10 Clever and Crazy 'Green' Homes For Sale

Green doesn’t necessarily mean Birkenstocks, granola and a lack of style. As the sustainable movement has become more than just a passing trend, homes that are green — either by design or function — are becoming a little less stark and a little more fashion forward.


One thing to note first off, however, is that “green” can mean a variety of things, and it’s common to find “green” elements in many homes today. While new apartments and condos have counter tops made out of recycled materials or beams constructed with reclaimed wood, the homes featured below take it a step further. Many, at a very minimum, comply with the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a third-party verification that the building was designed and built with an aim to improve performance in: “energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.” 

The final standard of green goes all the way down to the bones of the house; the size of it and how it’s situated on a plot of land. As architect Richard Taylor notes, “A truly green home is green from the inside out; the ‘green’ can’t be separated from the ‘home.’ ”

By Erika Riggs - Zillow



(undisclosed address) Penngrove, CA
For Sale: $5,300,000

This Penngrove, CA home is more of a piece of art than real estate. Constructed in 1997, the home was designed by artist and entrepreneur John Holmes and was recognized by Metropolitan Home Magazine (no longer in print) as one of America’s top 10 homes. Holmes created the house using all found materials, from recycled steel beams, local field stones to rebuilt industrial steel casement windows. The home is segmented into different living areas—the main house contains the master bedroom and living room, dominated by a huge stone fireplace. Other bedrooms and guest suites are arranged around the Sonoma County property.



3402 Mount Bonnell Road Austin, TX:
For Sale: $3,150,000

 This ultra-contemporary home seemingly perches on a platform above Lake Austin and features 180-degree views of the lake and Mount Bonnell. The floor-to-ceiling low-emissivity windows (commonly called "low e") reduce the total heat flow through the glass, thus better controlling the home's climate.

The 5-bedroom, 5.5-bath home was constructed entirely from plantation-grown trees and includes a full kitchen, dining room, living room and custom 83-foot lap pool. The standing metal butterfly roof collects rainwater and stores it in a 5,000-gallon tank beneath the house. Austin real estate is currently a hot commodity with home values registering at $235,000.



(undisclosed address) East Hampton, NY:
For Sale: $745,000

Want to cut your energy bill in half? How about not pay one at all? This modern pad in East Hampton (Long Island) requires little or no outside energy from fossil fuels or electrical utilities, relying instead on solar photocells and geothermal heat.

The 3-bedroom, 2-bath home has been on the East Hampton real estate market since 2008 with several price cuts, sitting now at a price significantly below the East Hampton median home value of $1,842,000.



45 Thompson Trl Sedona, AZ:
For Sale: $1,249,000

If it’s good enough for the Great Wall of China, it’s good enough for this home. This piece of Sedona real estate is made of “rammed earth,” one of the most ancient, yet sustainable, building techniques. The method involves compacting raw earth — most commonly soil, gravel and chalk — into thin layers to form thick, sturdy walls. Those thick walls contain thermal mass and retain heat during the day and slowly release it at night, keeping energy costs minimal. Not only are rammed-earth homes inexpensive to build — you can source material right from the property — it’s fire and rodent-resistant and can last for years.

This 2-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home was custom-built in 1999 and also includes recycled newspaper and fiber insulation, retractable awnings over the windows, reclaimed hardwood floors and custom-iron railings.



(undisclosed address) West Cape May, NJ:
For Sale: $1,200,000

Nearly everything can be used as a building material, and this LEED-certified home on the West Cape May real estate market proves it. The home’s roof is made from recycled diapers creating a look “that resembles slate” and its cabinets are built from sunflower seed hulls. The pool is cleaned using water vegetation rather than chlorine and the roof is topped off with local greenery.

The 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath home also includes a 3-car garage with solar-energy outlets, sun deck and private courtyard. Its green — and unusual — amenities push it far over West Cape May home values of $449,000.



2380 W Shell St Martinez, CA 94553:
For Sale: $399,000

This newer green home on the Martinez, CA real estate market is the most affordable home on the list. At $399,000, it hits close to median Martinez home values of $301,900. From the corrugated steel exterior, to the low-flow toilets, and recycled kitchen flooring — many of this home’s aesthetics are designed to keep energy use and cost low.

This 1,420-square-feet home includes three bedrooms and two bathrooms.



165 Auhana Rd Kihei, HI:
For Sale: $495,000

Reduce your carbon footprint and live in Hawaii — what could be better? This home was designed in 2003 by architect Hans Riecke as an early example of green construction. Positioned on the property to reduce heat intrusion, the home also includes a solar-powered water heater, and galvanized siding to absorb heat.

At $495,000, this piece of Kihea real estate is quite affordable for Hawaii real estate.Median Hawaii home values hit at $437,000. The 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home has partial ocean views and is zoned for an additional beach cottage.



(undisclosed address) Amagansett, NY:
For Rent: $11,000/month

It’s not for sale, but for $11,000 a month, you can experience low energy bills on the mid-Atlantic coast. Solar panels power the home’s electricity, while an open floor plan and large windows create an airy and bright living space. The 3,700-square-foot home includes four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, an outdoor shower, office and “cook’s kitchen.”

Although within driving distance of ocean beaches, the 1.8-acre Amagansett rental is incredibly private.


11753 Newton Dr Westminster CO:
For Sale: $519,000

Not only does this Westminster, CO home include green amenities, it’s located in Bradburn Village, a planned neighborhood that was designed to foster community and green living, centered around a pedestrian-centric shopping center.

The 2,849-sq ft home is powered by solar panels and includes a continuous-flow tankless water heater.

Additionally, the 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home has a mud room, gourmet kitchen, formal dining room, breakfast nook and balcony accessible from the master suite.

Bradburn Village contains a variety of real estate, from the low $300,000-range to more than a million. Median Westminster home values come in at $154,200.



1752 Brinlee Ct Erda UT
For Sale: $699,500

While several of the homes on this list rely on alternative energy sources, this piece of Erda, UT real estate goes beyond that, relying on a solar inverter system to heat, cool and power the home—excess power created each month is sold back to the Rocky Mountain Power Company.

The 6,556-square-foot home is located on nearly five and a half acres with mountain views and orchard and fenced vegetable garden. The interior of the house is constructed using recycled beams from the Great Salt Lake bridges, while the main level’s hardwood is reclaimed wood from an old Chicago warehouse.

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10 Clever and Crazy 'Green' Homes For Sale

Green doesn’t necessarily mean Birkenstocks, granola and a lack of style. As the sustainable movement has become more than just a passing trend, homes that are green — either by design or function — are becoming a little less stark and a little more fashion forward.

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