Green Features of Dewees Houses

Tomorrow’s tour will focus on sustainability features of a number of Dewees Homes:

Stop #1:  The Landings Building and Welcome Center:

The Landings building houses the Nature Center and Archives, as well as the mail room and the extra reverse osmosis filtered water where you can refill water bottles.  In the summer, our nature programs are centered here.  Our Ecologist and Nature Interns are housed on the third floor, where you will find our terrapin turtle head-starting program and a library with shared materials.  All plans for homes are kept here, as well as resources for green building.  On the second floor is our touch tank, outside, and the Turtle Store, with Dewees themed items like t-shirts and beach towels.

Stop #2: Lot 128A :

This home has expansive views of the Intercoastal Waterway.  There are bamboo floors throughout.  Other environmentally conscious features of this home include cisterns for collecting water for plants and washing golf carts, as well as a front-loading, high-efficiency washing machine.

Stop #3:  Lot 126:

This home is flooded with natural light from solartubes and glass block walls—guests find themselves searching for the light switches to turn them off because they provide such great light.  One of the bedrooms can be an office by simply folding the Murphy Bed.

Stop #4: Lot 129:

This home uses solar energy for both hot water and electricity.  8 circuits, including the refrigerator and freezer, are powered exclusively by solar power, and additional solar energy is sent back to the grid for net-metering.  The floors and kitchen table are from reclaimed heart pine from an old mill.  A center hall and transom windows disperse light and breeze.  Composting is done with a solar cone on site.

Stop #5: Lot 125:

Geothermal heating and cooling mediate the temperature in this home, which also features a tankless, gas water heater and a vented whole house fan.  The great room has a clearstory ceiling for natural light.  The siding is insect resistant cypress shakes which do not require painting, and decks and railings are made of Ipe, an indestructible, certified plantation grown hardwood.

Stop #6: Lot 124:

This timber-frame home is from certified standing dead wood.  Walls are environmentally friendly American Clay plaster, with the pigment built in.  Exterior siding is allowed to weather in place, eliminating the need for exterior paint.  Heating and cooling are through a geothermal system.

Stop #7:  Lot 21

This oceanfront home is heated and cooled by a geothermal system.  Huge cisterns collect rainwater for pressure washing, irrigation, and cleaning golf carts.  Bamboo floors are throughout the home and bamboo cabinets are used in the kitchen and living room.  There are two tankless water heaters and three tables made from walnut the owners had stored for years.

Stop #8: Lot 24

This home was inspired by old beach cottages with center halls to let the breezes through.  There are reclaimed fixtures and elements throughout, including a leaded glass window that needed a special awning on the outside to provide shade.  Deck chairs are reclaimed from the Biltmore estate, and old ship’s lanterns light your way.  There is a clothesline to reduce energy use.

Stop #9: Lot 70

This home is sustainable in both size and scope: only 1400 square feet of house and 1600 square feet of porches.  Designed to nestle in the treetops, the open plan provides a wide variety of options for each space.  The bedroom floor has outside showers and movable curtains to make up to four sleeping areas.  No heated space is wasted on a staircase: residents must go outside to get from one level to another.

Stop #10: Huyler House

This community building takes inspiration from old Lowcountry designs, with a deep screened porch and hipped roof.  There are four community suites which can be rented by the night, enabling residents to build their homes for living.   On those occasions where there is overflow entertaining, guests can be housed here in the suites.  The community building is the center of activity for social events; it is where the tennis courts (the only paved surface which predates the conservation easement) and our salt water pool are located.  Floors are reclaimed heart pine, and the outdoor tables are made from salvaged windows.

This is where the chefs will prepare our three course dinner.  Cocktails and conversation begin at 5:30.

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