green

Keller Williams Realtor Beth Johnson (far right) helped bring the “green home” market to North Texas. Recently she spoke about the innovations and disruptions environmentally-friendly building has brought to the industry at a panel hosted by the Dallas Builders Association.

Beth Johnson has been championing environmental causes for decades. The Keller Williams agent was the first Realtor in the nation to achieve the green “Quadruple Crown.” She’s been certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), EcoBroker, NAR Green, and Certified Green Professionals.

In layman’s terms, that means she’s been trained and certified by the country’s major green accreditation programs, and knows a thing or two about building an eco-friendly home.

Before starting her real estate career in 2005, Johnson spent nearly three decades working in environmental advocacy for area nonprofits. During that time, she lobbied for clean air, clean water, and wilderness protection. When it came time to build her own custom home, she wanted to make it as green as possible.

However, she soon discovered that Realtors in the field literally didn’t know what she was talking about. She began to think that maybe there was a business model there. People like her needed someone who understood the issues and could match environmentally inclined buyers and sellers together. (more…)

Chris-Craft-House

The Chris Craft House, designed by architect Vince Snyder, at 22 Vanguard Way in Urban Reserve, the brainchild of Dallas developer Diane Cheatham.

Dallas developer Diane Cheatham is a dedicated modernist and committed environmentalist.

As CEO of Urban Edge Developers, Ltd., Cheatham has brought those values to her work in multiple settings, from small infill condos and townhomes that won multiple design awards, to her masterpiece at Urban Reserve, a signature modern neighborhood that uses sustainable features creatively.

Diane Cheatham

Diane Cheatham

It’s a trend she’s happy to say is showing up more in North Texas.

“I see more developers and builders responding to consumer demand by building modern and green,” Cheatham said. “The style is much more accepted in Dallas now, and a growing segment of homebuyers are interested in green building and a more modern aesthetic. I’d like to see more developers thinking out of the box, providing more options at all price levels.”

Cheatham envisions and creates enclaves that are both eco-friendly and people-friendly. At Urban Reserve, for example, a reservoir that gets neighborhood run-off water is used to irrigate common spaces and individual lawns. Every house is required to have LEED-H certification. Her own house at 1 Vanguard Way, which she shares with her husband Chuck, has geothermal heating and cooling, energy-saving windows, and an 18,000-gallon cistern that collects rain runoff from the roof. Homeowners in the community are encouraged “not to do the standard Dallas fences,” and many of the homes feature indoor-outdoor living spaces that encourage interaction with neighbors and passers-by.

These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Urban Reserve has earned multiple recognition and awards, like the 2007 Dallas AIA Excellence in Sustainable Design, 2007 CLIDE Award (Celebrating Leadership in Development Excellence), and a 2009 award from Eco-Structure Magazine, where Urban Reserve was distinguished as one of seven innovative projects.

All this took rule-breaking by Cheatham as she customized street widths to slow traffic, created rain gardens and retention ponds, and made the basic infrastructure and layout of the development conducive to her overall vision.

“It’s taken longer than expected, but there are only six lots of the 50 left and work is proceeding on six homes with eight more in various stages of design,” she said. “The realization of Urban Reserve has been the hardest [of all my projects], and as it nears completion, it is also the most satisfying. Being out there on the cutting edge proved to be more complicated than I anticipated.”

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43 Vanguard Front

I love Urban Reserve for many reasons, most of which coincide with my general adoration for modern architecture. Another reason to love Urban Reserve, a Matthews | Nichols development East of 75 and North of Royal Lane, is the focus on sustainability.

Of course, some people have bought lots in this fantastic subdivision to build groundbreaking dream homes with forward-thinking designs that you’d most often see in the pages of Architectural Digest, or any of the seemingly endless supply of Pinterest pages and Houzz idea books that celebrate modern architecture. But if you’re not the type of person who would wait four or five years between design and move-in, then perhaps 43 Vanguard Way is a better idea. You can quell your love for modern design and sustainability with this incredible LEED platinum home.

43 Vanguard Living

With 1,200 square feet and two bedrooms and two baths, this home is great for someone who wants to downsize but not sacrifice on design. In fact, that’s exactly the purpose behind the design by DSGN Associates, which was featured on the 2012 AIA Dallas Tour of Homes.

DSGN Associates was tasked with designing a budget-savvy but personalized “home base” for a pair of empty nesters. Vanguard Way is the result, a compact, two-bedroom home achieving high livability and high sustainability at an affordable cost. A collaborative effort between DSGN Associates, the client and the developer, this home takes advantage of a unique site to create an open, efficient plan with controlled views to a sunny garden. A generous roof deck provides a second outdoor living space and dynamic views to the adjacent DART line.

Generous windows on the south facade, balanced by small skylights, allow ample natural light during the winter months to all major rooms while a generous roof overhang shields the interior from harsh summer sun. Other sustainability features include advanced wood framing, Echoshel cedar shingle panels installed as a rain screen, photovoltaic solar array, geothermal heat pump HVAC, and energy recovery ventilation.

We love the interior features of this home, which includes polished concrete floors, sliding wall-hung doors, and beautiful windows from which you can admire your treehouse-type view.

43 Vanguard Dining

This gorgeous home is marketed by Briggs-Freeman Sotheby’s agent Christy Berry for $415,000. For an award-winning structure such as this, it sounds like a fabulous bargain. What do you think?

43 Vanguard Kitchen 43 Vanguard Bedroom 43 Vanguard Bath 43 Vanguard Porch 43 Vanguard Porch 2 43 Vanguard Side