This past weekend, I visited an eco community, Hickory Nut Forest, south of Asheville, NC. Orginally invited my brother and his wife to join us, thinking it was an intentional community as well; they’ve been doing some research on these communities. I mistakenly called them “thoughtful” communities when I couldn’t recall the word “intentional.” They are thoughtful, if you think about it. Little man calls them cults but anyway, Hickory Nut Forest is neither. It is a lovely neighborhood on 270 acres with lush vegetation, streams, and even an apple orchard. Most noteworthy, their dedication to green building and preserving the surrounding land excedes other communities. We toured Laughing Waters, the main lodge that serves the community and is also available for retreats. Some shots of Laughing Waters and surrounding area.
We viewed the water turbine that takes advantage of a significant drop in the water on the property, and as a result, provides all the electricity to Laughing Waters. The home tour was the prior weekend but one homeowner graciously opened his doors and showed us his eco home, fueled by the sun. He explained his green philosophy this way:
G – grant local artists the chance to craft items for the house
R – respect the land on which you build
E – energy…use alternative sources (his is primarily passive solar)
E – education…as in giving tours to green wannabes such as ourselves
What impressed me most about this eco friendly home was its modesty both in size and decoration…modest yes, but big on detail. He painstakingly explained how electric wires were buried in the wood beams, the types of wood and why they were chosen, how the solar energy was stored in the walls and under all three floors, all the care taken by local artists to craft items specifically for this house and on and on. It was truly impressive and a dedication to green building I’d never seen. It was a great opportunity to learn what it might actually take to be LEED certified. With more and more folks educating themselves and builders devoted to this, hopefully it’s only a matter of time before LEED features are in all homes.