Santa Fe Home Showcases Best of Green Building & Design

Innovations in architectural design strategies are contributing considerably toward helping create a new world, meeting both resource conservation needs and the demands of a rapidly shifting marketplace.

As mentioned in previous blogs, buildings account for the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes the task of creating a more energy-efficient built environment crucial. What we have not discussed yet is the increasingly important concept of universal design, which broadly refers to the concept of a place created for use by people of all ages and abilities.

Universal design represents an especially important asset to retiring baby boomers, almost 90 percent of whom want to remain in their homes as they age, according to AARP.

By the time it is move-in ready at the end of this summer, our Incanto Home in Santa Fe’s Las Campanas community will be a true showcase of these important trends.

The New Incanto Home in Santa Fe:

The home is perched above the golf course in the city’s only luxury master-planned community, with roughly 2,600 square-feet indoors and another 1,300 square-feet of covered outdoor space.

It features an open floor plan, high ceilings, exposed beams, a modern fireplace, a plastered great room, and concrete floors with in-floor radiant heat. It also includes a modern kitchen with custom cabinetry and quartz counters for and two master suites with breathtaking mountain views, contemporary bathrooms, and high-end non-toxic finishes throughout.

Our ‘best practices’ approach incorporates systems, materials and finishes that assure durability, beauty, comfort, energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, accessibility and ease-of-use for inhabitants. Designed for those interested in a low-maintenance, highly durable and energy efficient home, the Incanto Home represents the culmination of years of successful strategies we’ve employed for our custom home clients.

Universal Design for the Incanto Home:

As mentioned, universal design accounts for people of all ages and abilities. With the Incanto Home, this translates into a number of noteworthy features:

  • Single-level design includes no steps within the home, garage and outdoor patio areas.
  • All door openings are wheelchair accessible.
  • Handles and fixtures are ‘ease of use.’
  • Wall-mounted toilets and vanities provide easy access.
  • Automated controls for key functions include heating and cooling, bath exhaust fans, and key lighting.

A Truly Green Built Home in Santa Fe:

The Incanto Home is a stellar model of sustainable design and is expected to meet rigorous certification by the U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED Gold home. Among its many green features: 

  • Building shell includes advanced under slab insulation with radiant in-floor heating and cooling, super-insulated wall construction and ENERGY STAR-labeled exterior windows and doors.
  • High-efficiency boiler generates heat and hot water.
  • All Interior finishes and cabinets are completely non-toxic, zero VOC.
  • Appliances are ENERGY STAR-labeled.
  • Automated fresh outdoor air intake energy recovery ventilation system creates optimal indoor air quality.
  • LED lighting fixtures are dimmable.
  • All plumbing fixtures are water conserving.
  • All water runoff from the roof is collected in below-ground cisterns for landscape irrigation.
  • All landscape is native, drought-tolerant and fed by a combination of community reclaimed and rain catchment water sources.
  • Home is equipped to become “zero energy”, meaning it can produce all of its own energy from solar on site. Although this option is not included in the base price, it can translate into significant savings throughout the life of the home.

Additional Advantages of Going Green:

The Incanto Home is expected to be move-in ready by late summer, which means it’s a good time to check it out since there’s still time to optimize customizations. But even if not this home, buyers should nonetheless be advised of the significant advantages of going with a green-built home (in addition to the sense of responsibility it bestows).

  • More Economical:
    • Green home appraisal values will always be slightly above homes built to conventional code.
    • Even if they’re not net-zero, green-built homes guarantee lower utility bills for life.
  • More Durable: Durability and low maintenance built into the design means less time and expense to maintain.
  • Healthier:
    • Best indoor air quality assured through filtered air ventilation system and non-toxic finishes.
    • 100% hard floor surfaces mean easy to clean and keep clean, with no place for contaminants to reside.


Santa Fe Chosen as One of the World’s Most Desirable Places to Retire

(photo credit: Jack Arnold Photography)

Looking for the best place in America to retire? Santa Fe was recently chosen by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the top 10 best places to retire across the entire world.

The Conde Nast report cites a study by the US News & World Report ranking Santa Fe as one of the top 10 places to “reinvent your life in retirement.”

What makes Santa Fe such a special retirement haven? It’s the combination of the history, the weather, and the laid-back lifestyle. Here are just a few of the reasons why more Americans are choosing to retire in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Why Retire in Santa Fe New Mexico?

Santa Fe is sunny 283 days (average) of the year, there are 250 art galleries and 12 museums, the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains are nearby, and the population is perfect at 83,000.

The Santa Fe Weather:

First and most importantly, retirees love Santa Fe for the weather. It’s sunny for 283 days a year here, on average, with a summer average high of around 82 degrees. Living in a desert, humidity is relatively low: so you won’t get the hot, sticky summers found in other parts of the country.

There also isn’t much precipitation: the average rainfall across the United States is 37 inches of rain per year. In Santa Fe, we get 14 inches of rain per year.

Ultimately, the weather is mild year-round with limited snow during the winter and mild heat during the summer. At an altitude of 7,000 feet, most Santa Fe residents don’t need air conditioning – a ceiling fan does the trick.

