The nation marks Earth Day every April, a celebration of the environment that began on April 22, 1970. Doug Mcdonald celebrates the Earth and its finite resources every day through his work.

Mcdonald, a Westport resident, is known for innovative renovation ideas. As the founder of the Pure House movement, he constructs energy-efficient, toxin-free residences using best building practices from around the world. His first Pure House is his own, which he built in Westport and will be showcased on an upcoming HGTV program. The second is the newly completed Colonial house at 100 Coleytown Road.

The 11-room, 5,881-square-foot house sits on a 1.3-acre level and sloping corner lot across the street from the Aspetuck River and the Newman-Poses Nature Preserve, a 37-acre protected open space area with hiking trails administered by the Aspetuck Land Trust. The house has many energy-efficient features, including an electric charging station for electric cars.

According to Mcdonald, the Pure House is a high-performance home that offers a clean air environment. A high-performance building prevents warm air from escaping and stop cold air from entering. It is built by combining building envelope standards from the Passive House Institute in Germany, which he said has the most rigorous building practices in the world, and by avoiding all known toxins on the Google Red List.

Mcdonald said Red List building materials are those found to be harmful to humans.

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"Pure House structures are designed to be smart and keep up with, and exceed, even the newest energy codes that are being adopted in Connecticut," Mcdonald said.

The Pure House concept applies to residential building the same model that fostered restaurants that serve "Farm-to-Table" food and the reasons why farmer's markets have gained popularity, Mcdonald said. "You want to know that the ingredients are pure and natural and good for you. ... Just because you have a big tomato doesn't mean it tastes good," he said.

The house at 100 Coleytown Road, as with all Pure Houses, maximizes comfort levels while minimizing or eliminating its energy footprint. The Pure House will use 90 percent less energy than a traditional home. It requires less heating and less cooling than houses built with conventional practices, and it includes natural building materials free of chemicals.

There are no plastic pipes and all the fixtures are lead-free. Even the joint compound is free of formaldehyde. The house also features reverse osmosis water-filtration and air-filtration systems.

The walls are double thick and taped from the inside and outside to create a "super-insulated envelope" without the use of foam insulation. When there are no air leaks, there are no drafts, Mcdonald said. The house is also deliberately sited on the property to face the south to get the maximum benefit of sunshine, even on the shortest day of the year, for its active and passive solar systems.

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ABOUT THIS HOUSE
STYLE: Colonial
ADDRESS: 100 Coleytown Road
PRICE: $2,800,000
ROOMS: 11
FEATURES: corner lot, 1.3-acre level and sloping property, active and passive solar house features, heat recovery unit, extra insulation, views of Aspetuck River, walking distance to the Newman-Poses Preserve, thermal window and door insulation, fresh air exchange system, whole house air-filtration system, reverse osmosis water-purification technology, energy-efficient appliances, no-irrigation landscaping, air-tight environment, balcony, deck, patio, porch, terrace, awnings, exterior lighting, stone wall, five bedrooms, and four full and three half baths
SCHOOLS: Coleytown Elementary, Coleytown Middle, Staples High
MILL RATE: 17.94 mills
ASSESSMENT & TAXES: New construction, not set yet

Mcdonald calls his construction method "future proofing" the house against fluctuating prices of energy, climate changes, any revisions in building codes, which he said will only become more strict. Mcdonald thinks his building concepts and the use of natural materials will make the Pure House an asset rather than a liability as the world changes. "It should increase in value faster than a house not built like this," he said.

Construction for such a house is about 10 percent more expensive than a typical house of the same size, but that initial expense is easily off-set by its energy efficiency.

Operational costs for the Pure House are about 70 percent to 80 percent less than the typical "power-thirsty homes," he said.

The house will also have a Zen garden, and there is ample room for the addition of a barn, in-ground swimming pool and pool house.

Doug Mcdonald will talk about the Pure House construction philosophy on Earth Day at 1 p.m. April 22 in the Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road. The presentation will be followed by a tour of the Coleytown house. Mcdonald's presentation is co-sponsored by WeGreen Westport and the Westport Green Task Force.

Prospective buyers can get more information about the property by contacting Doug Mcdonald at 212-352-9600 or at www.thepurehouse.com.

ABOUT THIS HOUSE

STYLE: Colonial

ADDRESS: 100 Coleytown Road

PRICE: $2,800,000

ROOMS: 11

FEATURES: corner lot, 1.3-acre level and sloping property, active and passive solar house features, heat recovery unit, extra insulation, views of Aspetuck River, walking distance to the Newman-Poses Preserve, thermal window and door insulation, fresh air exchange system, whole house air-filtration system, reverse osmosis water-purification technology, energy-efficient appliances, no-irrigation landscaping, air-tight environment, balcony, deck, patio, porch, terrace, awnings, exterior lighting, stone wall, five bedrooms, and four full and three half baths

SCHOOLS: Coleytown Elementary, Coleytown Middle, Staples High

MILL RATE: 17.94 mills

ASSESSMENT & TAXES: New construction, not set yet