By Chéye Roberson
Inspired by health-conscious home building techniques used in Europe, Greenwich resident Sabine H. Schoenberg has combined green living and cutting edge technology in a 4,800-square-foot home coined “The Greenwich House” at 130 Old Church Road.
On entering the home, one is embraced by light and freshness. The foyer has a winding staircase that guides your eyes up to the high ceilings with large LED backlit glass panels. To your left is the “brain of the house,” a set of controls that operates the home automation system. After learning more about each piece of the home and its materials, you realize the significance of their contribution to this experience.
A Sherwin-Williams product called Harmony Paint, used on the interior walls, helps reduce molds and odors.
The windows in the home are made to absorb ultraviolet light rays from the sun, decreasing the heat inside so that resident will spend less money and energy on air conditioning.
Instead of the traditional heating and cooling system that relies on gas, oil or electricity, Schoenberg installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, which transfers stable temperatures to the home from 450 feet underground.
The Greenwich House showcases green living from top to bottom—right down to the floor boards. Schoenberg employed materials from Hull Forest Products, a professional woodland management company, for the safe and healthy floor treatment. Her goal was to avoid using materials like polyurethane, found in the wood glue and wood finishing materials, which can prove toxic over time.
“A lot of stuff is put together with these glues. It’s probably the most toxic stuff you can use,” said Schoenberg.
Schoenberg said she approached the home holistically during its planning and construction to create a living space that was smart, healthy, and green.
“There are a host of products that add up to energy efficiency,” said Schoenberg.
Even before the house was finished it was called “the blue house” because it was wrapped in a protective air and vapor barrier membrane called Blueskin. The Blueskin removes moisture from the home, significantly decreasing the threat of mold.
The automated system contributes to the smart aspects of the home. Residents can answer the door, control lighting, temperature, and shading remotely, using a smart phone. Specific lighting scenes can be set up for parties or for winding down. There are speakers in each room for playing music with the audio system, which is also remotely controlled. Residents can even play their favorite relaxing tracks in the shower.
In the past, home automation of this kind required programming specialists to come in and wire the house accordingly. But Schoenberg said that with the Greenwich House, “those days are over.”
Schoenberg said that connecting the controls of the home to a smart phone allows the for residents to feel less tied down by their home, because they can go on vacation without worrying about the little things that may slip your mind, such as closing all the windows.
“If there is a storm coming and you’re not home, it’s no problem. You can just go in there and change the setting,” said Schoenberg.
Smart does not refer only to technology. The kitchen counters are topped with a material called Dekton, which is fireproof and stain and scratch resistant. Residents can use the kitchen counter tops without a cutting board.
Schoenberg said she focused on utilizing every inch of space in the home, exemplified in the design of the kitchen cabinets, with large trays that are able to slide in and out.
The Greenwich House is priced just under $4 million. Schoenberg also created a video series on YouTube, Sabine’s New House, which takes viewers into the detailed process of building the house.