The Great Gatsby Goes Green

Joanna Schroeder

Hollywood had a green makeover last week when the first all-solar community, The Gatsby Hollywood, was unveiled. This community of 34 brownstones is the largest all green, all -solar, smart home community in the country and not only features renewable energy but was built using renewable materials.

According to Dan Thompson, the CEO of MasterCraft Homes Group, who designed and built the eco-friendly community, each home will see an energy savings of 50 percent and a water savings of 60 percent.

The community was built as “adaptive use” project. This means a site is found that has abandoned buildings which are torn down and the new buildings, in this case, homes, are erected on the site. MasterCraft Homes is planning on building additional green communities in urban infill areas in LA and will never build on virgin land. This property was also unique in that it is the home of the fabled Orchard Gables Cottage which dates back to Abe Lincoln’s time. The company is working with a restoration expert to refurbish the cottage and it will be re-dedicated as a museum later this year. Thompson noted that having an urban infill area with a historic building is rare and will probably never happen again.

One of the criticisms of green building is that the average person can’t afford to purchase a green home. But in the case of a Gatsby house, this is not the case. Thompson explained that by building the entire community with solar energy and green technologies, they can keep the costs competitive. They are not charging a premium for their homes because they want their communities to be affordable. A Gatsby brownstone can be purchased starting at $750,000. This is actually less expensive then the price of a typical Hollywood bungalow. For those of us who don’t live in Cali, this price equates to about $250,000 in the Midwest.

At this time, Thompson said they don’t plan on building outside of California but with the growing need for green building expertise, he just may be expanding sooner rather than never.

Environment, Solar