TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — East Travis County's Whisper Valley community is known for its eco-friendly homes and lifestyle, so much so it has now been named the Sustainable Community of the Year by Green Builder Media.
Whisper Valley is a $2 billion master-planned community located just south of Manor. Developed by Taurus Investment Holdings, it received the top honor at the Green Builder Media Innovation Awards in Las Vegas on Feb. 17.
“This community doesn’t just look to the technical side of sustainability. The team took the concept of health and wellness to a higher level,” judges for the Green Builder Media Innovation Awards wrote about Whisper Valley. “They presented health and wellness as an amenity. Highly marketable.”
EcoSmart Solution LLC, a subsidiary of Taurus Investment Holdings that designs, builds and operates Whisper Valley's energy supply system, was also named the 2019 winner for Green Innovation of the Year for its GeoGrid, a geothermal energy supply system recognized for outstanding and innovative design and performance.
EcoSmart was selected as the overall winner of the Sustainable Innovation Awards program. A judging panel consisting of award-winning staff members combed through several categories to choose the winners from green projects and communities across the U.S.
Finalists for the awards were based on several green building criteria, including durability, resource efficiency in manufacture, energy efficiency, use of recycled/renewable materials, water conservation, renewable energy, and low-impact solution to a problem.
“Product innovations like this show that manufacturers are rising to face environmental challenges, both on the small and global scale. They know there’s no time to waste, and their products reflect that urgency,” said Matt Power, editor-in-chief of Green Builder Magazine.
Homes at Whisper Valley are connected to the GeoGrid to maximize efficiency and allow homeowners to live in zero-energy capable homes starting from the $200,000 price range. The EcoSmart Solution uses a geothermal loop system along with ground source heat pumps to save up to 65 percent on energy consumption, combined with Solar PV to generate electricity. Features of the EcoSmart system include Nest Smart Home technology, high energy-efficient Bosch appliances and each home is pre-wired for a garage-mounted electric-vehicle (EV) charging station. And 1 GB of Google Fiber internet service is provided complimentary.
Additionally, each Whisper Valley home qualifies for an average Federal Tax Credit of $7,000 to $10,000. The homes also exceed the carbon-neutral standard promoted by the City of Austin for all new construction homes.
“What makes the EcoSmart Solution so ground-breaking is that for the first time a real estate developer installed a geothermal infrastructure upfront, and that makes zero-energy capable homes affordable to the average homebuyer,” said Lorenz Reibling, Taurus Chairman. “Whisper Valley is a model for the rest of the nation and internationally. A lot of time, planning and research has gone into this revolutionary approach to development and the result is this sustainable, zero-energy capable community.”
While the community certainly offers sustainable living, there are a few other amenities at Whisper Valley:
- A fitness center
- A geo-thermal heated pool
- An event room
- A Tesla Destination Charging connector
- Organic gardens managed by Lettuce Networks
- A lifestyle director that hosts community events, cooking, holiday and fitness programs
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