Lake Norman & Mooresville

‘Green' can be as plush as you want

If you think “going green” means sacrificing some of the luxuries of modern living, think again. “Project: Live Green” is a collaboration of Pippin Home Designs, Spivey Construction and PTI Designs to showcase sustainable home design.

Jennifer Pippin, owner of Pippin Home Designs, is the face of “Project: Live Green.” In her newly renovated home in Sherrills Ford, “Project: Live Green” is hosting an open house featuring dozens of green design principles and features at work. The surprising bonus is that the lakefront home is also very luxurious and inviting.

“If you don't love your home, you're not going to want to be in it,” Pippin says.

Some of the features to love about Pippin's home: natural light from windows and skylights, cozy porches overlooking the lake, a master bedroom suite that feels like a spa, and fireplaces everywhere you turn.

The home's “green” features include energy-efficient appliances, bamboo, Marmoleum and cork flooring, a built-in recycling center, and solar panels for generating power and hot water. The home's exterior is largely corrugated metal siding, which requires minimal to no additional finish. The siding and the metal roofing contain 30% recycled content. The EverGrain decking contains recycled content and requires no maintenance.

The home also incorporates one of the basic principles of green building: reusing materials.

Lumber from the roof of the original one-story home was used to build the addition. The two new levels are supported by steel columns and beams, and bear no load on the original structure. The kitchen cabinets were reused for storage on the main floor.

The front door and the original brick walkways were also re-used.

The home's upper level serves as a design studio for Pippin and her staff.

When she first opened her office in Cornelius a few years ago, Pippin says, her 25-minute commute was reasonable. But as increased traffic congestion stretched the trip to an hour, she decided to set up shop at home. Her staff also works from their homes two to three days a week, further reducing carbon emissions by driving less.

While most consumers would gladly give up time in traffic in order to help the environment, many are wary of going green at home for fear that it's too costly. The good news, Pippin says, is that increased demand for energy-efficient products and recycled materials means that building a green home is cheaper than it was when “Project: Live Green” started working on the design for the renovation over four years ago.

And visitors to the home can pick up a “Building Green Check List for Non-Greenies” to get ideas on how to go green in your own home. For example, if you're planning to paint, choose a finish with low- or no-volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as Sherwin-Williams' Harmony line. In the “Project: Live Green” house, this paint is used throughout.

Air quality is improved with features such as a sealed crawlspace and formaldehyde-free cabinetry. The fireplaces are all vented to the outside. The garage, with a continuously running exhaust system, is separated from the main house by a garden room, where plants help to purify the air.

Something that “non-greenies” may not consider is that green can also mean luxury. Pippin says she loves to see guests entering her home for the first time.

“Their eyes light up and a smile comes on their face,” Pippin says.

The “Project: Live Green” home is open today. Call (704) 895-0000 for directions. Find out more at