Maui Blog - Georgie Hunter R(S): IF $$$ WERE NO OBJECT.... my dream green home on MAUI

IF $$$ WERE NO OBJECT.... my dream green home on MAUI

Who's Brad Pitt?

The other night Larry King was interviewing Brad Pitt and I turned on the TV and said, "we have to watch this program with Brad Pitt in New Orleans."  My dad said "who's Brad Pitt?"  I explained to him that Brad Pitt was the actor in the Jesse James film that he recently saw, and he looked hard and said... "so it is!".  Well at least that got his attention, so we were able to watch most of the show without too much channel surfing during the commercials.

You have to applaud Brad Pitt for taking on such a monumental project, and getting the ball rolling with a $5 Million contribution.  His heart is in the right place, and he is leading by example.  I can understand why the former residents of the Lower 9th Ward want to come back to their home.  There is no other place quite like New Orleans, from what I hear, though I have never been lucky enough to visit there.  Such a vibrant mix of cultures is always a pleasure to experience, much like here in Hawaii.


What's a Green Home?

As proponents of a green lifestyle on Maui, we are already living proof that it can be done.  When we bought this vacant land in Haiku, back in 1989, we knew that we would living off the grid, but we were up for the challenge.  18 years later we have it dialed in to some extent, within our budget.  Being in Hawaii makes us somewhat spoiled, as we don't have to be concerned with temperature extremes, and therefore we have no heating or cooling systems.  We are also not very concerned with lack of water as rainfall is ample.  So with that in mind, here are the energy conserving ways that we have learned to live with a small impact on our land.

WATER  - why not keep all that wonderful rain that falls and use it to water the landscape, wash the car, wash the windows, and even shower and cook with it?  It makes perfect sense, especially in areas that are suffering from water shortages.  Here on Maui, parts of the island would be desert without irrigation.  Those places use a disproportionate amount of water, to make the resorts lush and the golf courses green.  On the north shore, the natural rainfall makes things green without added irrigation.  We have 3 water tanks to hold rainfall that lands on the building roofs.

HOT WATER - Solahart brand solar water heater on the roof.  This is intuitive - the hot water rises and stores itself in the tank which is the highest part of the system.  No pumping needed.  Pumping of water uses a lot of power.

COOLING -   We have large roof overhang , an 8 foot overhang, with wraparound decks.  This provides plenty of shaded space to sit and enjoy the views and the cooling tradewind breezes.  The shading effect helps to keep the interior of the home cool, as there is not much sun beating on the walls and windows.

maui green home

LIGHTING -   Lots of windows to let in the natural light, so less lighting is needed during the day.  We took it one step further and used some excellent 11' x 5' windows that were recycled glass doors from some Shops at Wailea, and incorporated them into our home design.  Great big picture windows that didn't have to go to the landfill.  Of course light bulbs have always been the compact flourescent ones. 

POWER - Photo Voltaics and Wind Turbines.  We have 3 buildings that each have their own self contained power system which includes solar panels, a wind generator, storage batteries, and inverters.  It's not easy being your own power company.  Right now one of the wind turbines is "down" and we are waiting for the parts to arrive.  And wouldn't you know, it's been the windiest week in months!  Sometimes it can be frustrating.  When everything hums and whirrs perfectly it's a beautiful thing though.  We have an electric SunFrost fridge which we prefer over the propane ones, and the stove uses propane.

What else would I do?   

OK so if money were absolutely no object we could have done things differently and here's what I would put on my wish list for the future:

WATER - a wonderful natural shaped swimming pool with dark stones, and solar heating - and an old fashioned Japanese furo tub, heated from underneath with locally harvested firewood - water features like koi ponds and aquaculture ponds

COOLING - more extensive covered lanais - being out of the sun is important, and exterior spaces can be used for living space a lot of the time, as long as you can keep the rain off

LIGHTING - I'll have some solar tubes and skylights - we ran out of money before we ran out of ideas - and lots more solar yard lights, I love my tiki torches that I never have to refill

POWER - more PV panels - all over the roof - more batteries - the best that money can buy!  Solar is the greatest - no moving parts

brad pitt in undershirt

You know what else?   

