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Explainer: Open House: Living the green life

  • Image: Home for sale in Whistler

    Are curbside recycling and organic food not enough for you? If you think you need to literally live a little greener, then we’ve got a sample of self-styled green homes for sale across the globe — from Idaho to Fiji. Take a look.

  • 70 Little West Street #30F New York, NY

    Image: NYC condo for sale

    Price: $1.685 million

    Features: This two-bedroom condo sits on the 30th floor of the Visionaire, a LEED-certified high-rise. The building relies on a micro wind turbine and solar panels for energy efficiency, a garden roof system that can catch 12,000 gallons of rainwater and an on-site wastewater treatment system to reuse sink and shower water for toilets and the air conditioning system. The building also has an indoor swimming pool, a 12-foot aquarium, a 4,000-square foot fitness center and a bicycle rental service.

    Neighborhood: The condo is located in Battery City, a family neighborhood in lower Manhattan with 36 acres of open space, gardens and playgrounds. A green school is under construction adjacent to the Visionaire.

    Selling point: A million-dollar way to avoid New York’s pollution: The building’s fancy air filtration system cleans the indoor air twice before blowing it into your house.

    View the listing here(new window).

  • 161 Lagilagi, Koro Island, Fiji

    Image: Home for sale in Fiji

    Price: $150,000

    Features: The 500-square-foot house is 12-sided with one bedroom and one bathroom. Built in 2005, it operates off the grid, relying on propane for the refrigerator, stove and water heater and solar and wind to power the fan, a computer, lights and washing machine. Rainwater is collected in two 3,000-liter tanks. Owners can grow their own avocados, lemons, oranges, basil, coconuts, bananas and pineapples on the half-acre lot.

    Neighborhood: Koro Island is the sixth-largest island of Fiji, which has been rated the "most friendly country" by Conde Nast Traveler. The island has 14 villages, 3,500 people, dirt roads and no street signs, no phone lines or no traffic signals. The property is in the middle of a rain forest where about 15 other Westerners live.

    Selling point: The seller will let you vacation there for two weeks while you decide whether to buy.

    View the listing here (new window).

  • 6618 Cedar Grove Lane Whistler, Canada

    Image: Home for sale in Whistler

    Price: $4.85 million

    Features: The 3,500-square-foot house is called a “rammed earth home,” which means its walls were built using the raw materials of earth including sand, gravel, water and 10 percent Portland cement. The three-bedroom house was built last year using reclaimed standing dead local Douglas Fir trees and recycled paper or “rainstone” for its exterior siding. The builder is in the process of getting the home certified by Built Green Canada. 

    Neighborhood: Host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler is best known for its skiing and snowboarding, kayaking route and popular golf courses. The house is located in an older neighborhood that’s a 15-minute walk to the resort village. The city of Whistler has led a number of environmental initiatives, such as its biodiesel bus fleet and a hydroelectric proposal that would power its Blackcomb ski resort, including 270 snow guns, 38 ski lifts and 17 restaurants.

    Selling point: A green home without the earthship ugly.

    View the listing here(new window).

  • 541 SW Maplecrest Ct., Portland, Ore.

    Image: Portland home for sale

    Price: $549,950

    Features: The three-bedroom house has stainless steel appliances, birch cabinetry and butcher-block countertops. The house is LEED Platinum certified and touts Energy Star fiberglass windows and appliances, radiant heat floors and a potable rain water system with capacity to supply most of the household's need. The owner says the wood floors were harvested from a fir tree taken down on the site and promises no toxic paints, glues or finishes were used in construction.

    Neighborhood: The most populated city in Oregon, Portland is often selected as one of the "greenest cities in America" for its urban planning, bicycling community and green building programs. The city boasts 92,000 acres of green space and more than 74 miles of hiking, running, and biking trails.

    Selling point: Your chance to ditch your gas-guzzler too: the house is one block from public transit and bike corridors and you can walk to a nearby park, restaurants and shopping.

    View the listing here (new window).

  • 4535 County Line Rd., Emmett, Idaho

    Image: Idaho home for sale

    Price: $550,000

    Features: Still under construction, the three-bedroom house is being built with recycled steel grain bins that the owner saw for sale in a newspaper ad. The rest of the home is constructed of spray foam and used brick. Concrete floors are heated with hydronic heat and the rest of the house will be heated via hot water air handlers, which is fan-forced air from a hot water boiler. The house has views of Bogus Basin Ski Resort.

    Neighborhood: The house sits on five acres in Emmett, a rural town with a population of 6,341 people that was home to a paper manufacturing facility until 2001. It’s about 45 minutes from Boise.

    Selling point: Live in your very own giant recycled grain silo.

    View the listing here (new window).

  • Previously in Open House:

    Disaster survivors for sale
    For sale near major universities
    Homes near national parks

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