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Green Grandeur: 8 Exceptional Eco-Friendly Estates

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22), Luxury Defined tours eight homes that seamlessly blend sustainable living with luxury design

Half a century ago, some 10 percent of the US population marked the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. It helped the modern 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 50th anniversary of 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.

Niu Peninsula Villa in Honolulu, Hawaii

Newly renovated and luxuriously appointed, this stylish home in Honolulu incorporates sustainable elements inside and out.

This elegant Mediterranean-inspired villa is secluded within a third of an acre of lush landscaping on Honolulu’s Niu Peninsula. Built in 2001 and renovated in 2019, the home combines green technology and renewable materials with luxurious finishes and resort-worthy amenities. Environmentally conscious, cost-saving solar panels and sustainable strand-woven hardwood flooring blend with classic details throughout. Crystal chandeliers adorn the entrance hall, the dining room, and the gourmet kitchen—a chef’s delight with new stainless-steel appliances, a hidden pantry, Taj Mahal quartz island, and custom-designed Moroccan-inspired range hood. The single-level, open-plan layout includes two bedroom wings. French doors throughout the living spaces open to an enclosed piazza, a private retreat with a gunite pool and built-in barbecue area shaded by palm trees and exotic plants.

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.

Rainforest Compound in São Francisco Xavier, São Paulo, Brazil

The Grid House, a one-of-a-kind eco home in the Mantiqueira Mountains of Brazil, is built into the landscape and sourced from it.

The Grid House is a contemporary eco retreat surrounded by 42 acres of protected rainforest in Brazil’s Mantiqueira Mountains. Designed to seamlessly converge with the sublime natural landscape, this stunning modular home is composed of a nucleus, or main dwelling, which contains the social and entertaining areas, owner’s suite, and guest room, and several satellite structures including three isolated modules with two bedrooms each; a leisure pavilion; and staff quarters. Each structure has a unique grid-shaped frame, sustainably sourced from native wood and stone and built above the ground as a cooling mechanism during the region’s hot, humid summers. Large trussed beams in corten steel anchor the structural elements, while walls of glass flood the space with light and provide incredible panoramas of the mountains. The living spaces flow out to serene tropical gardens with a water mirror and the rainforest beyond.

This one-of-a-kind villa off the coast of Queensland, Australia, counts solar energy and captured rainwater systems among its eco-friendly features.

Jewel of the Reef, a tropical hideaway on Bedarra Island, off the coast of Northern Queensland, is perched on nearly an acre of white-sand beach and coral seafront. The open-plan villa has been carefully designed to make the most of the breathtaking island and ocean views. The contemporary living spaces lead out to a 1,600-square-foot covered deck floating above a natural granite tidal pool. The self-contained caretaker’s residence is completely sustainable with 100 percent solar power. Other earth-friendly features include a natural spring and captured rainwater system. Located only 2.5 miles from the Australian mainland, between the cities of Townsville and Cairns, Bedarra Island is a world away, yet has the convenience of city life on its doorstep.

Lake Norman Waterfront Estate in Denver, North Carolina

Old-world details coupled with green technology and contemporary amenities define this grand estate on the shores of Lake Norman.

This grand waterfront estate has a spectacular setting on the shores of Lake Norman, offering 180-degree water views that stretch for miles. Situated on a 2.5-acre point lot in a private gated community, the stone manor house is introduced by a cobblestone drive lit by gas lanterns to showcase the elegant stone façade, ornate chimneys, slate roof with copper accents, and solid mahogany front doors. The home’s inviting old-world details, which include lake-hued stonework and reclaimed-wood ceilings and floors, are complemented by green technologies and deluxe amenities, including an owner’s suite with gym, a two-story wine cellar, and a cigar lounge. The lakefront grounds are equally opulent and feature a pool and spa deck, pier with a rooftop deck, and a helipad.

Coastal Contemporary in Puerto Los Cabos Mexico

Casa Tierra is a masterfully designed eco villa overlooking the Sea of Cortez in Puerto Los Cabos, Mexico.

Casa Tierra, a hilltop villa overlooking the Sea of Cortez in Puerto Los Cabos, Mexico, exemplifies contemporary eco-architecture with its rammed-earth walls, wood and metal roof, and natural finishes of wood and stone. The property offers more than 5,000 square feet of interior space with a fluid floor plan, perfect venue for gatherings large or small. The private quarters comprise three sleeping areas, two traditional casitas, and six bathrooms. Outside, a terrace with an infinity pool seems to float between the sea and sky. Further highlights include a playroom, volleyball court, staff quarters, and a two-car garage.

Nature-Inspired Ranch in Ashland, Oregon

This 8,880-square-foot eco retreat on 700 private acres in Southern Oregon was built to honor and reflect the beauty of its surrounding landscape.

Shining Hand Ranch was inspired by the Native American spirituality that characterizes its 700-acre setting in the foothills of Oregon’s Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges. Completed in 2016, the 8,880-square-foot residence was handcrafted to echo the organic flow of nature. Visitors cross the home’s threshold on a granite floor reminiscent of a riverbank; above, a blue-stone tiled ceiling reflects the color of the open sky. From the arched mahogany front doors, framed by copper tree sculptures, to the geothermal heated floors and the solar-powered indoor pool, the home’s architecture and amenities not only honor nature but function in concert with it.

Harborfront Mansion in Belleair Bluffs, Florida

Energy-efficient, green technologies meet grand design at this harborfront home on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Harbor Bluffs on Florida’s Gulf Coast is the enchanting setting for this graceful estate home on landscaped grounds above the water’s edge. The four-bedroom, 7,500-square-foot home was crafted with great attention to detail. An open floor plan and outdoor pool deck are well suited for relaxed Florida living. Inside, elegant architectural details, such as pecky cypress beamed ceilings, tumbled-marble and hand-hewn wood floors, and wrought-iron finishes, are complemented by high-tech and environmentally friendly features, including a Navien tankless water heater, 8-zone HVAC system with media and UV filters for maximum energy efficiency, and an all-new water filtration system. For peace of mind, the property features hurricane-rated windows and doors along with a 100 kW whole-house generator.