Green amenities catching on in new housing complexes

In Chelsea, Mass., new condos in the Forbes Park development come with access to a fleet of DaimlerChrysler Smart cars — two-seater mini-mobiles that get great mileage. Every unit at Buzz, a Dallas loft project, will include an eGo electric moped. They’re more useful than the traditional new-home amenities, believes developer Zad Roumaya: “You can’t drive your swimming pool to the market.” Although such eco-sensitive features are included in only a small percentage of the total new-home market, industry insiders say green ideas are going mainstream, fueled by buyer demand, rising energy costs, and government tax credits for energy efficiency. And folks who opt in aren’t just getting a cute li’l moped or a yard full of eco-appropriate flora. “You’re buying your way into a community that thinks similarly,” says a prospective buyer at Forbes Park, “and that’s appealing as well.”