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April 2017

From Carbon Footprints to Your Client's Blueprints

Luxury home buyers have become increasingly sensitive to their carbon footprint, allowing architects and engineers to use innovative processes and materials in creating and renovating high-end homes. Staying on top of these trends and technological advances will help luxury real estate professionals know what to look for and what questions to ask when assisting affluent clients who are seeking ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce.

As Earth Day approaches (Saturday, April 22), we are taking a look at some of the latest trends in design and construction that minimize environmental impact while maximizing functional design and well-being for homeowners.

Recycled Construction

“Renovation and reuse projects typically save between 50 and 75 percent of the embodied carbon emissions compared to constructing a new building.” The American Institute for Architects (AIA) notes that reusing and recycling materials, reduces carbon emissions and saves on construction and design costs. In renovating a Cambridge, Massachusetts home, Wolf Architects, Inc. utilized reclaimed lumber originally harvested in the 19th century that proved to be a higher quality than equivalent wood species today.

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Wolf Architects, Inc. milled reclaimed lumber for the exterior cladding on this Cambridge home that proved stronger than today's wood. Photo by Eric Roth

Sustainable Materials

Thanks in part to the success of IKEA’s Sinnerlig collection, sustainable cork products have trickled up into the luxury design world. The cork used in products from wine stops to insulation comes from the just the bark of the cork oak tree, allowing the tree to continue to grow. Aesthetically pleasing, tactile, and warm, cork is also a very functional material that is resistant to mold, mildew, water, termites, fire, cracking, and abrasions.

Renewable Energy

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Tesla unveiled its design for solar roof tiles. Photo Tesla.com

One of the most talked about materials in design and construction this year is the solar roof tiles developed by Tesla, known for its electric cars. While traditional solar panels come at a high cost, when not factoring government rebates and tax credits, Tesla claims that its solar roof tiles will cost less than an equivalent roof, opening the possibility for more than just luxury homes to produce and conserve renewable energy.

Learn More

See Dwell Magazine’s latest list of LEED-certified residences that use the latest technology and renewable resources to minimize environmental impact.

AIA's Ten Steps to Reducing Carbon Embodied Emissions during the construction and renovation process.

Check out the REALTOR® Magazine 2017 Home Design Trends featuring several environmentally friendly ideas.


The San Pellegrino Effect: Wealth, Cuisine and Travel

The list is here! For many, the announcement of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World is a harbinger of vacations to come, and entire trips are planned around a twelve course tasting menu. Snagging a reservation at any of the restaurants on the 2017 list is hard enough, but a new trend has emerged making just getting to some of these gastronomic paradises even more difficult.

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A tasting plate at Eleven Madison Park, named the best restaurant in the world for 2017. Image source theworlds50best.com

In past decades, a majority of the restaurants honored on the San Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants list were (and still are) in the expected culinary destinations of the world: London, New York, and, of course, Paris. Each of these cities is also an economic capital of the world, so it comes as no surprise that where the wealthy live and work is where they eat. The restaurants that emerge in these cities rely on their affluent citizens to sustain them year after year. In line with that expectation, Tokyo's notoriety for fine dining came only after years of sustain economic growth throughout the 1990s.

However, recent years have seen restaurants added to this list from unexpected places without the support of sustained economic growth or a concentration of high net worth individuals. Wealth-X, a leader in global wealth research, explains that social media has "super-charged" word of mouth, meaning that the sharing of reviews and the awareness of awards makes the remote locations of some of the newest top restaurants a destination for the jetsetting crowd. As Winston Chesterfield, custom research director for Wealth-X, notes:

An entry in the list acts as a siren call to luxury concierges, jetsetters, and the world’s elite – and as such, almost guarantees full tables for the next 12 months.

The native, resident populations are, most often, not the focus for these modern marvels of food. Though they are, no doubt, a discerning group whose palates often inspire the innovative menus, the close presence of internationally renowned, multi-starred, celebrity-visited establishments is largely inexplicable and as remote from their existence as the cities from which these international individuals visit.

These individuals are the intended, the chosen ones. The premium-cabin-flying, luxury experience nomads, whose moving meccas are the next travel experience, the next luxury hotel concept, the next cuisine. These experiences have become as much a currency as the designer wallets which they plonk on the tables, and perhaps even more so than the motor cars they arrive in.

Read more about the changing trends in fine dining and where your clients may be eating next at LuxurySociety.com.