If money is no object I'd even have a 24 HR TECHNICIAN to be on call to maintain the system and install new stuff.  And while I'm dreaming, let's make him look like Brad Pitt, and he can walk around with his shirt off and fix things that need fixing.  Yeah that's it... if money were no object..... hmmmm.

This post was a challenge - thanks to JaneAnne Green-O-lina. for the idea.  Thanks for listening.  I hope this will encourage some of you to make a change in your lifestyle.  Where there's a will, there's a way. 

Aloha - The Hunter - Georgina M. Hunter R(S) - Paia, Maui HI 96779 - your agent on Maui - 808 283-0635

(PS - I do have a 24 hour technician, my husband is what makes this all work)

plantation style home on maui

Comment balloon 31 commentsGeorgie Hunter R(S) 58089 • December 19 2007 04:53AM

Comments

Extremely informative Hawaii green post.  I personally love that Brad Pitt picture :)
Posted by Renée Donohue, Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com (Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate) almost 11 years ago
I have an idea of my dream home in Hawaii......my husband is from there, and I have never been...I have been reading more about "green" home..there is some amazing stuff out there...
Posted by Konnie Mac McCarthy, Broker/Owner - VA & MD "Time To Get A Move On!" (MacNificent Properties, LLC) almost 11 years ago
Georgina, they are debating the various models that have been proposed for construction in that area and which ones "look right" for NOLA.  People here are rather adverse to change, to it means getting folks to embrace a new concept.  Wish Brad luck!
Posted by Lisa Heindel, New Orleans Real Estate Broker (Crescent City Living LLC) almost 11 years ago
I am impressed with what you are already doing, Georgina. You are so fortunate to be living in Hawaii. It is my idea of paradise.  I like your ideas for improvement, esp. the Brad technician, I 'd never get any work done, I'd be watching the scenery!
Posted by Bonnie & Terry Westbrook, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate (Westbrook Realty) almost 11 years ago

Georgina~

I was thinking the guy in the T-shirt in your post was your "24 -hour technician"   =)...Great post.  Another example of what I mean when I say the ECO-All-Stars write great stuff. . .

Good luck in the contest!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 11 years ago
WOW! I'm impressed!
Posted by Dena Stevens, Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004 (Rocky Mountain Realty ) almost 11 years ago

Renee - the fun part of this post was searching for Brad Pitt pictures and calling it "research"  haha

Konnie - you are lucky!  let me know if you have any questions about building over here

Lisa - I'm actually surprised that they will let them build back up in those flooded areas, without going "up" one story.  Here in the tsunami zones, all ground floor new construction must be for storage only - no living space allowed.  But maybe that is the case.

Bonnie - haha, I'd help him clean the pool!

JaneAnne - he would be my dream technician

Dena - thanks!  and thanks for coming up with the idea - I love a challenge

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago
Georgina, what you have to remember is that the area being rebuilt by Brad & co. was not historically a flood prone area.  My house has never flooded, but if you knock out the levee 6 blocks from me, I'm a goner too.  Too many still have the impression that people flooded because of the location of their homes...not true!  They flooded and were devastated by the levee breaks - the levees were not properly maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers to the required heights or strengths they were supposed to be.  This same thing could happen in any area of the country that is dependant upon a levee system to protect them from water, be it lakes or rivers.
Posted by Lisa Heindel, New Orleans Real Estate Broker (Crescent City Living LLC) almost 11 years ago
Lisa - I see, I think.  In any case I think I would want to be prepared for the next "event" that might come along. 
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago
Georgina, I'm sorry for the rant.  I'm reading it now and I sound angry, when truly I'm not.  I think that what Brad Pitt and others are doing is WONDERFUL - they are reaching a helping hand to those in need and trying to make a positive impact on the environment at the same time, the same as you!  Some "events" are just out of our control and I don't want people to think that the rebuilding shouldn't happen because of a misconception.  Sorry again...you can delete the rant if you want :)
Posted by Lisa Heindel, New Orleans Real Estate Broker (Crescent City Living LLC) almost 11 years ago
Georgina - I'd love to spend some time at your place enjoying what it is like to be off the grid. If that technition in the lower right is there (not the upper left...LOL!) I may stay a year! Good post!
Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) almost 11 years ago
Lisa - no need to apologize, I didn't think you were ranting.  I was suggesting that if I was building there I would rather be safe than sorry, and wouldn't be counting on the government to be doing the right thing ( securing the levees).
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago
Mary - If you're coming this way, I would be delighted to give you the grand tour, and more!  The whole neighborhood is off grid.  Maybe santa will bring that good looking tech guy.  haha.  But seriously, I wouldn't trade him for my real life one.
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago
Congratulations!  You truly practice what you preach and have so much to teach us.  I look forward to learning more from you green experts.
Posted by Diane Aurit, Lake Norman Real Estate (LKN Realty, LLC) almost 11 years ago

Georgina, While everybody else (me included) are just talking about what could be you have already done it. Congratulations.

