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A Greener Suburban Sprawl?

While green building and luxury living in Manhattan are now practically married, a truly unique candidate for LEED certification is now going up forty miles out of the city.

“Green is becoming the new amenity of choice in luxury housing. Today’s socially conscious, upscale homebuyers are more concerned about the size of their carbon footprint than the size of their master bath,” Mark Hallett Robbins, president of NRDC Residential, the developer of Windermere on the Lake, announced in a press release.

Windermere on the Lake is a planned residential community being developed in the Fairfield County community of North Stamford. The cheapest of the 24 “majestic” lakeside homes—designed by Bartels-Pagliaro Architects, Norwalk, Connecticut, inspired by the 19th-century English arts and crafts movement, and ranging in size from four- to six-bedrooms–start at a cool $3.2 million.

One might argue that suburban sprawl and green building seem like obnoxious bedfellows, especially upon finding out that each of the homes comes with a three-car garage.

But the Windermere’s green elements—and it is the first residential development in Connecticut to seek a LEED rating–start with the property: the developers have reserved 25 of the 74-acre “park-like site” as open space. An additional 25 acres were handed over free of charge to the Stamford Land Conservation Trust, allegedly the largest gift in the trust’s history. The street lighting, designed to guide the residents along “extensive” walking trails between the pool, tennis courts, fitness center, and the fishing and canoeing dock, is solar-powered.

While these LEED points may seem convenient—what with the green space attraction to clients and the maintenance cost savings from solar-powered lamps—the Windermere’s homes are built with Forest Stewardship Council-certified oak plank flooring, lumber from Weyerhaeuser forests certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and, most impressively, using software to create a specified lumber order based on all the necessary measurements of each board. The lumber waste, usually accounting for 20-25 percent, is reduced to less than 5 percent, according to the developer’s PR agency.

The houses come with optional geothermal heating and cooling systems, and low-VOC finishes, heat-recovery ventilation systems, and high-performance windows and insulation.

Furthermore, a sediment filtration system, designed by altering non-permeable and permeable surfaces on the roads and pathways, combined with a smart irrigation system that differentiates between types of vegetation, ensures “that water leaving the site is cleaner than when it arrived.”

Recycle those Cheval Blanc bottles, stick a few hybrids in the garage, and call it a day?

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