The Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s weekly real estate supplement, Homefinder, recently ran an article on eco-friendy EarthCraft homes, including those in Vickery and Clark’s Grove, communities TSW has worked on.

TSW has completed master planning work, whileHedgewood Properties architects have crafted homes that meet the standards of EarthCraft. Building materials used in EarthCraft homes include a large percentage of recycled materials, and often construction debris is ground up and recycled, too.

Both Clark’s Grove and Vickery, a Hedgewood Properties development in Cumming, are 100 percent EarthCraft communities. They are part of the pilot EarthCraft Communities program sponsored by Southface, a nonprofit group that promotes “green” building. The folks from Southface inspect, do diagnostic tests and certify each EarthCraft home.

“When you find a better way of doing something that’s better for the customer and better for the environment, it’s a good business decision,” said Pat Kurek, lead builder for Vickery. He says every house Hedgewood Properties has put up since 1999 has been EarthCraft.

For Jeffrey Schweig, a Vickery resident, the fact that his home was environmentally friendly was a bonus. But what first caught his fancy was the beauty of the neighborhood. “The architecture is mind boggling,” he said. “It’s nice to go into a new development that’s not cookie cutter.”

Sean Gallagher, another Vickery resident, has a similar story. He chose Vickery because of the architecture, with the eco-friendly approach the “icing on the cake.” As a father of five, he also likes the wide-open spaces and play areas.

When complete, Vickery will include a YMCA, a mixed-use retail and residential area, a performing arts center, shops and restaurants. A nature trail, wetlands garden and pond make getting close to nature easy.

In Clark’s Grove, the playing field is irrigated from rainwater collected in a 3,000-gallon tank under the pool deck.

An organic garden is a big hit, too. “My husband was very ill last year, but he credits his gardening with his recovery,” Woods said. Although lots are smaller than in their former neighborhood, the community garden works well for her husband. “He had three plots last year, and he enjoyed sharing his vegetables with other people in the neighborhood.”

Turner, whose two children will attend the Montessori school under construction across from Clark’s Grove, finds it easy to recall her childhood. “My husband and I both grew up here in Covington,” she said, and “this is like something you would have seen 20 years ago. It’s like they took what we grew up with and made a whole new neighborhood.”

– “SPOTLIGHT ON… Eco-friendly homes,”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/17/05