Last week, The Washington Post reported on a phenomenon that’s something of an anomaly in the world of green housing: a planned community of net-zero energy homes with price tags that don’t contain an excessive number of zeros. While certainly not the norm, developments like said community — North Pointe in historic downtown Frederick, Md. — is an encouraging sign of things to come.

North Pointe was developed by NexusEnergy Homes and contains 55 single-family homes, townhouses, and duplexes boasting a laundry list of features — the Washington Post calls it “green bling" — that you’d normally find in more spendy sustainable homes: super-tight building envelopes with walls made of structurally insulated panels (SIPs); a home energy management system called NexusVision; geothermal cooling and heating; rainwater harvesting; a whole-house air cleaning system; EnergyStar appliances and LED and CFL lighting; recycled glass countertops, recycled content carpeting, and bamboo flooring; and last, but not least, rooftop solar arrays that help each home reach net-zero energy status

The price tag for a fully equipped green dream home in a vibrant, carefully planned community with an excellent Walk Score of 83? Prices for the homes, which range in size from 1,300 square feet to 2,850 square feet start at $264,000.

The prices drop even further (as much as $17,000) when you factor in federal tax credits and the Maryland state grants available to owners of renewable energy producing abodes. And then, of course, there’s the financial benefits of living in a home that produces just as much as energy as it consumes. That is unless the homeowners "install 15 plasma TVs or add a beauty salon in the basement" as Mike Murphy, executive vice president of NexusEnergy Homes, points out. 

The North Pointe model home opened back in June and seven buyers have put down deposits so far. NexusEnergy Homes anticipates that if sales continue at this rate, all 55 homes will be constructed within 18 months. In addition to North Pointe, NexusEnergy Homes has “GeoSolar” communities underway in Stevensville and McHenry, both in Maryland.

For more on North Pointe, head on over to the Washington Post to read the full article and to check out a guide on what to look for when purchasing a new green home. Also take a few minutes to explore both the official North Pointe website to learn more about the community itself as well as the NexusEnergy Homes website to see what makes these inexpensive eco-homes so special. 

Net-zero or not, what are your thoughts on green planned communities like North Pointe? Do you live in one?

 Via [Washington Post]

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

The price is most certainly right: Affordable net-zero housing hits Maryland
North Pointe, a planned community of environmentally sustainable single-family homes, duplexes and townhouse in Frederick, Md., does away with the sticker shock