Bill Roberts

Posted by Bill Roberts, "Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner (Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate) almost 11 years ago
Georgina, great things you are doing already, you are way ahead of most of us. love the 24 hour technician
Posted by Michael Eisenberg, Bellingham Real Estate Guy (eXp Realty) almost 11 years ago
Congratulations on placing 2nd place in the eco contest with this post.
Posted by Angie Vandenbergh, A Crye-Leike Blogger (Crye-Leike, Realtors) almost 11 years ago
Congrats on the 2nd place.  Obviously you did your homework.  BTW, you really should go to NOLA.  It is a cool place to visit, and despite the Hurricane, they are ready for you to come back.  If you are going to hang out in the French Quarter, be ready to eat and drink.. a lot!
Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) almost 11 years ago

What a nice surprise this morning to find that I was awarded 2nd place!  : ) BIG SMILE

Diane - it's been a long process, but we enjoy it

Bill - we did it out of necessity, but would do it again.

Michael - thanks, glad you liked it

Angie - thanks for coming by and commenting

Lane - I would love to go there!  It's on my list of things to do before I die!  haha - I'd better get started.  Does Brad need a consultant?

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

Georgina! Congrats! You are a winner!!! Through your real life experiences you have shared with us what can be accomplished in renewables, passive design and eco-friendly living. Daily I get so many questions about statistics on pay back, etc. You have written a refreshing post that demonstrates the "guts" of conservation.

(The better half probably wouldn't like it if Santa brought me that!!! Or maybe it would be like Henny Youngman used to say...Take my wife.....PLEASE!!!) 

Merry Christmas and a reNEWable year! 

Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) almost 11 years ago

Congratulations to everyone who posted for the contest. Awesome job !

Posted by Dena Stevens, Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004 (Rocky Mountain Realty ) almost 11 years ago

Mary - we're all winners.  Tonight the wind power is working like a charm.

Dena - Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

Hey Georgie, what a great blog!!!  How informative,  your and your husband should be very proud.  It is alot of work.  I strive to be so good and someday live more self sustainably.

aloha, Karen

Posted by Karen Willliamson, Wailea Hawaii real estate (Maui Earth Realty LLC) almost 11 years ago
Georgina - Wow - what could be better than living in paradise and treating it as such!  Well done and congratulations for both the way you live and the great article!
Posted by Eva Armstrong, Environmental Visions (Environmental Visions) almost 11 years ago

Hi Karen, thanks!  It was a challenge that inspired me to make the post.  And it was a challenge that inspired my husband to make our "dream home".

Eva - thanks to you also.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) almost 11 years ago

You're still the coolest to me, Mahalo for your support and continuing inspiration.

Jeffery

Posted by Jeffery Griffin, Broker Owner (Jeff Griffin LLC ) over 10 years ago

Hi Jeffery! - I wish you the best!  One of these days I want to hear your band play... do you play in Paia ever? 

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 10 years ago
Geogina, some of the older sections of New Orleans still look nice. They were the ones on higher ground. With Mr. Pitt's project, and Harry Conick Jr.'s muscian's village, it will be nice to see other parts of the city restored. At least Cafe Du Monde is still there. You can go and have a beignet.
Posted by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck (Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections) over 10 years ago
Frank - I really want to visit this place one day - I've heard so much about it - it seems to be a very colorful and vibrant community. 
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 10 years ago
Living off the grid.  That's my kind of living.
Posted by Tracy Riba, Residential & Commercial NC Real Estate Broker (Carolina Realty, Johnston County NC) over 10 years ago
Hi Tracy - Thanks for coming by and commenting.  Off the grid can be very rewarding.
Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 10 years ago

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