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Category: , Posted:03 Mar 2010 | 06:00 am

This week we have a piece by Duane Lennie of Mango Nation who shares how the Istana Phuket luxury villa project is going green:
A breed of more sophisticated luxury homebuyers are extending their personal principles into their lifestyle choices and demanding 'green' living spaces. Luxury travelers are also seeking more socially responsible resorts and villas for their special vacations where money may be no object but adhering to their eco-values is an objective.
Istana Phuket recognizes this lifestyle trend and has designed its entire 27.5-acre site and 19 villas with sensitivity to the surrounding environment. However, while the buildings are designed to respect the environment, they are equally strong, beautiful pieces of architecture whose character will hold value and interest in the future – the perfect eco-luxury combination. To strike a perfect balance between eco and luxury, ISTANA Phuket has incorporated these practical and innovative methods into the development:

• Low density planning and preservation of local trees and vegetation. Each villa plot size ranges from 1,589 to 3,527 square meters (17,100 to 37,960 square feet).

• Passive and environmentally friendly cooling techniques, with abundant reflecting pools, garden terraces and breeze-inducing pavilions. All these features facilitate outdoor tropical living and reduce energy needs.

• Passive lighting and innovative electric lights can also be set up to automatically switch lighting circuits on and off as and when they are needed preventing energy from being wasted.

• All villas are fully fitted out with the latest technology in Air VRV Conditioning. The main advantage of VRV systems is that they operate with outstanding efficiency, so there are major energy savings compared to a normal split system. In addition, the VRV system uses R410A gas which is a non ozone-depleting refrigerant.

• Swimming pool equipment uses eco-friendly variable speed pumps that conserve water and reduce noise with a base saving of 30% over traditional pumps. The use of an advanced filtration media enables better water quality with environmental and economic benifits.

• The entire Istana site has been designed to be self-sufficent in providing potable water for washing, cleaning, toilet and irrigation use. Rain water is collected from roof tops of the villas and grey water from showers, baths and wash hand basins. The collected water is treated then reused.

• All hot water for the villas is provided via Quantum five-star renewable energy rated heat pump systems. A heat pump system is where heat from the ambient air is absorbed by an environmentally friendly refrigerant in the evaporator, heating water in the most efficient manner.

• The automatic irrigation system greatly reduces the amount of water wasted on the property. The irrigation system is designed to run for only a set amount of time so that there is little waste. The system is also set to run at nighttime when there is very little water lost to evaporation.

• Aquatherm piping is used throughout the project for the hot and cold water systems; the prime advantages of this system is that it has built-in insulation barriers that reduce heat loss in hot water systems by around 70%, which provides for major energy savings and is also 100% recyclable.

• Natural, 'green' land borders and discreet villa positioning so that each villa is wrapped in environmental serenity.

• Spacious designs for each villa that allows guests, children and staff to occupy separate areas of each complex, ensuring privacy and harmonious living throughout
It has become apparent that long-time UK expatriates living in Hong Kong have been keeping a secret from the rest of the world. Fortunately their secret has nothing to do with the banking bonuses they'll receive over the Chinese New Year.
Their secret, or rather their discovery over the last five years, is that Phuket-the Buddhist-friendly island located in the south of Thailand-is Asia's best overall “lifestyle” location in Asia (and perhaps the world). These Brits have lived and travelled around Asia and the rest of the world and, for the most part, have decided they'll never return to the United Kingdom to spend significant time or retire.
British nationals and many other foreign nationals have adopted Phuket as their vacation playground and second home, and they've discovered that Phuket Island offers a truly unbeatable combination of safety, friendly locals, natural beauty and convenience, with a wide choice of white sand beaches and warm turquoise seas, as well as an established infrastructure of world-class hotels, fine dining, night life, yacht marinas, hospitals, schools, spas and golf courses.
According to new findings from Alliance & Leicester International (, Thailand ranks as the number one overseas destination for retiring Expatriate British citizens. France (18%) is the most popular destination for those who intend to retire abroad followed by Spain (13%), the UK (12%) then Thailand (5%). The key factors that contribute to the chosen retirement destination were better quality of life (21%) cent), better weather (20%) and value for money (14%).
Lynette Byrne, Head of Marketing at Alliance & Leicester International, said "It is interesting to see that many UK expats have settled in their new home, with 87 per cent of UK Expats intending to retire abroad.”
Without a doubt, the word 'luxury' has now become the world's most over-used (and under-achieved) adjectives.
It's impossible to get away from today's marketers urging you to 'live a luxury lifestyle', 'buy luxury real estate' or 'vacation at our five-star luxury resort'. Truthfully, the word rarely lives up to its promises.
Fortunately some people like Richard Shearer, the developer of ISTANA Phuket, prefer to use more traditional adjectives to convey a sense of high-quality-words like elegant, beautiful, practical, understated and sophisticated.

