New York couple wins HGTV green home contest

| by John Johnson
New York couple wins HGTV green home contest

The keys for HGTV’s brand new green home were turned over to a New York couple in July. Sandra and Kermit Gilson of upstate New York entered the HGTV Green Home 2010 Giveaway online drawing for the eco-friendly cottage-style home every day during the two-month sweepstakes.

The retired couple received a surprise visit from HGTV on-air personality Jamie Durie at their New York home to inform them that they had won the contest. They toured the home in Plymouth, Mass., for the first time in July, as a front lawn full of spectators awaited their arrival.

Just over 17 million people entered to win the energy efficient and highly sustainable home, which features native and drought resistant landscaping, solar panels, Energy Star appliances, local artwork and many reclaimed or reused materials. The Gilsons are still unsure if they will move into the new home, or sell it and remain in New York. The entire package, which includes an SUV and $100,000 in cash, is valued at $800,000. More than 6,000 visitors toured the home during the summer, raising about $120,000 for charity.

“We really couldn’t believe it when we found out that we won,” said Sandra Gilson, who said they follow typical green strategies like recycling at their New York home. “We were speechless, really.”

Upon seeing the home for the first time, Sandra said her favorite aspect was the colorful and roomy kitchen, where she planned to cook her favorite chicken meals. As for Kermit, he fell in love with the farmer’s porch and the third floor “tower room,” an area from which he’d like to watch the snow fall.

“It’s very different actually being here and being able to absorb this from all directions,” said Kermit, a retired science teacher. “You get an entirely different perspective from just viewing the rooms on the Internet.”

This is the third year that HGTV has held the green home giveaway as a promotion for its network TV show and an effort to spread the word on green building practices. The home was built by MacKenzie Brothers Construction.

The previous homes were in southern Florida and Hilton Head, N.C. The footage from the couple’s introduction to the home is available at Jack Thomasson, the HGTV Green Home planner, said he chose the sprawling Pinehills development in Plymouth because he wanted this year’s green home to introduce green to a new region, and because he liked the development’s land usage strategy. The Pinehills preserves two acres for every one it develops.

“This house feels like it belongs in this community,” said Thomasson, who also likes that the Pinehills has its own grocery store, dry cleaners, bank, and other elements key to living in a sustainable community. “Often times when people put together plans to do a “show home” project, it feels almost museum-like. But this feels like a real home.”


Topics: Appliances, Building Green, Cost of Ownership, Heating & Cooling, Landscaping, Solar Power

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