Casa Lucca, Bost Custom Homes’ 7,871-square-foot lakeside estate home in Youngsville, has a large footprint. Fortunately, that footprint is green like its surrounding Hidden Lake community, developed in an ecologically sustainable manner by Crescent Communities with advice from Audubon International.
During a recent visit to the stone-and-stucco Tuscan villa, builder Rex Bost pointed out several green features that not only can minimize the risk of health hazards, but save money over time. Many of those features were included in consultation with Audubon natural resources manager Sarah Anderson, who emphasizes that how we build homes today can significantly affect the future.
Casa Lucca was built with old reclaimed timbers and bricks considered green because no new trees were cut and no new raw materials mined, which reduces landfill waste. “Using old materials is always beneficial” Anderson explains. “It’s ultimate recycling.” Among the villa’s greenest features are the energy-efficiency devices. These include masonry framing that creates a stronger, quieter and more energy-efficient building envelope than traditional stick framing, and “Icynene” closed-cell spray foam insulation that protects the home from air leakage. The foam-sealed low-E windows reflect radiant energy in summer and retain interior heat in winter.
Of course, this home boasts Energy Star appliances that not only help to save the environment but can also save the homeowner about $80 a year. In addition, overhangs two feet wide help to cool the house in summer and protect it from winter frost.
On the south-facing side of the concrete barrel-tile roof are solar panels that absorb the sun which then heats water for the solar water heater. This roof contains no toxic compounds and will never have to be replaced.
Water saving is accomplished by collecting water from the roof and grounds via Free Rain, Bost’s patented water-harvesting system that provides water for irrigation and the dual-flush toilets that can save 67 percent more water than the average toilet. That system could save more than 500,000 gallons of potable water usage in one year.
To reduce indoor toxic emissions, the paints, stains and varnishes throughout the home have no or low VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Many interior surfaces will have no paint at all. Instead, “American Clay” plaster will provide beautiful textures in an array of natural colors. The carpet is made from recycled material to minimize the off-gassing frequently responsible for health problems like asthma and allergies.
This is the first home to feature LLF’s LED recessed light fixtures throughout. Developed here in the Triangle, these fixtures offer the same amount of light as standard fixtures, but use only 11 watts of power and emit considerably less heat. They last up to 20 years.
For these and other green features in Casa Lucca — designated the 2007 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society House — Bost Homes will receive Audubon’s highest recognition, the Five Leaf Award.
Rex Bost, a member of the Raleigh-Wake HBA’s Green Building Council, predicts that once the green rating systems become standardized the public will understand the importance of green building and it will become mainstream. ”That should bring down costs for more efficient appliances, low VOC paints, foam insulation, etc.”
Casa Lucca will be completed in September. Among its luxury features are an exercise studio, main-floor owners’ suite, library, wine cellar, observation tower, three guest suites, two loggias, two verandas, two garages and a Tuscan pool and spa.