By Trish Holder
LG was kind enough to bring me down to Serenbe for the opening of the Proud Green Home, a zero energy home in a very unique community in the Chattahoochee Hill Country southwest of Atlanta, Georgia. Like all other homes in the sustainable community of Serenbe, the Fine Green Home is a certified by
EarthCraft, a residential green building program designed to address the climate conditions of the southeast like high heat, humidity and wide temperature swings.
The certification program has been around since 1999, and while I haven’t experienced the living conditions of an EarthCraft home myself, I do appreciate the fact that the program is based on the unique regional characteristics where a home is built, whether it is northern Virginia, or the Gulf Coast of Florida. Every climate region faces its own building and building systems’ challenges – something few homeowners understand when they embark on building a custom home.
My host, LG, was one of several sponsors for the Proud Green Home and provided the HVAC system, solar panels, home appliances and consumer electronics. I look forward to sharing some information about the LG Multi-V Mini ductless system in upcoming blog. For now, I simply want to introduce my readers to this community. Chances are you never knew such a place existed.
What is Serenbe?
Serenbe has been described as the “environmentally sustainable antidote to urban sprawl.” I’d say that’s a pretty apt description. There’s a farm, a garden, an inn, several restaurants, quaint shopping areas, miles and miles of walking trails, a farmer’s market, an amphitheater, acres upon acres rolling pastures with horses, goats, and cows, and picturesque streets that include every type of home from live/work lofts to estate-like homes.
I’m not sure that size really matters in Serenbe, although I would say most of the homes are modest in size and designed to optimize their footprint. All are built under the guidelines of EarthCraft homes and are built more to suit the land and climate rather than the homogenizing rules of typical residential developers whose goals are to cram as many homes of a certain appraisal value as possible onto a parcel of land.
I loved the diversity of home styles from farmhouses to cottages to sleek modern structures like the Proud Green Home — all built right next to each other. I enjoyed the variety of siding and roofing choices. I even liked that the houses were placed quite close to each to each other. With so much architectural diversity and thoughtful landscaping, it didn’t matter that you could see into the backyards of six neighboring homes. It was picturesque from any angle. Besides that, the built areas of the community are completely surrounded by farmland and wooded areas. Nothing seems out of place or violated on the Serenbe landscape.
A Different Set of Standards….
All of the homes in Serenbe are designed to meet high standards in indoor air quality, energy efficiency, water efficiency, material efficiency, waste management and site planning. Contrast that with the guidelines of my own
suburban neighborhood, where no one cared what type of HVAC system I used or how many bloated snake-like lengths of flex duct that I used, as long as I didn’t dare build a house that was too small or use any siding other than brick.
Having seen how desirable a community like Serenbe can be made me wonder how and why the residential building industry evolved into the peculiar, shortsighted industry that it has. And it made me wonder what existing neighborhoods could do be a bit more….Serenbe-esque.
Regardless, my brief visit to Serenbe left me feeling very eager to share more about this community and the mix of people that live there. I want to know what it’s like to build there and to live there. I want to know if it is as great as it looks. With any luck, perhaps I’ll be able to persuade a few Serenbe residents to share their own stories—firsthand.
Stay-tuned for more.