The green homes you get for the money: the general housing market may not look so great, but the green housing market is a different story, especially in the Asheville area. And you can get a variety of green features in homes across the price spectrum.

Author:Spaulding, Patricia
 
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You've read about Asheville blazing the green home trail with their creation of a green Multiple Listing Service system (see page 10). We're also blazing the trail with the sheer amount of coo-friendly real estate options to list there. You'll find these green homes at a variety of price points: under $250,000, between $250,000 and $500,000, and over $500,000.

Two third party certifications for green homes can be listed in the Western North Carolina MLS: Energy Star (ES) and NC HealthyBuilt Home (HBH), which includes the requirements for Energy Star certification and more.

There are currently 232 homes in Haywood, Buncombe, Madison, Yancy, McDowell and Rutherford Counties that are listed as either Energy Star or HealthyBuilt. *

Of the 232 homes, 227 are in Buncombe County, and they fall into the categories of condominium, townhome, single-family residence and preconstruction--homes which could wind up in any of the categories once built. This is how homes are listed by real estate brokers in the MLS. Just because a home is not listed as preconstruction doesn't mean it's already built, however. And just because a home is listed as a single-family residence doesn't mean it isn't a townhome. For the purpose of this article, however, let's assume everything is listed accurately. In general, currently listed green homes in Buncombe County breakdown as follows:

Under $250,000

Condos

As you can see from the chart at left, there are a lot of HealthyBuilt condos in this range. With a condo, you can get a lot for your money. Most of these are actually preconstruction (not built yet) in Huntington Park, a proposed residential condominium community very near downtown Asheville. Skyloft Asheville, another condo community very near downtown, has one unit in this category. Four of the condos are in Gala, a community of 15 homes; these homes are mostly detached and are within walking' distance to downtown West Asheville.

The association fee for Gala is $116 per month, and the community offers several coo-features--from a shared organic garden to a meditation garden space. The homes themselves have solar hot water and radiant floor heat with mini-split AC systems for cooling; that means no ductwork and better indoor air quality. They range from 1,005 to 1,300 square feet with single, detached carports. They also have high levels of insulation for increased efficiency, no-VOC paints and dual-flush toilets.

Skyloft has an association fee of $141 per month. You can expect to pay more since the development is closer to downtown Asheville. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom, bamboo- and cork-floored condo is 850 square feet with a single garage in the basement. Eco-features include concrete countertops and a heat pump for heating and cooling.

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The Huntington Park condos are planned to be two bedrooms/two bathrooms from 1,012 to 1,234 square feet. Floors will be hardwood. Heating and cooling will be electric. Also included are garages, elevators and a fitness center. The association fee has not been decided.

The two Energy Star condos currently listed are in Biltmore Park, a planned urban development about 15 minutes from downtown Asheville. These one-bedroom/one-bath energy-efficient condos have heat pumps with tile and hardwood floors, as well as carpet. They are 819 and 833 square feet with association fees of about $200. There are no garages, but a community center with shopping and entertainment options as well as a pool and billiards is included.

Townhomes

Townhomes are another great way to get more for your money in this price range. The Penley Avenue townhomes in Woodfin are the least expensive HealthyBuilt Homes on the market right now and start...

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