Acqua Liana 'eco-mansion' thinks big, very big

Developer's luxurious green creation features a glass "water floor" and an oversize garage that overlooks the swimming pool. But do "green" and "mansion" represent a contradiction?

Acqua Liana garage
The Acqua Liana's marbled oversize garage overlooks the swimming pool above. Frank McKinney
Acqua Liana water floor
The artistic foyer features a water floor. Frank McKinney

Many real estate sellers are facing tough times in today's economic climate. What to do? One alternative: hope for environmentally conscious green dollars. That's what luxury real estate developer Frank McKinney did. He is pursuing a green strategy with his latest creation, the elaborate Acqua Liana, set on about 1.6 acres on the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Acqua Liana (Tahitian and Fijian for "water flower") features a glass "water floor" with "hand-painted tiles in a Lotus garden motif, brilliantly illuminated below the shimmering surface," according to McKinney's Web site. The three-story mansion claims to be the first built and certified according to the rigorous standards defined and mandated by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Florida Green Building Council, and Energy Star for Homes.

While we can't help but wonder if the words "green" and "mansion" inherently represent a contradiction, the 15,071-square-foot mansion does incorporate plenty of eco features.

Solar panels meet most of the house's energy needs. Environmentally conscious lighting reduces electricity consumption by 70 percent. If the homeowner wants to know how much electricity is being consumed, the automated feedback system displays energy efficiency in real time.

A water system collects enough runoff water from the entire cedar roof to fill an average swimming pool every 14 days. The water is then used to fill the water garden and irrigate the landscape. Ultra-efficient air conditioning and purification systems ensure air quality that's supposedly twice as clean as a hospital's operating room.

The Acqua Liana provides plenty of space where the owner can hang around with his or her newly won green friends: a magnificent oceanfront Hawaiian Koa-wood kitchen and catering kitchen, a fitness studio, an ocean-front glass office, 7 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, 2 glass elevators, 2 laundry rooms, a glass-enclosed wine cellar, an ocean-front grand salon that opens onto the beach, a dining room that opens onto the pool, and a Hollywood-like movie theater where Al Gore's Oscar-winning "An Inconvenient Truth" can be shown on repeat.

In a particularly eye-catching twist, the marbled oversize garage has windows that peer into the swimming pool.

The Web page doesn't recommend what kind of green cars should be driven by the future owner ( Tesla ? Koenigsegg ? Fisker ?) or what yacht to anchor by the included private dock to keep the green image intact. These details remain the responsibility of the homeowner.

This green dream can be yours for a mere $29 million. Then again, it is furnished.

Acqua Liana bedroom
The master bedroom, one of seven bedrooms, overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and has his/hers oceanview baths. Frank McKinney
Acqua Liana garden
A waterfall overlooks a tropical water garden on 1.6-acre the property in Palm Beach County, Florida. Frank McKinney
About the author

    Erik Palm, a business reporter for Swedish national television, is joining CNET News as a spring 2009 fellow with Stanford University's Innovation Journalism program. When he's not working, he enjoys kayaking and exploring California's hiking trails. E-mail Erik.

     

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