World’s Biggest and Most Expensive Green Homes

Green homes are becoming an increasingly popular trend, with eco-friendly dwellings – from apartment buildings to monstrous mansions – popping up all over the world. Unsurprisingly, America’s got the largest of them (we are expecting Dubai to catch up any time now, though). The fact that an unnecessarily large space isn’t very environmentally friendly hasn’t stopped legions of builders and homebuyers from snapping up properties as large as 15,000 square feet. Many have attempted to make up for the excess square footage by piling on as many green features as possible, from solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems to low-VOC finishes and sustainable flooring. Whether or not you agree that you can “have it all” and still be eco-friendly, the parade of ridiculously oversized green homes isn’t likely to stop any time soon.

The U.K. has the most expensive green home that has ever actually been sold: the Orchid House broke records at £7.2 million, or $14.2 million USD. This house, however, isn’t nearly as large as the others on this list at 2400 square feet. The cost works out to roughly $6,000 per square foot. Set to be built on the Lower Mill Estate, a 450-acre nature preserve in Cotswold, the home features cutting-edge design and aims to generate more energy than it consumes through geothermal heating. The form is created using laminated veneer lumber clad with timber shingles imprinted with a camouflage pattern. The buyer chose to remain anonymous.

The developers responsible for building 995 Longbow Place in Larkspur, Colorado proudly call this 9,800 square foot home “one of the greenest luxury homes ever built.” Somehow, they see this home as having a “small footprint” despite its size and a utility bill that, despite being helped out by solar panels, costs a paltry $350 per month. In a press release, Legendary Properties boasts, “Four additional solar electric panels produce enough electricity to run the home’s six refrigerators.” Recycled and reclaimed wood, non-toxic blow-in insulation and low VOC finishes round out the green aspects of the home, and the asking price when it was up for sale last fall was a mere $4.5 million.

In another area of Florida, developer Frank McKinney has built Acqua Liana, the world’s largest and most expensive green home. Pictured above, this Manalapan monstrosity costs a whopping $29 million and is the subject of a documentary called The Green Giant. Acqua Liana measures 15,000 square feet and its green features include enough solar panels to cover a regulation-sized basketball court, gray water system, reclaimed wood and ultra-efficient cooling systems. 34,000 pounds of debris and trash from the construction process were recycled. The home will be completed and put up for sale in late 2008.

Above is an architect’rendering of a model available at Windermere on the Lake, a community of majestic eco-friendly lakeside homes’ located in Stamford, Connecticut (the first photo is the model home at this same community). It clocks in at roughly 7,000 square feet and its optional features include an elevator, wine cellar, home theater, exercise room, a “landmark tower”, low VOC-paint, geothermal HVAC and Smart House energy controls. Three other models are available, and they range between $3.2 – $4.8 million. You might consider this a “starter monster green home”, as they only get bigger and more expensive from here.

Developer Jeff Ricketts is building himself a 12,000 square foot green home in Tampa, Florida. The house will have geothermal HVAC, 700 square feet of solar panels, low voltage LED lighting, low flow toilets and the highest quality insulation. Ricketts aims for the home to be LEED certified at the platinum level, which is the highest level attainable in the U.S. Green Building Coalition’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Ricketts declined to say how much the 10-bedroom, two-story house was costing him.