12948 N. 9th Ave. 

2665 sq. ft.: 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms

Built in 2007 by Fireside Homes

Lot size: about 60' x 120'

John Poole at Group One, 208-440-9600; jpoole@group-one.com; http://jpoole.group-one.com

Twenty minutes from downtown on Cartwright Road lies the Dry Creek Meadows neighborhood of Hidden Springs, the location of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-rated house in Idaho. It's one of only six in the nation. LEED provides a nationally accredited benchmark for green homes. The houses save resources: The furnace in this home is 90 percent efficient, and the water heater is tankless. When someone enters a bathroom, a sensor causes a water pump to switch on; when they turn on the hot water tap, the unit heats the water in five seconds. All the bulbs in the house are energy-saving compact fluorescents camouflaged in attractive fixtures. The water taps and toilets are low flow; there is a hot air recycling system and four heating and cooling zones. The back yard is planted in only 20 percent grass, and the rest of the plantings are drought tolerant or native plants. There is a rain sensor that tells the automatic sprinklers to turn on only when water is needed. LEED homes cost about $6 a square foot more than code-built homes, but the owner saves 30 to 60 percent on utilities.

Besides all these economy features, LEED homes have a low impact on the environment. Certain percentages of materials like carpets and wall board must be made of recycled materials. The interior paint and stain contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC) to maintain healthier air. A filtering system creates hospital-quality air. Materials used are easily replaceable like the attractive colored-concrete floor in the front hall and kitchen and the alder kitchen cabinets. Automatic timers make sure exhaust fans in the bathrooms turn off. If possible, materials in the house are purchased from no more than 500 miles away to save fuel and minimize pollution. Subcontractors use leftover materials at their next site, or take them to a recycler. In this particular house, only 11 percent of the national average at construction sites was thrown away.

In addition to these great features, this is a beautiful home. The style is Alpine and the exterior is covered in warm brown cedar shingles, tan siding and decorative rock. Visitors first enter through a covered archway, off of which is a room with an attached bath. From there, it's a walk through a large pleasant courtyard to the front door.

All the ceilings in the house are at least nine feet tall. The walls are painted several different rich, warm colors, and each room, including the back patio, has a ceiling fan. The gas fireplace in the living room is topped with a dark wood mantel, and the room has two big windows facing the back yard. The kitchen is equipped with top-of-the-line appliances, a gas stove, an island and breakfast bar, and slab granite countertops. The dining room is set in a charming square bay of five windows.

Off the living room is the large master suite lit by two more large windows and a glass door to the patio. Its bathroom features handsome tile countertops and floors, two sinks, a garden tub, a walk-in shower and a huge closet. Off the front entry is a window-lit hall leading to two bedrooms sharing a bath. Behind the kitchen is a walk-in pantry, utility room with a deep sink, a door to the oversized finished garage, a half bath and stairs to the large bonus room, featuring another half bath, a closet and a good view of the foothills.

Because the house is in use as a model for display, no price is available. But, as mentioned above, the sale price will likely be about $6 more per square foot than the average, code-built home in the area.

Pros: Too many to mention. This is a model home and six more LEED-certified homes are planned. It's an elegant house that saves energy and resources and harms the earth as little as possible.

Cons: None that are obvious.

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