Green Living in Luxury Homes
The Urban Sustainable Living Future: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You
Green Living. A few years ago, that tiny phrase might have initiated an article on those little extraterrestrial green guys from Mars! It’s all quite different now. My consciousness has expanded, and the term ‘green living’ now resides in its own folder on my brain’s jump drive – the folder that contains the files entitled new urbanism, sustainable living community, green living tips, urban living ideas, biodegradable school buses and wind powered iPods. I’ve just uploaded a few kilobytes of new phrases this week after an unexpected joyride to Manhattan where I discovered the existence of green luxury homes and green luxury apartments! When I previously thought of green living in green homes, I must admit that I envisioned farmer Bob and his wife Nancy in Sears overalls, refueling their VW bus (with the Woodstock Festival sticker still on the back bumper) with a solar and grease powered organic garden bed and power generator. That might be a tad too reminiscent of a Little House on The Prairie episode morphed in a fever dream with one from Gilligan’s Island. But green living in a luxury home – I’m in!
Unless we want to do a disappearing act in the future, our ultimate desire is sustainable life here on a sustainable planet. That global view is often challenging to focus on because it’s difficult from week to week just sustaining yourself. You barely have enough time to accomplish getting sleep, meeting your obligations, eating well and fitting in the fun things. Life is not always a well-oiled machine. Instead it is a constant flux, a morph from one possibility to another, often as shapeless as a cloud. Sometimes you sparkle in the sunlight and empowerment to change the world abounds. Sometimes rain bursts through foggy gray in random patterns that soak and scatter all your pending plans.
It’s tricky to look into the future. What is the precedent? Do you gaze through a clear lens of positivity, or a colored filter of doom and gloominess? I try to take in the view from a vantage point somewhere in the middle, tossing practicality in the blender with chunks of reality, to pour out a smoothie that is healthy for me, without the icky medicinal aftertaste.
I believe that there has to be a thread of continuity from generation to generation because life is one big hand-me-down. As we move through future time, everything we do on the planet should be over the soundtrack of a global four ‘r’ mantra chant – ‘reduce reuse recycle and rethink’.
Of all the living choices – rural, ‘burbs or urban –city life is the easiest one to disconnect from our natural habitat of nature, from our connection to the earth. Concrete, glass, tar, bricks, noise and smells all surround the small bits of grass and trees that just remain within the parks. Everyone seems to be using their Starbucks double-shot energy to propel them through their day on hard pavement, with little time for thoughts that turn to ponder sustainable living.
Sustainable Green Luxury Apartments? Please Say That Again, I Must Have Heard You Wrong!
Green apartments? Come on –ha, ha! Funny NY joke. When I rubbed the genie lamp and wished for ‘luxurious green living in a cosmopolitan atmosphere’, he said, “Dear, maybe you should think of something else!”
But outside of the Disney movie environment, genies actually get it wrong sometimes! Can an elevator in today’s time zone bring me up to a luxury home that embodies green technology? I think I found the answer – it’s a definite yes! Right in Manhattan midtown there is a green home design, using green construction materials, and it wonderfully creates a real time model that should be the norm for all future urban apartments rising up from the ground.
I have to admit all this future green idealism was not on the tip of my tongue until one of my close friends picked me up from my Westchester County home to see a luxury New York City apartment she was considering. Called Emerald Green, right off the bat the name connected with my inner jewelry child. Ultimately, it got my attention much more than some charm dangling on a wrist. Green apartment living – in a major city – that was new territory to my awareness of the environment. I am so glad I took the drive downtown.
The Emerald Green Apartments is a sustainable green apartment development on West 38th Street walking distance to Penn Station, the NYC subway system, Broadway theaters, the Metropolitan Opera Bryant Park and Madison Square Garden. The neighborhood is a cultural mix of entertainment, cafes, restaurants and world class shopping, and the building itself is an innovative piece of art, a future green environment existing today. As we pulled into the 400 space parking garage, we circled past multiple electric car charging stations. I had never even seen one before! The whole luxurious complexfrom the yoga stretching room overlooking the garden courtyard to the roof terraces with reflective heat technology, is built with a high percentage of recycled-content green construction material from regional sources. Water efficient plumbing, sustainable bamboo wood flooring, VOC-free interior paint, Energy Star appliances, CRI green label certified custom designed Axminster carpeting, green roofs utilizing recaptured water for irrigation, building wide water filtration system, occupancy sensors to keep lights off when not needed in common areas, everything far exceeds the NYS Energy Code. It all got my brain twirling. This amazing display of sustainable green home design – in a NYC apartment no less – is the precursor to what we will see in future green cities. It is what we can envision throughout the world as we look into the near and distant future through our clear proactive lens to find a paradigm shift. It is tomorrow here today. Oh, I almost forgot, everything is maintained and cleaned only with green cleaning supplies. It’s a bleach and ammonia free zone. Remarkable!
Urban Sustainable Living Community – On THIS Planet?
This green trend continued, because on the drive home we stopped in Westchester County to dine with mutual friends who were excited to share with us that next month they are moving to a lifestyle creation they call “New Urbanism.” – They described the location as luxury condo living tied in with the ultimate luxury lifestyle. This sustainable living community nestled within a self-contained, personal cocoon of a hilltop village that provides everything you need without having to get in the car and waste precious time and expensive oil. Monarch at Ridge Hill is going to be their new home in the world of modern living, and it really sounds like something from the future that’s ready for prime time. A new version of suburban life, with sophisticated entertainment, shopping and dining – all available within a mini walk through a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. It’s a self-contained city built from the ground up with all the amenities we need to help us get through the day.
Over dinner, we were swirling up brainstorms on how to save the future generations from the doom of a decaying planet. By the time we closed the dessert menus, we were defining and perfecting our patent application for solar powered Giuseppe Zanotti pumps, when a gentleman from the opposite table leaned over to pitch himself as our technical advisor for this worthy endeavor. Turns out he worked over the bridge in New Jersey for EnterSolar, a company that installs, consults, advises and assesses corporate solar energy needs. We instantly cut him in for 26.8% of all profits from future sales of our high end designer shoes capable of walking you home from a tired night, using power they claimed from the sunlight during the day.
Well, it was a great and fascinating day, and it all took shape from that initial shapeless morning cloud. Sustainable green living, green apartments, new urbanism, solar power – all combining in the blender to make a drink I’d never tasted before, one with new flavors challenging me to savor deeper layers of life as we know it. I saw a view beyond the mirror that only shows me and it was a thoughtful look into a future green world that is not destined to spin down a dead end. Green living does not have to be in a tent with a wind up flashlight. A wonderful sustainable lifestyle can be maintained with green diligence and awareness put into practice, but still embodied by the ongoing self-sustaining luxury that a spoiled brat from the ‘burbs – I refuse to mention my name – is accustomed to.