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Green Grandeur: 7 Exceptional Eco-Friendly Estates

In honor of Earth Day (April 22), Luxury Defined spotlights a collection of homes that seamlessly blend sustainable living with luxury design

More than half a century ago, some 10 percent of the US population marked the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. It helped the grassroots environmental movement to spotlight the oil spills, pollution and smog that endangered species and habitat—including human beings. In response, the United States passed legislation to protect the air and water, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many countries have enacted similar laws. Earth Day, commemorated on April 22 as a global day of observance, has since become the planet’s largest civic event, observed by more than a billion people. To celebrate the 52nd Earth Day, Luxury Defined spotlights a collection of eco-friendly properties around the world. Aesthetically pleasing and built with the environment in mind, these beautifully designed homes include energy-, water-, and cost-saving features such as solar panels, geothermal systems, and rainwater collection for irrigation—certain to appeal to any earthling who does not take the planet for granted.

Villa Mosca BiancaLake Maggiore, Italy

Villa Mosca Bianca, a magnificent lake house on the shores of Italy’s Lago Maggiore, perfectly melds contemporary high-tech living with gracious environmental sensitivity.

Villa Mosca Bianca offers a haven of tranquility and connection to nature. This modernist lake house on Italy’s Lago Maggiore is the vision of Design Haus Liberty: Its architecture and breathtaking views have been featured in architectural journals and advertising for international luxury brands. Set within a pine forest, the villa’s terraced gardens capture 180-degree views of the lake, the mountains, and the sunset. The living spaces open to a series of terraces and the surrounding landscape beyond. The core of the house is a Zen-like garden atrium with bamboo trees. Above, a vast skylight floods the interiors with natural light and visually connects the surrounding rooms and central staircase. The atrium also serves as a passive air and rainwater collection system for the villa. Other sustainable features include solar panels and heat pumps, which produce 60 percent of the home’s energy. The villa‘s undulating perimeter and projecting, finger-like terraces are ideal for yoga, swimming, gardening, reading, and alfresco dining. An organic fruit and vegetable garden and old Lebanon Cedars add to the allure. The property has an ultimately private waterfront setting, yet it’s just 28 miles from Milan Malpensa international airport. Milan city center—Italy’s business and fashion capital—is 50 miles away.

Modernist Marvel in Greenwich, New South Wales, Australia

With its prized position overlooking the Sydney skyline, this modernist dream home, five years in the making, combines eco-friendly features with luxurious creature comforts.

This spectacular home offers an unrivaled lifestyle on Sydney’s North Shore. Five years in the making, the home is positioned on a quarter-acre block on North Greenwich’s most sought-after street. The home’s two levels connect by a glass-enclosed elevator (imported from Sweden) or a modernist zig-zag staircase. The dining room opens to an open-plan kitchen with a large butler’s pantry, service kitchen, and laundry area. All five bedrooms are en suite, including the principal suite with its 180-degree view of the Sydney skyline. There’s also a guest bedroom styled as a traditional Japanese tatami meditation room. The internal courtyard, with sheltered dining spaces and a terraced and landscaped garden, is an entertainer’s paradise. The highlight is the saltwater pool with a waterfall wall and RGB (red, green, blue) LED lighting. In the front garden, LED lights illuminate a concrete staircase. Other eco-friendly features include a solar-panelled, pebbled roof (with provision to heat the swimming pool); a VRV air-conditioning system with zoned temperature-control; insulated double-brick walls; and double-glazed, commercial-grade thermal windows with Low-E glass.

Contemporary Beach House in Sunset Beach, California

An oceanfront deck with a living wall, electric car-charging ports, and smart-home technology are among the green features of this 21st-century California beach house.

This sleek, three-story home occupies a double corner lot with 70 feet of beachfront on Sunset Beach in Orange County, California. The three-bedroom, seven-bathroom residence underwent an extensive multi-year redesign for the 21st century. Among the high-tech, eco-friendly features are smart-home automation, Lutron intelligent lighting, and a three-car garage with electric vehicle charging ports. The living “green” wall is another Earth-friendly detail. It’s the focal point of the beachfront pool deck, with its spa, outdoor bathroom with shower, and Zen-inspired beach room with sushi bar, utility kitchen, and wine cellar. The living room, family room, dining room, and chef’s kitchen are on the second floor along with two en suite bedrooms and a guest bathroom. There are multiple ocean-view balconies throughout the home, including two private balconies in the primary bedroom. This expansive suite occupies the entire third floor and includes an office, a spa-like bathroom, two walk-in closets, and a laundry room. Additional amenities include central vacuum, pre-wiring for solar panels, and an elevator serving all floors.

