By Robin Mazzone
Photo by Victoria Ranch
We are the protectors of Earth. This planet does not belong to our species alone and it is every person’s responsibility to leave the planet in better health than he found it. Park City’s green builders and their buyers are taking this responsibility very seriously.
“Visitors to our model home often comment that it feels housing technology has finally caught up to their personal technology,” says Berkshire Hathaway’s Dawn Chapman of the ultra-efficient green community Echo Spur, located above Rossi Hill in Old Town, Park City. With the use of cell phone applications and iPad controls, these high performance, eco-friendly “smart” homes provide comfort and ease of operation. Super insulation, solar panels, irrigation management systems, and smart HVAC technology are just some of the energy-efficient strategies.
Perhaps the development’s biggest accomplishment is having recently been granted LEED Platinum Certification, the highest rating for leadership in energy and environmental design. The project developers estimate the cost of heating and lighting an Echo Spur home will be approximately 80% less than a home built with standard construction, and water costs will be approximately 20-30% lower. No longer must you trade off between green building and luxury. Folding glass walls open on every level to beautiful outdoor living spaces, with gas fireplaces on the main and upper levels.
Echo Spur homes feature high-end finishes, radiant heating and cooling, rooftop garden terraces, heated driveways and decks, security systems and two laundries. All of this as well as sweeping views of Old Town…these homes are gorgeously green.
Hamlet Homes brought the energy efficient townhome community of “Nevis at Newpark” to Kimball Junction in early 2015 and they sold out quickly. Interested buyers will now have to watch for opportunities on the resale market. Well-concealed solar panels located on the rooftop terraces support 25% of each home’s energy load. High-efficiency furnaces, low-E windows, Energy Star appliances and blown-in insulation on the walls and ceilings also contribute to the “green-living” lifestyle offered just at the edge of Swaner Nature Preserve’s 1,200 acres of open space. Grocery stores, movies and bowling are just a short walk away. A well-connected, free, public bus service can take you from Nevis townhomes to almost anywhere in Park City, including the ski resorts. Now that’s reducing your carbon footprint!
On the outskirts of Park City, on your way to Kamas, is Park’s Edge. These townhomes and condominiums offer many of the same energy-saving features as Nevis at Newpark, but in a less urban environment. Adjacent to the Jordanelle Reservoir of Heber City, the community features a clubhouse, pool and a 15-acre park with 2.5 acres of grass, trails and benches to rest your walking legs. Th is development has actually measured its “greenness”. Aft er calculating a three-year average for both gas and electric bills for three model units, the monthly bill average was $95 year round — far less than the standard utility budget.
Enjoy Mother Nature while preserving her. Just minutes from Park City, set upon 6,700 pristine acres along a four-mile stretch of the Provo River, is Victory Ranch. This luxury homesite development is committed to a model of sustainability through a variety of restoration and preservation projects. Concerned over declining honeybee populations, Victory Ranch partnered with Pacific Pollination to track and study native solitary bees. This program aids in the protection and survey of bees during the winter months when they are most vulnerable. Other preservation efforts include maintaining its wild fish stock, and building frog ponds for the native Columbia Spotted Frog (currently under petition for endangered species protection). All of this is in addition to constant efforts to preserve the wilderness and wetland areas within the conservancy.
Green living practices of all sorts have skyrocketed in this new century, bringing the promise of a healthier planet for our children to enjoy. We encourage you to investigate what these innovative builders are doing to contribute to this movement and join them. Th e greatest threat to the environment is the belief that someone else will save it.