Recently, large sections of the American public and corporate space have begun to push for environmental protection. Many have put their money where their mouth is by employing eco-technological innovations in their houses and offices.
As with most other social endeavors, celebrities are leading the way. As more celebrities resort to more reasonably priced homes with fewer pollutants, less waste, and more renewable energy, real estate investors are also learning to adapt to what is sure to be a massive shift in architectural design and real estate development.
“The concept of ecotechnology emphasizes respecting the environment in every aspect of construction, from the blueprint to furnishing.” Says Jorge Loza, CEO of Ciudapolis, “The idea is to utilize natural and recyclable materials within designs that do not obstruct the ecological development of the environment.”
Jorge Loza is a serial real estate entrepreneur, philanthropist, and advocate for social change who has built Ciudapolis to become one of the leading eco-technological real estate franchises in Peru. Ciudapolis has since made massive social media impression in Asia, Europe, and America as one of the leading voices for Ecotechnology. Among its 1800 clients and over 500 investors, the company has worked with some significant names to create some of the most beautiful, eco-friendly homes.
“Celebrities are trendsetters all over the world, so the moment more of them start incorporating eco-technological design in their properties, the industry has to take note and adjust accordingly,” Loza explains. “Celebrities own some of the most daring eco-technological structures out there.”
Lisa Ling’s Energy-Neutral Home
According to Loza, “Any structure that accommodates robust renewable energy capabilities, resource conservation systems, and green environment, fits into the picture of an eco-technological design.”
Loza’s description mirrors Lisa Ling’s Santa Monica home. The CNN presenter and former co-host of The View and her husband, Paul Song, set up Santa Monica’s first-ever energy-neutral home in 2010. Their eco-friendly home has since earned a platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
According to Ling, “We achieved a 100% diversion rate. Materials from the former structure were used on the new residence; nothing wound up in a landfill. Lumber was resurfaced and used as hardwood flooring; items not reused were donated to Habitat for Humanity.”
There is a 5,000-gallon water tank in front of the house to collect rainwater and waterless urinals, which combine to save about 40,000 gallons of water annually.
The house also sports 60 roof-mounted solar panels that supply electricity for hot water and radiant floor heating. The exterior is also sustainably yet lushly landscaped with indigenous plants and a rock garden.
Pretty Woman’s Eco-Marvel
Pretty Woman actor, Julia Roberts, spent $20 million on her 6,000-square-foot Malibu home to make it greener. From utilizing recycled tiles and sustainable building materials to adopting renewable energy, Julia and her husband, Daniel Moder, have their carbon footprint in check.
Robert’s renowned green thumb is evidenced in the eco-friendly features she deployed in her home. The home features a very scenic view of lush gardens with native species, vegetable patches, and greenhouses. The actress and her husband, Daniel Morder, also offset their energy needs by covering three roof surfaces with Solar Panels.
“When people hear about eco-technological design, they instantly think only Solar Panels and LED lights,” Loza said, “Ecotechnology extends beyond the retrofittings, it starts with an attitude that is appreciative of nature and it shows in the theme of the structures and in every aspect of the design. Creating structures that admit enough light and humidity to support greenery within the house, introducing balcony or rooftop gardens and an overall green attitude is needed to create some of the best eco-technological structures.”
Ed Begley’s Studio City Mansion
Over time Ed Begley’s name has become synonymous with green living and with good reason too. In 2016, the Hollywood veteran actor and Portlandia star finished building his eco-technological marvel in Studio City (L.A.).
In typical Begley fashion, the 3,896 sq ft house features a master bath with tiles crafted entirely from recycled bottles and an outdoor chlorine-free pool purified by an ozone system. The front yard also features fruit trees and native plants scattered around the oak-studded lot.
There is also a gray water system that recycles for irrigation and a 10,000-gallon tank for rain collection, which combine to increase water conservation. The home is also energy-neutral and utilizes the latest solar arrays while sporting a two-car garage with E.V. charging ports.
A Green Landscape; Is Real Estate Adjusting Properly?
“The industry is not adapting fast enough, in my opinion,” says Loza, “Besides the fact that celebrities are now jumping in at a record number, there are many other telltale signs; the rising energy cost is one, the current national policies in countries like the U.S. and many others in Europe and Asia are also tilting towards sustainable technological advancements and renewable energy.”
In 2008 Loza quit his job as a banker and accountant. He and his spouse, Jenny Barrera, decided to jump into real estate. They bought an apartment in an exclusive area of Lima, paying the 10% upfront fee with a credit card and then financing the rest with a bank loan. After remodeling and selling it in 6 months with a $35k profit, Loza knew that he was in the right business, and he has since found his passion in eco-technological real estate development.
Now he is running 8 figure investment projects in real estate. He is also managing numerous large scale investments and developments.
Ciudapolis is one of the biggest real estate franchises in Peru, with over 52 different franchises across South America and Asia. From developing a 40-acre space into a Japanese-themed eco-marvel to developing a 20-acre space into a Shire (Hobbit) themed estate, Ciudapolis is challenging the general idea of what it means to be eco-friendly by leveraging thematic real estate designs.
While the thematic approach and the low-cost franchise model make Ciudapolis stand out, Loza’s commitment to spreading the word about eco-technological developments is probably what keeps him going.
In his words, “We currently have a school for real estate brokers and developers, where we prepare them for the future of real estate. Over 7 million people have watched our videos or taken our courses and we are adamant about changing the focus of the industry worldwide. We are currently negotiating to build a city-scale development in the North of Peru which would become the first eco-technological city in the continent.”
Real estate developers are often very concerned about both the demand for and the possible ROI from wholesale eco-technological developments, but the shift in the landscape is changing the thought process. It does not cost a truckload of money to plant trees, and greenery and renewable energy sources like Solar are not nearly as expensive as they once were.
The average American family may not be able to afford large sprawling pieces of property like most celebrities, but real estate developers need to start developing similar features on a smaller scale; backyard gardens, rooftop gardens, and water conservation systems would not cost an arm and a leg to incorporate.
According to Clean Technica, solar costs have fallen faster than predicted since 2010. For example, the price of residential solar was at $2.65/W in the first quarter of 2021, down from $7.53/W in 2010, while utility-scale Solar was $0.89/W compared to $5.66/W a decade ago. These prices indicate a large-scale international effort to push the world faster towards achieving a net-zero power sector. When we compare the recent spike in gas prices, it becomes clear what the trends predict.
As more famous faces join the trend, it is likely to accelerate green adoption. As that time approaches, more real estate developers wIll potentially get involved more.