The Urban Mountain III in Zhubei City

Bringing nature to the city is the grand concept behind The Urban Mountain III, a luxury, eco-friendly development just outside the city of Taipei.

This unique three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence has a spectacular location in The Urban Mountain III, a luxurious, eco-friendly urban development by Banmu Tang Environmental Integration Group, an architectural firm that advocates restoring the natural landscape in the built environment. The building and its verdant grounds take inspiration from the topography and ecology of Li-Tou Mountain. Lush, high-density vertical planting on the outside of the structure forms a barrier against the elements. An abundance of trees and plants provide a corridor for wildlife. Inside the apartment, the sense of calm continues, a skillful use of wood and stone aligning perfectly with the exterior. The interiors are flooded with sunlight and open to tranquil, tree-lined balconies. Edible plants, wild herbs, flowers, and fruit trees grace the surrounding gardens. The on-site permaculture farm and nature trails evoke the rural lifestyle. A fitness center, yoga and meditation rooms are further amenities. The property is within Hsinchu’s high-speed rail zone, the bustling city of Zhubei is within easy reach, though this serene oasis feels like a world away.

Seven Stones Estate in Cawston, British Columbia, Canada

Seven Stones is a 25-acre vineyard estate in the Similkameen Valley wine region of British Columbia. An energy efficient, solar powered main residence; electric-vehicle charging ports; and irrigation system are among the eco-friendly features.

The 25-acre Seven Stones winery estate resides in eco-friendly harmony among the spectacular views, vineyards, pasture, and rolling mountains of British Columbia’s Similkameen Valley wine region. The winery’s label honors the seven landmark rock formations of the valley, and ages its wines and pays tribute to them on their labels. Well-known for its full-bodied red wines, a spectacular view and its mysterious caves where the wine is aged to perfection in the finest French Oak barrels. There are 20 acres of mature vineyards, planted with chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, syrah, petit verdot, and Malbec, producing about 4,000 to 5,000 bottles per year. The winery includes wine caves (accessed via elevator) with barrel storage, commercial kitchen, and event space; a bottling area; warehouse and storage sheds; exterior covered crush pad; and tasting room. The estate also includes an owner’s residence with three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a den, attached garage, and wine cellar. The residence is energy efficient (powered by 18 solar panels). There’s also a helipad, Tesla car-charging station, spring-fed irrigation system, and 25-gallon well.

Contemporary Colonial in Ocean Club Estates in Nassau, Bahamas

Solar panels and electric-vehicle charging ports are among the green features of this colonial-style residence overlooking the Ocean Club Golf Course in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Classic and contemporary design converge in this palatial residence on Paradise Island, Bahamas. The property has a prime location in the prestigious Ocean Club Estates, abutting the club’s championship golf course, with views of the fairways, white sands, and azure seas. The home’s stately colonial-inspired façade encloses 8,200 square feet of luxurious living space accoutered with green technologies: solar panels, electric-vehicle charging ports, a water purification system, and energy-saving “smart” thermostats. The home is appointed with formal reception rooms, a gourmet kitchen, a large family room, and a movie theater with 165-inch screen. There are six bedrooms and six bathrooms, including a master suite with a private balcony. Below is a loggia with an alfresco dining area leading out to a pool terrace surrounded by lavish greenery.

Villa Auva in Marrakech, Morocco

Luxury and sustainability go hand in hand at this magnificent private compound in Marrakesh.

Villa Auva, an exclusive private compound near the Old City of Marrakesh, blends luxury living with sustainability. The 7.4-acre estate comprises a palatial main villa, six guest pavilions, a sports and wellness center, and resplendent gardens. The architecture blends traditional Moorish details with contemporary green design. Solar technology heats the estate’s water supply, including the two hammams. The 12,916-square-foot main villa has eight suites, ornate reception areas, and an indoor pool. The six pavilions each have two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining and living areas. A separate building within the ground includes a catering kitchen and dining room, garages, and technical rooms, and a recreation center with a sauna, two hammams, fitness room, two outdoor pools, and a tennis court. The gardens are an oasis of verdant lawns, cactus and palm gardens, and olive trees.