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Selling Sustainability

The U of M's eco-friendly TERRA House is back on the market.


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For sale: Two bedroom, two bath sustainable Uptown home with stainless-steel Energy Star appliances, dual-flush toilets, bamboo floors, solar panels, and a guaranteed low utility bill.

The original buyers of the TERRA House, an eco-friendly demonstration house designed by University of Memphis architecture students, have backed out of the deal, and the city's first green house is back on the market.

"The couple who planned to buy the TERRA House each had their own houses, but neither could sell their house to purchase another one," said Eric Criswell, one of the principal owners at DPC Construction.

TERRA stands for "technologically and environmentally responsive residential architecture" and the house is priced at $215,000. Criswell believes the price is a deal considering the quality of materials used. Many were donated or discounted since the home was a University of Memphis project to educate the public on green construction.

"It'd take somewhere in the ballpark of $275,000 to $280,000 to replicate it," Criswell said.

Potential buyers can expect extraordinarily low utility bills, which Criswell estimates at $75 a month. That's due to energy-efficient appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and a system of solar panels on the house, which produce power to be sold back to the Tennessee Valley Authority, Memphis Light, Gas & Water's energy supplier.

The house also boasts the state's first gray-water system, which collects water from sinks and showers to be re-used for toilets. The toilets in the home feature a dual-flush capability that conserves water.

"When we use a typical toilet, we're wasting water when we flush. It doesn't take the full 1.6 gallons to get it down," Criswell said. "At TERRA, the toilet only uses 0.8 gallons per flush [for fluid waste]."

The house is being sold by Henry Turley Realtors, and Criswell said interested buyers should act fast.

"We have three or four interested folks already looking at moving forward with it and expect to move it sometime in the next month," Criswell said. "It's a steal for anyone searching for a house in the Uptown market."


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