Sold to the Greenest Bidder

Around the country, those in the green building biz have been showcasing their projects, turning them from regular old model homes into role model homes. Homeowners and builders make Web sites, brochures, even 3D models of their creations not just to sell a product or self-promote, but to show others what green building looks like and how to do it (see my earlier entry on the Concept House). They invite the general public to peruse the premises and even hold high school science or design classes inside. Oh, and sometimes, if they get enough publicity they get free stuff, too.

Enter the next level of role model home, and the publicity that surrounds it: project7ten, a soon-to-be LEED-Platinum project just finished in Venice, California. Tom Schey, a chiseled-faced fellow who is both a developer and real estate developer, partnered with Kelly Meyer, wife of Ron (Universal Studio’s COO), to create Project7ten after hearing Ian McKellen wax enthusiastic about his solar panels—functioning perfectly in gloomy old London—on the Bill Maher show. This home was intended to speak to McKellen’s fellow Hollywood eco-elite, just in case Leo’s and Daryl’s places didn’t inspire enough.

On the home’s website  you can take a virtual tour of solar panels and gray water systems, link to environmental charities or see stills of Pierce Brosnan and David Duchovny posing before a smoke-free fireplace that burns denatured alcohol. The hope is that their celebrity will attract both builder and buyers, and coach others in such tony neighborhoods to jump on the green building bandwagon. Um…and…they need someone to buy the place, too.

But they’re not just letting Century 21 brokers go around hocking the thing in their mustard colored blazers. The house went up for auction on eBay on December 14, a selling method Schey chose for maximum splash. “In order to succeed as an education tool, we need the most publicity,” he said. Bidding will begin at $2.85 million, which Schey said was reasonable for a 3,900-square foot high modern house, close to the beach and with, that’s not all folks, a new car! A Ford Escape hybrid comes parked in the driveway.

Schey won’t be making a profit off it—or much of one, he says. After he recoups his expenses, the remaining profits will be donated to a variety of environmental charities including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Permacity Foundation.

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