“I've never been comfortable in believing we can create an environment and architecture that meets everyone's definition of 'luxury',” says Shearer. “Luxury is such a personal thing: for some it means staying in a penthouse suite at the Four Seasons; and for others it means climbing to the top of Mount Everest.”

“What I do believe is ISTANA Phuket can create a natural environment with beautiful, timeless architecture based on the principals of intelligent contemporary design, exclusivity, ultimate quality, and environmental harmony.”
Standing on the top of ISTANA Phuket's 27-acre building site, overlooking pristine Naithon Beach where construction cranes and dump trucks rumble in the background, you start to understand why this development is attracting worldwide attention.
The buzz started with the announcement of the new project when nine of the 19 villas were sold in less than 30 days – astounding considering a peg had yet to be driven into the land. It continued with accolades in magazines such as the Robb Report Vacation Homes, and the Asia Property Report that named the project one of Thailand's Top Ten Luxury Properties in their July 2009 issue.
What the initial villa buyers and the international media recognized about ISTANA Phuket from the start – which is now more obvious with the completion of the development's eco-friendly infrastructure and stunning architectural structures rising from the landscape – is that ISTANA Phuket will set a new standard for tropical villa estates in Asia.
Faced with the challenge of creating the ISTANA Phuket estate and 19 individually- designed villas, Gary Fell, the world-renowned principal of GFAB Architects, took the task to heart.

“With Istana Phuket I wanted to create villas that are sensitive to their surrounding environment”, says Fell. “While each villa has wonderful sea views, there is abundant space to give a strong tropical jungle feeling to the interior of each property. The villas encourage outdoor living in harmony with the natural setting. The designs respect the environment, but are strong, beautiful pieces of architecture whose character will hold value and interest in the future.”
It's hard not to sound pretentious when saying this, but owning an ISTANA Phuket villa puts you in a very exclusive position.
A position to control your tropical, living environment through space and design: Your one-of-a-kind designer villa is an architectural masterpiece positioned on a generous plot of land with old-growth trees and reforested jungle that serves as a private cocoon, without blocking your million dollar view. You're also in a position of owning a value-appreciating asset with lucrative rental returns in a turnkey, five-star villa estate.
No expense has been spared and no detail has been overlooked while creating this stunning development. Exacting international building standards are strictly adhered to and only the highest quality décor, fittings and furnishings have been incorporated into the villas such as Italian Poliform kitchens, Lutron home information systems, Viabizzuno lighting and Antonio Lupi bathrooms.
Homebuyers are starting to demand 'green' living spaces, and high-end travelers are seeking more socially responsible locations for their overseas vacations where money is no object but adhering to their eco-values is an important objective. ISTANA Phuket recognizes this lifestyle trend and has designed its entire 27.5-acre site to be eco-friendly.
Environmental-Friendly Features:

• Low density planning and preservation of local trees and vegetation

• Passive and environmentally-friendly cooling techniques

• Passive and energy-efficient lighting and lighting control systems

• Innovative, energy-saving air conditioning systems

• Eco-friendly swimming pool pumps and filtration systems

• Site-wide water conservation and treatment system

• Energy-efficient hot water heater and pump system

• Automatic irrigation system for water conservation

• High-tech Aquatherm piping for both hot and cold water systems

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