It seems that the Monteverde family is never home, but you really can’t blame them. With hundreds of strangers wandering through their front door every day to gawk at everything from their iPod-playing toilet to their smog-eating roof tiles, there really is no privacy.
Throwing your doors open daily to crowds of strangers wearing Goofy hats and princess costumes is the kind of hospitality that only a simulated family created by Disney Imagineers could muster.
Disney created the fictional Monteverde family to help create a story for its new VISION House, built inside EPCOT’s Innoventions complex with the idea of showing visitors what a house built with sustainable, environmentally friendly design and materials could look like.
The family of four is conveniently out for the day, the guide tells visitors as they troop through the home. Hugo Monteverde has helpfully given the guide a temporary passcode to the Schlage lock. He’ll be getting a text message on his smartphone that somebody has come into his home, she said. Maybe he walked to work, since his Chevy Volt is plugged into a Siemens charger by the garage.
It would be hard not to aspire to the Monteverde’s lifestyle, architected by Disney’s Imagineering team. Except for a shortage of interior walls, the house looks like one a lot of people would like to live in: contemporary yet warm, with a high-end kitchen, efficient laundry room, and $5,000-plus toilet by Kohler that can keep your bottom warm.
The plumbing fixtures are all built to conserve water, the guide says. The Bosch appliances save energy, as do the Sylvania LED lights. The walnut floors by Armstrong come from sustainably maintained forests; the countertops are recycled glass; a Panasonic ventilation fan helps improve indoor air quality; and the heating and cooling systems by Trane are efficient as well. The Pella windows are outfitted with three layers of glass, and a solar panel on the roof by Hanwha SolarOne would help keep energy bills low were it not covered by the Innoventions building's roof.
The home, sponsored by Green Builder Media and a variety of product manufacturers, is a perfect venue for the manufacturer sponsors to reach potential end users, who can see and touch the products and are likely to link them with Disney’s formidable brand.
"This is such a proud thing for us" to be part of, said Donna Baldwin, a Boral representative. Boral provided its innovative smog-eating roof tiles for the building’s roof, cultured stone and brick for its exterior siding, permeable pavers for the sidewalk, and exterior trim.
Disney estimates that 15 million people will see the home in the three years it is scheduled to stay at EPCOT.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.