As some residents like to explain, we have four seasons here with no extremes in any season. So if you like mild temperatures while still enjoying the passing of the seasons, Santa Fe’s weather can be very desirable.

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The Sangre de Cristo Mountains:

In Santa Fe, you’re 35 minutes away from the ski hill. The nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains also offer plenty of hiking and biking opportunities. Wherever you go in the mountains, you’re treated to amazing views of the state of New Mexico and one of the best sunset views you’ll ever see in your life.

When Santa Fe residents tell visitors there are 12,000 foot peaks nearby, it’s easy to be amazed – until you realize that the city itself sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet. In any case, high mountains are all around us here.

The Rich & Vibrant Culture:

Santa Fe is rich with culture. Despite being a smaller city, Santa Fe is home to 250 art galleries and 12 museums, including the world-famous Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Some of the world’s best writers also found inspiration in Santa Fe. Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin is a longtime resident of Santa Fe, for example.

Several major Hollywood celebrities have also recently purchased homes in the region.

There’s a reason they call Santa Fe “The City Different”. 

Accessible Health Care:

Santa Fe’s primary hospital is Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, which has 200 beds and 34 specialties. Meanwhile, the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque is only about an hour away.

Mid-Size Population of Santa Fe:

Are you looking for a small town vibe with big city amenities? Santa Fe, with a population of around 83,000, walks a line somewhere in between. You’re a long way from the busy activity of a big city, but there’s still enough going on to keep residents entertained.

Meanwhile, the bigger city of Albuquerque is about one hour away – so you’re never too far away from anything you need.

Santa Fe is Consistently Ranked as One of America’s Best Retirement Spots:

You don’t have to look far online to find people who agree that Santa Fe is a desirable retirement community.

Conde Nast listed Santa Fe as one of the world’s top 10 best places to retire, for example, and US News and World Report picked Santa Fe as one of the best 10 places to reinvent your life in retirement.

Santa Fe was also chosen by Kiplinger as one of the “10 Great Places to Retire in 2015” and The NY Times listed it as one of the top 15 “dream towns” for retirement.

These rankings consistently praise the strong and diverse economy of Santa Fe as well as the good infrastructure and connectivity to the outside world. They also mention the outdoor lifestyle and the ability to pursue new hobbies in retirement.

Building Your Dream Home in New Mexico:

Want to build your dream home in Santa Fe? Palo Santo Designs, LLC is an award-winning local design build contractor that specializes in the design and construction of fine custom homes, renovations, and distinctive commercial spaces.

With the highest-quality craftsmanship and architectural design standards, Palo Santo Designs can help you retire in style in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Indoor Air Quality is a Priority With Our Home Builds

It is well known that we all face an onslaught of environmental toxins—imagine standing outside on a busy street corner.

However, most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air inside the average building is up to five times more polluted than the air outside, even when compared to the largest and most industrialized cities.

In addition, the EPA states that poor indoor air quality is the fourth largest environmental threat to our country.

We Have Control Of Our Indoor Air

While we have little control over the air on the street corner, we do have some control over the indoor air quality in our homes. Poor indoor air quality is linked to a host of health problems, including asthma, allergies, and even some cancers.

Many people are aware that homes can contain biological pollutants such as mold and mildew; animal dander; disease-carrying pests; and pollen. Homes in our region can also contain radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that rises out of the ground and can accumulate in our living spaces.

Chronic radon-gas exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer, according to the American Lung Association.

The good news is that radon is easily tested for and mitigated. In addition, potentially deadly combustion pollutants such as carbon monoxide from fuel-burning appliances are easily monitored with an affordable carbon monoxide detector.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are dangerous chemical compounds prevalent in the built environment. Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing VOC that is found in adhesives, carpets, and engineered wood products such as kitchen cabinets, furniture, and flooring. Many paints, stains, cleaning products, and even furniture can be high in VOCs. These compounds can off-gas into our living spaces for months or even years.

Let’s Build & Remodel Toxin Free Homes:

Luckily, an ever-growing selection of low- and no-VOC products is making its way into the mainstream. If you are building or remodeling a home, require that the finishes and products installed in your space are free from known toxins.

Also, work with building professionals who understand how to avoid conditions that can eventually lead to mold, and assure that your foundation is radon-protected. If you are remodeling a home built before 1978, assure that your remodeler is an EPA-certified lead-based-paint renovator, and thus avoid the introduction of lead dust into your home.

Getting Fresh Air in Santa Fe Homes:

Getting fresh air into the home is critical in assuring high-quality indoor air. Leaving windows open is not always advisable, thus mechanical means such as energy recovery ventilation systems (ERVs) are a good option to bring in pre heated/cooled air that is HEPA-filtered.

All new homes built in the City of Santa Fe are required to have radon-proof construction and meet national indoor air quality standards (ASHRAE 62.2). All green-certified homes ascribe to ASHRAE 62.2, and typically go well beyond that by using nontoxic interior finishes and mold preventative building techniques.

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