Living GREEN

Green design in the Hamptons is more than a trend. Conserving the natural resources in the Hamptons is vital in a lifestyle so intertwined with the environment. Here are some local builders utilizing green design in the homes they build.

Peter Sabbeth, Founder and President of Modern Green Home in Bridgehampton, observes, “Green design is now more the norm, not so much a trend, which is progress.” The Town of Southampton has incorporated sustainable design into its stringent building codes. There are stricter HERS ratings, an energy rating of the whole house. The three major “green” elements in a home are air quality, energy use, and materials. Low VOC paints, floor finishes, and carpeting are used to reduce emissions. Low E-Glass, highly insulated walls and windows, LED lighting, and geothermal heating and cooling along with solar panels are used to conserve energy. Reclaimed wood or wood harvested from managed forests as well as local materials are used for minimal ecological invasion. But above all, Peter reflects, “A sustainable house is a home that will be around for a long time, so it has to be beautiful.”


John Fisher, Vice President of Construction Projects at Aman Developers in Southampton, observes, “Green homes and buildings are evolving daily.” Using cloud technology, homeowners can monitor and control their home’s environment from anywhere in the world, ensuring maximum energy conservation. Water conservation techniques, especially fresh water, are incorporated through proper selection of plumbing fixtures and rainwater harvesting. Recycled and reclaimed materials ranging from engineered lumber to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified material, and reclaimed floors are featured. Photovoltaic roofs that capture solar energy to generate electricity, LED lighting, and geothermal heating are popular. Aman Developers is LEED Certified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).


Richard Perello, Founder and President of Perello Custom Home Design & Build in Southampton, remarks, “Insulation, recycled materials, and energy efficient appliances are all important in green design.” Spray foam insulation is used for exterior walls and the roof, producing zero air infiltration. Recycled materials using engineered lumber for framing and recycled glass in kitchen and bathroom counter tops and tile is popular. Reclaimed lumber from old barn wood is featured for flooring or mantels. LED rope lighting in the crown molding of the ceiling or in landscape lighting conserves energy. Geothermal heating meets Southampton Town’s HERS rating for new larger houses. Richard observes, “Another trend is a retractable roof made of aluminum panels with glass that rolls open, cooling the whole house off in the summer. In the winter, the high efficiency glass on the roof heats up, keeping the house warm.”


Mary Giaquinto, Vice President of Plum Builders, Inc. in East Hampton, exclaims, “Smart thermostats that track, record, and control settings automatically, managing temperature changes based on your daily schedule, keep your home comfortable and energy efficient.” A wider variety of choices in insulation help seal the house from cold/hot air. Innovation in glass and increased sophistication in window styles meet the higher standards of building codes for energy and wind. There is increased use of cypress, mahogany, and cedar. These woods sustain themselves when they’re maintained. Water based stains on the cedar roofing and siding use fewer chemicals than paint. Reclaimed wood is featured in paneling, trim, and flooring. Mary reflects, “Design starts at the beginning when you orient the house and pool on the building lot to take full advantage of the sun.”


Michael Davis, Founder and CEO of Michael Davis Design & Construction in Wainscott, reveals a new smart power source that uses natural gas or propane called the “Cogeneration System.” Available from GT Power Systems Inc., owned by Gerard Turza in Wainscott, “One single fuel source creates both electricity and hot water heating.” The Cogeneration System (Cogen or CHP) provides free electricity as a byproduct of heating the house. Regarding green design, Davis also features sustainably sourced wood, recycled lumber or recycled stone materials for flooring, blown-in insulation, insulated foundations, LED lighting, dimming lights, and triple pane windows to prevent heat loss. Michael observes, “The use of roof eaves or an overhang on the edge of the roof blocks out wind, trapping the sun for passive heat in the winter, while creating shade in the summer.”


Christine Fetten, Town Director of Municipal Works, and Rachel Longobardi, Sustainability Program Aide for the Town of Southampton’s Office of Energy and Sustainability, administer the Southampton Green Homes Program. The goal of the program is to reduce overall energy costs by improving heating, insulation and air sealing in homes and buildings in the Town of Southampton. Based on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, the nationally recognized system for inspecting, testing and calculating a home’s energy performance, residents are provided invaluable information about how efficiently their home is operating. To find out more about eligibility for a free home energy assessment, rebates and incentives that are currently available, please visit or call (631) 702-1751.


Local builders are incorporating green design to conserve energy, preserve the environment, and reduce emissions. Sustainable building in the Hamptons is here to stay.


Ruth Thomas, a freelance writer on the East End enjoys history, music, literature, art, nature, the beach, and her cute dachshund, Clancy.  She can be contacted at