Inside Desert Sage Building & Development’s first certified Build Green New Mexico home
BY BETHANY CONWAY
The Las Cruces Bulletin
After creating several energy-efficient, environmentally friendly homes, it was time for David and Michelle Gordon of Desert Sage Building and Development to take “green” to the next level.
With their first certified Build Green New Mexico home recently completed at 7004 Calle Arcos Court, they are now helping to set the “green” standard in southern New Mexico.
“I think David has always been conscious about building energyefficient homes,” said Kaye Miller of Steinborn GMAC Real Estate.
“With every home he has built, he is trying to get closer and closer to what he hopes would be the most desirable home.”
Going through an entire certification process, the Gordons worked closely with inspector Miles Dyson of Inspection Connection LC on every aspect of the home from the pouring of the slab, during which they had to be careful not to disturb the natural setting surrounding the home, to the selection of the appliances.
The criteria for the BGNM certification, known as the BGNM checklist, includes an energy-efficiency requirement along with a number of options addressing a range of “green” items from which the builder must select a minimum number. According to the BGNM website, “because the checklist has a variety of green options for a builder to choose from, every builder may build ‘green’ a little differently.”
According to Brian Crawford, project manager with Desert Sage, the Gordons were able to gain points from features like exceeded insulation, Low-E windows, an exceptional ventilation system, the use of reclaimed and recycled materials and even the home’s location in Picacho Mountain, Las Cruces’ premier “green” subdivision.
“This is one of the first Build Green New Mexico homes in southern New Mexico,” Crawford said. “This house actually has a ventilation system that runs 24 hours a day. Instead of pulling all of the energy from the heating and cooling units, we actually pull it from outside so it saves us cost. We are not consuming a lot of energy to heat and cool this house.”
Other green characteristics include 14-SEER refrigerated air units, an energy-efficient appliance package, carpet made from corn and a Home Energy Rating Systems score of 58, which means the home is 40 percent more efficient than most. It is also solar ready.
While the green elements are a major part of this upscale residence, a major goal was showing that building green can be done with style. It was David Miller, Desert Sage’s in-house designer, who took on the task of creating a stunning interior.
“We tried to make the technology kind of recede into the background,” David Miller said. “We really wanted to stress that although it is green, all of the technology is very transparent.”
Walking into this large, open home filled with Canterra marble and darkstained woods, one is instantly transported to the Italian countryside. Only the floor’s saltillo tile serves as a reminder of the desert Southwest, which they chose because it is considered renewable.
“The whole idea for this house was a Tuscan cottage,” David Miller said. “We did a lot of research to figure out what an authentic Tuscan Cottage would actually look like, and one of the key parts of it was to use a lot of masonry.”
They even had the front door custom made to look like one they saw in a photograph of an ancient Tuscan building.
Using a mixture of cabinetry and colors, David Miller made the kitchen in this brand-new home almost seem like it has a history.
“We tried to emulate cabinet packages that you would find in the Old World,” he said.
Along with tile around the island that reminds one of cobblestone streets, the kitchen also includes a large copper-clad hood over the range and exposed wooden trusses, both built by Desert Sage’s own craftsmen.Adding wooden panels to the refrigerator and finishing the other appliances in a bronze color, they managed to hide all of the Energy Star-rated appliances in the background, bringing more attention to the cabinetry.
Along with a formidably sized bedroom, the master suite includes a master bathroom that takes this Tuscan cottage to a whole new level. The tub, surrounded in Canterra marble, falls under the ultimate definition of luxury.
“With the arches and the stonework, it has a real spa feel to it,” David Miller said.
Of course, the home wouldn’t be complete without a courtyard and back patio to enjoy the views and weather found in this premier subdivision. Using recycled brick from a wrecking company in El Paso, the courtyard floor is a mixture of several colors and textures.
With its green features, great style and open floor plan, David Miller said this Picacho Mountain home will suit a variety of homebuyers.
“What’s really great about this particular layout is that it will appeal to a wide range of people,” he said.
“”We did a lot of research to figure out what an authentic Tuscan cottage would actually look like…”” DAVID MILLER, interior designer