by Chris L. Terry
To a home designer, the idea of building a green home can mean restrictions, regulations and complications. But to Jeff Miller of homebuilder ADC Tahoe, green means opportunity.
“I was curious about the LEED certification and took some courses through the National Association of Home Builders,” says Miller. “I decided I wanted to do a house to satisfy my curiosity. People were under the impression that you needed to live off the grid with solar panels on your roof to have a LEED or Energy Star home, but that’s not what either program is about. I wanted to show that a Tahoe-style home could be done green.”
ADC Tahoe started the Green Dream Home at Incline Village after the real estate market started to drop in 2006, and felt lucky to find a level lot to build on. “The project we did is unique,” says Miller. “It’s different from other stuff out there, and it’s in a controlled environment with restrictions on building and protecting the environment.”
With the economy in a freefall, ADC Tahoe knew that it was taking a risk in investing in building this home. “I went against my better judgment and did it, and really enjoyed the process,” says Miller.
Luckily, the thrill was not just in the journey. ADC Tahoe created a website for the house, recruited partners and pitched in for a marketing campaign that culminated in three open houses. “It was amazing how many people came,” says Miller. “A hundred people per open house. People were interested in this stuff.” But the buyer came from within the fold. “My wife liked the house so much that she wanted to move in, and that’s how we ended up living in it,” says Miller.
Miller says that to understand the Green Dream Home, whose dark wood motif outside and in is in direct conversation with the lush woods around the house, one really has to know the allure of Lake Tahoe, a place that he fell in love with while visiting on a ski trip.
Tahoe has a natural beauty that local organizations work hard to conserve. Miller says, “If there are trees or rock outcroppings or a stream running through a lot that you buy, you have to consider all of those things. They don’t want the house to disrupt the environment. They’re trying to protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe.”
This natural conservation ties in with the mission of Tahoe-area planned luxury development Martis Camp, where Miller is now completing a house. Martis is an architectural committee that works with builders during the design process, to be sure that homes built in the development are up to its high standards.
And this conservation is making its way from the law books to the home. “Now even my kids insist upon recycling,” says Miller. “Hopefully this catches on.”