The New Color of Luxury? Green

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I had a big realization this week when I saw this picture, of a hybrid Ferrari. Actually, after my jaw hit my desk, I had a bit of an epiphany.

And some uncomfortable swelling…

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V-12 Ferrari Concept – Still fast enough to make a nun curse. Click the photo to see it all.

Why is Ferrari developing a hybrid vehicle? Why is the latest Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe a certified LEED hotel? Typically luxury brands like these have stood for the utmost in discretionary spending – now that discretion is turning towards the environment? In a word, yes.

I’ve been doing some research as part of a June article for Residential Systems Magazine, on how to “sell” green initiatives. In my research, I contacted George Velazquez, principal at Integrisys in Chicago. George just installed the electronics in the first Gold-certified LEED residence in Illinois. His company has created an innovative energy-management and home automation solution called the Liv ™ system (link to here) His company is one of the most progressive firms for energy management in the smart home arena.

I was running down my list of questions with George, drilling into my ideas on what it meant to “sell green”. As we spoke, I realized that “being green” or being energy efficient (or call it what you will, the meaning is “environmentally responsible”) is not something to segment and sell; it is an expected part of good design. For discerning clients, there is an expectation that a home automation system (or any home electronics installed by a systems integrator) would include energy management, and efficiency of both an electronic (and human) nature.

High net-worth individuals that can afford luxuries such as the above Ferrari are accustomed to more choices than the average Joe. Luxury is about many things, but at its most basic, luxury is about options. The same idea, explained conversely: luxury is about eliminating sacrifice.

Automating a luxury residence requires a design that does both: provide options for controlling the entire home ecosystem, and eliminating sacrifice. For smart luxury brands like Ferrari, Ritz-Carlton and even Integrisys, the best options are the ones that don’t sacrifice anything for their clients – including the environment.

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