Borrow ideas from HGTV’s Green Home

  • By Felicia Feaster The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Wednesday, May 30, 2012 8:36pm
  • Life

ATLANTA — As idea houses go, the HGTV Green Home 2012 in the sustainable community of Serenbe near Atlanta is a great place to start if you are building or renovating ina green state of mind.

The home offers a bonanza of green materials and tips, from a kitchen counter made with seashells and Sweetwater bottles to outdoor furniture created from recycled plastic milk jugs.

Designer Linda Woodrum transformed a 50-year-old cedar fence “headed for the landfill” she noted, into a coffee table and two oversize mirrors. Metal chicken feed bowls became striking wall art in the home’s Georgia room, a fresh take on the front porch.

The three-bedroom, 2½-bath HGTV Green Home is founded on obvious green features such as solar panels for generating electricity. But the home’s emphasis on connection to nature and ease of living are part of its green features, too.

On the second level, a courtyard patio with built-in grill is easily accessed from numerous rooms, expanding the sense of space. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows on three sides lend a feeling of transparency, openness and connection to that outdoor space. A clever hallway with a built-in craft station and table affords children a space to do homework or artwork.

“Part of being green is about creating the best lifestyle for the way you really live,” Woodrum said. “The craft area is really about creating a dedicated space for the ‘messy’ parts of our lives.”

“Smaller, better-planned homes are more economical in many ways,” said Woodrum of a house that Walsh noted is “only 2,300 square feet, but ends up feeling like 4,000.”

But the HGTV Green Home is just one way to load your brain with the kind of cutting-edge sustainable ideas that dominate the daily life and thoughts of Serenbe founder and entrepreneur Steve Nygren, who created the holistic community.

“When we were talking about environmentally responsible development a decade ago, everyone sort of  laughed and thought we were some liberals,” Nygren said. “We’re really mainstream now.”

Furthering that environmental agenda, this month, just down the road from the HGTV Green Home, Serenbe will debut the only existing Bosch Experience Center, an educational showroom created by a company known for automotive, industrial and building technology. The center will highlight sustainable features, including a professional-grade kitchen, power tools, security system and solar-powered hot water, all featuring Bosch technology and products.

And next door is a Bosch Net Zero show home, meaning power is created by the home itself. Featuring decor by Ballard Designs, the Net Zero Home is a living model of sustainability featuring geothermal heat pumps, roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels to produce electrical energy for the home and solar thermal systems.

See the homes

For more on the HGTV Green Home 2012, go to You can also enter to win it on their website before Friday.

For more on the sustainable community of Serenbe, go to

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