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Monday, September 14, 2009

How Green is Their Mansion?

Think about your home. While we may try to live environmentally conscious lives, if you could have it any way, would your home meet your eco-standards? For most of us, from better insulation to reduced electricity usage, greener ways to run our houses certainly exist. This problem was the inspiration for what is known as the “EcoManor” in Atlanta, Georgia. Built and designed especially for Laura Turner Seydel, daughter of famed billionaire Ted Turner, and her husband, Rutherford Seydel, EcoManor sets the bar for environmentally conscious houses. The Story The Seydels were both environmental activists in the Atlanta area. They each served on the board of or worked with several Georgia non-profits and together they founded a non-profit for preservation of the Chattahoochee River. While living the green professional life, they wanted to extend their environmental devotion to their personal lifestyles. Thus, when the idea for a green home was first conceived in 1994, the environmental impact of their house was crucial. Once LEED certification, a national rating system for the environmental efficiency of new buildings, was introduced, the Seydels had a set of standards on which to base their new green home. This means that the EcoManor and other LEED certified buildings must achieve efficiency in design, materials, reduction of waste, water use, and energy use, as well as promote the comfort and benefits of a green building. While LEED certification, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, is usually sought out for new office or educational buildings, some private residences such as the Seydels’ are now being designed with LEED recognition in mind. The Advantages In addition to being LEED certified, there are several other things about the EcoManor that make it a special and worthwhile home. Included in the very long list of “EcoManor Facts” are a few luxurious gems:
  • Skylights, which help provide natural light and thus save energy
  • Dimmable compact florescent light bulbs, which provide all the illumination for a fraction of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs
  • Wooden floors, which are made from locally grown, environmentally certified trees
  • Recycled furniture, which when reupholstered in natural fibers are given a second chic life
Their Advice for You On the EcoManor website, the Seydels have compiled a list of eco-living tips ranging from simple ways to check your house for maximum efficiency to green landscaping and architecture recommendations. They advice you to pay attention to the environmental impacts of your home from the very beginning. No matter what your living situation is, there is a lesson to be learned from the Seydels and their EcoManor: living in luxury can also be living green. Image Credits: EcoManor

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