CALGreen Requirements. The $46 million Grand Penthouse is the crown jewel of the building, with 6,941 square feet of absolute luxury.
The Ora House in San Diego, California
Located in San Diego, The Ora House fuses biophilic elements with striking architecture and absolute luxury. From design-build firm Blue Heron, known for incorporating biophilic design principles and eco-friendly features, the five-bedroom home spans 8,878 square feet and is listed for $27.5 million. The home uses natural materials, has an indoor-outdoor floor plan and seamlessly interacts with the nearby ocean for a truly eco-conscious feel.