In the event that you missed the massive, countrywide 14 Annual National Solar Tour last weekend and you’re still jonesing for a green open house of any sort, here’s an idea (at least for folks in the DC Metro area):

The CharityWorks GreenHouse in McLean, Va., will open its doors to the public this Saturday and they’ll stay open — well, check the official hours before heading out — until October 30th. Admittance tickets are on the steep-ish side at $25/a head for advance online sales and $30 at the door but from the sounds of it, visitors will be getting their money’s worth. Plus, proceeds benefit local organizations like the Friendship Public Charter School and The McLean Project for the Arts.

Designed by Cunningham | Quill Architects and built by GreenSpur, the carbon-neutral, mostly-constructed-from-recycled/reclaimed-materials CharityWorks GreenHouse was erected to serve as a model home of sustainability. At 4,000-square feet and boasting a wine cellar, pool, spa, and “virtual golf room,” the Craftsman style home may ruffle a few feathers because of its generous size and perhaps superfluous bells and whistles. However, the truly efficient design of the house — it consumes 70 to 80 percent less energy per square foot than a comparable new home —  overrules any unnecessary lavishness. It includes a geothermal system, solar hot water system, photovoltaic panels, green roof, native landscaping, low-flow fixtures, rainwater recycling system, and Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS).

Perhaps the most notable aspects of the GreenHouse are the rooms themselves. They've been outfitted by a brigade of 18 designers who worked their magic under the direction of a 10-page book of eco-guidelines. The goal was to enhance the “health, safety and welfare” of the home’s future occupants so expect nontoxic paints and finishes, energy-efficient appliances, plenty of natural fabrics, and a fair share of antiques and other upcycled objects.

The main message of this show house is you don't have to sacrifice comfort or luxury to live a carbon-neutral existence.
Killer. If you plan to hit up the CharityWorks GreenHouse over the next couple of weeks, pop on back to this post and let us hear your thoughts? Did the builders and designers get the “green meets luxury” scheme down pat or did it seem off balance? 

And while you're at it, check out Re-Nest's sneak peek at the inside of the CharityWorks GreenHouse. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Mighty and green in McLean
The "sensible, sustainable and spectacular" CharityWorks GreenHouse opens Saturday in McLean, Va. Stop by to see what all the fuss is about.