Gaia, Asheville's First Green Community Weathers the Economic Downturn

Gaia community aerial photo

photo: Eco Concepts

You can't help but to love Asheville, an eco-fabulous haven tucked into the picturesque mountains that consume the western portion of North Carolina. Recent construction in and around the community, however, has begun to cloud the character of this bohemian paradise. In response, the creators of a new "urban village" are attempting to set a new tone for Asheville construction. But how is this moderately priced community coping with the worst economic downturn since the Depression?Gaia, Asheville's first green community makes eco-living more attainable. The homes are available in models ranging from $214,000 to $280,000. The community is aptly named Gaia after the Greek goddess of the Earth and a popular ecological theory holding that the Earth should be treated as a singular living organism.The new community will eventually consist of 15 green built homes in a village setting.

I know what you're thinking. A new community construction project faces some pretty harsh realities considering that American homeowners will collectively will lose more than $2 trillion in home value by the end of 2008. Even worse, an inability for prospective buyers to find financing has left home sales stagnant. Nevertheless, Gaia appears unaffected. With 55 percent of the community already sold and 60 percent built, the community is doing relatively well.

Gaia's Green Elements
Gaia is seriously green. It's HealthyBuilt™ Gold and Energy Star Certified. The project does not use any VOC paint or sealants, and uses bamboo floors instead of carpet. The builders also employ energy efficient air conditioners with no duct work for air quality. Each home has radiant flooring and solar water heating. The community will have organic gardens, as well as community recycling and composting programs.

More on Green Building:
Green Building Breakthrough: LEED Certification on an Everyday Budget
U.S. Green Building Council Launches Catalog of Top-Tier Green Building Ed. Programs
Book Review: Green Building For Dummies

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