By Katie Agness
Built with three defining principles in mind—sustainability, technology and healthy living—Whisper Valley is a $2 billion master-planned community developed by Taurus Investment Holdings.
Whisper Valley opened Phase 1 in September 2017 with 237 lots, and upon full build out, will have seven clustered villages that will include 7,500 single-family and multi-family homes, village-style retail and neighborhood services, restaurants and commercial space.
“Located adjacent to the Whisper Valley Discovery and Amenity Center, Phase II is about to break ground and includes 267 single-family home sites, a dog park, an expanded trail system, additional community gardens and pocket parks,” says Douglas Gilliland, president of Taurus Texas. “Phases III and IV are in the planning stages with a total of more than 700 single-family lots being added in phases II, III and IV combined.”
Whisper Valley is located just east of SH-130 at FM 973 and Braker Lane. “The community is in East Austin, the fastest growing area in the city,” says Gilliland, who brings over 30 years of development and marketing experience from large residential and mixed-use land developments. “It is a very culturally diverse, hip part of Austin where old meets new, and you can always find live music and great art. The popularity of the neighborhood is bringing lots of fresh, new restaurants and boutiques.”
The largest zero-energy capable housing community in the nation, Whisper Valley offers homes starting from the $230s. Homes include solar panels and a high-energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system, which saves up to 65 percent on typical monthly energy consumption.
“Our vision is to attract buyers in Austin who want to lead a socially responsible lifestyle with affordable and energy efficient homes in a sustainable development,” Gilliland says. “We came to Austin because there is already an appetite for sustainable living, and we’ve had a terrific response. What makes us different from other eco-developments is the size and scale of Whisper Valley and the ability to offer high-tech, sustainable homes utilizing renewable energy sources without sacrificing affordability.”
Homes in the community meet the carbon-neutral standard promoted by the City of Austin for all new construction homes, and high-efficiency Bosch appliances and Google Nest thermostats help contribute to energy efficiency.
“Through EcoSmart Solution, a Taurus subsidiary, we created and implemented an innovative energy delivery and technology program for every home in Whisper Valley,“ Gilliland says. “Efficiencies were achieved through investment up front in a sustainable infrastructure, much like developers do for other systems like water and wastewater lines. The result was a revolutionary approach to a new kind of community, and now Whisper Valley is a template for other developers that want to build affordable and green communities.“
In addition to the eco-friendly, efficient features, Whisper Valley offers a variety of lot sizes and home styles to cater to a wide range of homebuyers. Phase I includes duplex and triplex homes, as well as 40’, 50’ and 60’ lots.
“Our builders have a variety of attractive floor plans with a mixture of traditional and soft contemporary elevations that are informal, warm and inviting,” Gilliland says. “Homes range in size from 1,100- to 3,500-square-feet and come in a wide variety of lifestyle options. The most attractive features are the sustainability and affordability of our homes.”
Residents also have access to Whisper Valley’s 700 acres of green space, a 5,000 square foot amenity center, a fitness center, geothermal heated resort-style pool, trails, organic community gardens, creative playscapes and an onsite lifestyle director planning community events.
Even though the community completed its first phase less than a year ago, Whisper Valley has been receiving local and national attention for its homebuilding and eco-friendly designs. Whisper Valley was named 2018 Best New Community from the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin and the Green Home Builder’s 2017 Community of the Year. The Discovery and Amenity Center received Austin Energy Green Building’s (AEGB) three-star rating for its efforts in being a contributor to a cleaner environment, and most recently, Whisper Valley received a national Merit Award from the PCBC Gold Nugget Awards for Best Innovative Energy Design.
From first-time homebuyers to growing families to empty nesters, Whisper Valley attracts a variety of Austinites by building zero-energy capable homes in a beautiful setting. “We are seeing a great response from homebuyers who want the latest technology and most energy efficient homes at an amazingly affordable price,” Gilliland says. “We partnered with the best companies in the world to design, create and invest in Whisper Valley’s technology and infrastructure upfront.”
Gilliland continues, “There is heart and soul in this community because we came from a common goal of leaving the environment better than we found it. Together, we are connecting lifestyles that are diverse, affordable, sustainable and particularly healthy for families and singles alike.” RL