Residents are moving into their new homes in Whisper Valley, an eco-friendly neighborhood in eastern Travis County. According to Austin's NPR station KUT, the new development, located just 20 minutes from downtown Austin, is intended to make green housing options more affordable, with prices beginning in the low $200,000s.

“What we’ve done is make [eco-friendly] technology available to the first-time homebuyer,” says Douglas Gilliland, president of Taurus of Texas, the developer who brought Whisper Valley to life.

As net-zero housing continues to gain popularity, Whisper Valley homes are designed with green in mind, generating as much energy as they consume. Gilliland explains that each house uses natural thermal properties — the homes utilize renewable energy, including roof solar panels and small heat pumps. 

Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion supports the Whisper Valley development, and is optimistic about its future. He says that longtime residents of the area have yet to object or protest the new green community, perhaps because of its focus on affordability. 

Whisper Valley also offers its residents a recreation center and an organic garden, according to Greenmatters. Lorenz Reibling, chairman of Taurus, says, “We believe we must consider the impact of our actions upon future generations, particularly in the context of a product as durable as real estate. Being sustainable — taking an environmentally, socially and economically responsible approach to development — is our defining principle.” 

So far, more than 25 homes have been sold in Whisper Valley, and more are still in development. Taurus is planning to build approximately 7,500 houses.