Taos, New Mexico — Green Home For Sale

This is a custom-built, green, super-healthy home. In addition to the main house there is a 600 sq. ft. studio which could easily be made into a guest house or a living area for an older child. A loft in the house could serve as third bedroom.

Listing ID: 20326

  • Energy Efficient Home
  • Green Home
  • GreenBuilt Home
  • Healthy Home
  • Straw bale
  • Solar - Photovoltaic

Asking Price (USD) $339,000
Annual Property Tax $2,200
Annual Utility Cost $1,500
Home Area 2,140 sq ft
Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms 2
Total Property Area 5 acres
Year Built 2006

Property Description

Our home is a custom-designed, eco-friendly house which has been lovingly maintained with a constant eye toward keeping the healthiest environment we can manage. The house was built in two phases. In 1997 the main living area was designed with a completely open floor plan consisting of approximately 1,100 sq. ft. of living space. A unique, octagonal space holds the kitchen, a bathroom, an open living area, and a loft, with a closet, which might serve as a third bedroom, an office, or perhaps a meditation and/or exercise area. In the center of this main living area a 2-foot diameter pine log rises approximately 20 feet to the peak of the roof, resting on a toggle joint to buffer the effects of any minor earthquakes. Spiraling upwards around this central support is a custom staircase accented by a handmade aspen railing. Connected to the kitchen are a pantry and a tiled, cold storage alcove. There is a small woodstove in the living area for added heat and for especially cozy evenings. The overall feel of this living space is one of spaciousness and comfort.
In 2006 the second section of the house was added, nearly doubling the living space. It adds a cozy den or dining room, 2 bedrooms, a second full bath, a laundry alcove, and a light-filled hallway backed by a thermal mass wall of adobe brick. All of the ceilings in this portion of the house consist of tongue-in-groove aspen wood. Both bedrooms contain spacious closets. Propane outlets have been installed in the master bath and master bedroom, providing the option for alternate heat. With the addition of this part of the house, the total living space amounts to 2,140 sq. ft.
In addition to the main house, a separate artist’s studio was constructed in 2007. 600 sq. ft. in size, it contains two rooms separated by an adobe brick wall. Numerous thermal pane windows make for a bright work space and unobstructed views; abundant track and spot ceiling lights provide added lighting wherever it might be needed. The ceiling is of tongue-in-groove pine which, in conjunction with the adobe interior, helps to create a totally natural interior feel. There is a custom-made sink cabinet housing a hammered copper sink. The front of the studio has a 10 x 30 foot portale, or porch.
Both the house and the studio contain traditional nichos. The house is pre-wired for satellite, stereo and landline phones.
With the addition of a connecting 6-foot tall wall, the studio and house form a courtyard enclosure with flagstone pathways. Outside the front and the back of the house are patio areas defined by 3-foot high, stuccoed walls. French drains were placed around the house.
Near the house is a small storage shed and a small greenhouse containing several raised garden beds. Finally, situated as it is next to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, no one can ever build between these 5 acres and the Rio Grande Gorge. Also, on the further side of the Gorge is uninhabited Pueblo land. The views from the house toward the Gorge and the Sangre De Cristo mountains will always remain unobstructed and unobscured.

What makes your home a Green or Healthy Home?

The house is constructed of straw bale, with one exterior wall being of rastra block – providing an insulation value of R-43. The roof has an insulation value of R-46. Interior walls are primarily of adobe brick for thermal mass. All electric is solar. Community electric service is available for those who wish to connect to the grid. The house faces south for passive solar heat. We have used only natural clay paint and natural clay plaster for a couple of rooms; the rest of the house has been left natural interior stucco. A small amount of wood trim has been painted with milk paint and sealed with a natural hand-rubbed wax finish. Natural resin has been used in one room for floor coloring, and old-fashioned milk paint was used on the floor of the main bedroom and the hallway. The only wax used has been completely natural floor milk wax.
We have our own water catchment system with a total storage capacity of 4700 gallons. A series of 3 filters (with the final one containing an ultraviolet light) serve to completely purify the water. (For those who prefer a well, our land sits above a world-class aquifer and there are numerous wells in the area providing excellent water.) The house is set up for recycling gray water. Also, located in the kitchen and main bath are switches for a hot water recirculation pump which prevents the waste of water.
The studio is constructed of straw bale as well, with one interior wall of adobe brick. The interior walls of the studio are all finished with natural adobe plaster and the floor consists of poured earth sealed with beeswax and floor milk wax, providing greater ease on the legs and a natural earthen beauty. The studio has its own water catchment system.
Cleaning and maintenance of our home has been done using organic and earth-friendly products. Passive solar and radiant floor heat eliminate the blowing dust and mites that normally come with forced-air furnaces.
The buyer will be provided with detailed descriptions of all systems, and any other help that may be needed in moving to a green and healthy home, including local places for purchasing green products.
Finally, the environment itself contributes to the healthy quality of this home. The lack of all industrial pollution in the Taos area, and the mountain air provide a most healthy environment.

Neighborhood Description

Our one-mile road has 9 homes, each on an average of 8 acres. The homes are a mix of traditional southwestern and alternative styles. Everyone has plenty of space, but you do not feel isolated. We are dominated by the mountains, stars, and magnificent sunrises and sunsets. One mile from our house is the Rio Grande Gorge bridge -- one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Taos area. A 10 minute walk takes you to a spectacular trail alongside the 700 foot deep gorge.

Market Area

Historic Taos is the nearest market area, with downtown Taos being from 15 to 20 minutes from the house. With a population around 8,000 Taos has everything one needs while still maintaining the small town feel: health food store, theater, center for the arts, museums, hardwares, a thriving and varied music scene, many art galleries, Walmart, McDonalds, many restaurants, hotels, a bowling alley, gyms, frequent cultural events including fiestas, a park, and much, much more.

School District

We are in the Mesa Vista school district. However there are numerous alternative and private schools in the area, reflecting the diverse needs of a unique community.


Taos both a tourist town, and a close-knit multicultural community. Taos Pueblo is a world heritage site. Taos Ski Valley is minutes away. Taos is known for its abundance of artists -- Hispanic, Anglo, and Native American. The area is a dream for outdoor activities: mountain trails, skiing, rafting, camping, hunting, fishing, cycling, rock climbing, multiple hot springs -- all within minutes of town.

Home Type or Land

Single Family - Single Level

Location of Home or Land


Elevation of Home


Building Details

Air Quality

Agriculture in Area Yes
Industry in Area No
Air Pollution in Area No
Pesticide Free Yes
Fragrance Free Yes
Cleaned with Green Products Yes

Interior Environment

Heating System Hydronic Floor Heat (radiant)
Solar - Passive
Wood Stove
Cooling System Passive Cooling
Ventilation System Other
Whole House Filtration None
Whole House Vacuum No

Energy & Water

Energy System Solar - Photovoltaic
Water System Rain Water Collection
Wastewater System Septic System

Construction Information

Construction Type Hybrid
Straw bale
Exterior Finish Stucco
Interior Finish Earthen Plaster
Gypsum Board - Sheet Rock
Wood - Solid
Interior Paint Milk Paint
Floor Material Concrete
Roof Material Metal
Window Material Metal Dual Glazed
Wood Dual Glazed
Insulation Material Other

Garage / Car Port

Garage / Carport No

Contact Information

Bruce Vance

P.O. Box 60
El Prado, NM 87529 US
Telephone: (575) 770-3560

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