From Blight House To Bright Spot: Green Honors For Hillspoint Home

For years, only one thing marred the view from Old Mill Road and Elvira Mae’s, down Hillspoint Road. There — sandwiched between handsome beach homes and the beach itself — sat a blight house.

Unkempt and untended, it looked out of place. And dangerous.

When Robin Tauck bought the property, and an adjacent lot, she wanted to maintain the traditional beach community vibe. But she’s also an ardent environmentalist.

Her vision for the blight house was to maintain the same footprint for minimal impact, while creating a model for future homes.

Working with architect Michael Greenberg and TecKnow, the Bedford Square-based company that combines automation technology with green energy products, she built an innovative “guest cottage.” (Her own, similarly designed home, is next door.)

The new Hillspoint Road home.

227 Hillspoint Road uses sustainable building practices and innovative technology. Solar and battery storage is optimized, so the house is run almost entirely off the grid.

It meets many of the standards for a Green Building Award: rehabilitation, energy efficiency, innovation, conservation, sustainability, and modeling for the future.

So the other day — around the same time the United Nations hosted its Climate Action Summit — Governor Ned Lamont and Congressman Jim Himes were in town. So was Albert Gore III, from Tesla (one of the companies TecKnow works with), environmental leaders from groups like Sustainable Westport and Save the Sound, and all 3 selectmen.

Robin Tauck and Governor Ned Lamont, on the steps of 227 Hillspoint Road.

They presented Tauck, Greenberg and TecKnow with a Green Building Award. It recognizes this project, for its contribution to sustainability.

The honor signifies one more step on Westport’s path to being a net zero community, by 2050.

And it also shows that a small, blighted house need not be replaced by a bigger, more energy-sapping one.

Especially at such a well-known, beloved and lovely spot by the shore.

Phil Levieff of TecKnow, Albert Gore III of Tesla, and Robin Tauck. (Photos/JC Martin)

23 responses to “From Blight House To Bright Spot: Green Honors For Hillspoint Home

  1. Michael Calise

    Nice to know the Governor was in town. I wonder if he and his political cohorts stopped in next door at Elvira’s to pay his new 7.35% tax on anything and everything he purchased there!!!!

    • Saranda Berisa

      Hear ye!

    • Richard Fogel

      michael,As Trump gave his daughter exemptions on tariffs that everyone else is paying, i am unaware of any democrats who have exemptions on sales tax.. Go live in Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey. Who limited the maximum state deduction on income tax? Obama, Bidens son, Clinton, Uranium 21, sandy Berger, Farkas, .

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      Yes, it really is a beautiful and innovative house, isn’t it!? Even the garage and pavers are works of art! I’m sure everyone who sees it can appreciate the efforts that went into it.

  2. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70 BA, MA, JDE

    Albert Gore III – The Hunter Biden of his day?

    • Richard Fogel

      eric, republicans are quick to throw out names, detail the facts that support a position.

      • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70 BA, MA, JDE

        Just throwing out the name Richard – found the name dropping somewhat ironic but interested in any details/facts you may have. Is there a Westport connection w/Mr. Gore? Are there any inconvenient truths?

        • Bob Stalling

          Eric, I’m sure the only reason Mr. Gore was there was to point out the inconvenience of building so close to the water….

  3. Michael Calise

    Sorry you are all so defensive and sensitive!!!! There is no defendable reason to place a new and higher tax on food items which effects all demographics. Regardless of party I can not support the bloated and inefficient bureaucracies in Hartford and Washington!!! simply put:
    THROW THE BUMS OUT!!!!! applies here.

  4. Billy Nistico

    Really disappointed at your posts Michael. Dans article has nothing to do with politics and to hijack a really nice story to start slinging insults and calling people ‘bums’ seems pretty uncharacteristic of you.

    • Nothing to do with politics, yet there he is in the picture…..the third most unpopular Governor in the nation.

  5. Nice house and I’m glad it’s sustainable. It must have taken a lot of money and resources to make such a house…something most people can’t afford.
    Luckily, the sustainable travel business, sending people on flights and yachts to destinations all over the world, has allowed such a sustainable thing to happen.

  6. Raymond Skidgell

    Thank you mr. Stalling. I agree you have only pointed out the hypocrisy here. I am older and grew up with do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do. I suppose that phrase is appropriate here.

  7. Jeffrey Wieser

    It’s a great house and fits in nicely in the neighborhood. Which makes it even more amazing that the Town has allowed Positano’s to be replaced with a monster wall of a house that does not. Bah! Humbug!

  8. don bergmann

    First, Robin is to be thanked for her work. Now we have to get a new sidewalk along that area. Robin is of course supportive in many ways. Also relevant is the effort of Catherine Calise to obtain a fair price for the blighted property. Some were trying to take advantage of the elderly owner, Mrs. Berman. I introduced Catherine to the Bermans and also initiated the “blight designation” of the house. Remember that Lou Mall of the RTM was the driver behind Westport’s very helpful blight ordinance. As to 233 Hillspoint, the “cupola” used for an elevator will be the last such use of a cupola. Thanks, mostly to Chip Stephens of the P&Z, the cupola definition has been corrected to avoid this kind of abuse. As to the size and height of the house, there is a story there as well. The variance granted by the ZBA for coverage was not justified. Liz Wong of the ZBA was the sole dissent on the ZBA and should be acknowledged for that. The remaining four ZBA members, including Jim Ezzes the Chair, should not, in my opinion, have voted to allow the coverage sought. Michael Calise made compelling arguments before the ZBA, but only Liz Wong agreed with Michael. As to the height, it conforms to our zoning regulations but only because the P&Z amended the height regulations to allow an additional five feet of height in flood areas. To me this made sense if someone was raising an existing house, but little sense if a new house was being constructed. People such as Randy Henkels of the HDC and I opposed the FEMA height increase approved by the P&Z for new construction but did not prevail. All should keep these issues in mind with the elections coming up, particularly as to the ZBA.
    Don Bergmann

  9. Thank you Robin for the beautiful work you have allowed to happen at the shore. It seems some commenters have some issues which really do not belong on this piece. And thank you Dan for posting this very positive article. It might be said the Robin is a true friend of Westport and has hosted many parties tio raise money for local causes. Thank you..

    • Nick Thompson

      Both this and her other house are of amazing quality workmanship/materials, studies in restraint and proper design. Very danish and cool. I moved here a few years ago and it is amazing how cleaned up the old mill area is now – the new parking lot, the removal of the houses by the bridge, the new landscaping at the beach and the little park area are all incredible enhancements.

  10. Susan Iseman

    What a beautiful project. Too bad the sour grapes bring it down with their tiresome rhetoric. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

  11. Jeff Arciola

    I thought the democrats say sea levels rising from climate change. Why spend so much money on a house when 12 years they say it will be swallowed by the rising sea. Would of loved to as Albert Gore Lol. Hypocrites.

    • Susan Iseman

      This is not a political party issue, limited to the US. The scientific community has evidence of it around the globe. The US Defense Department has warned about it- it’s imminent along coastal sites. Read up.

      • Bob Stalling

        Jeff’s point:
        If the future is imminent along coastal sites and they’ve been warned… why build so close to the water and get an award for doing so?

        • Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70 BA, MA, JDE

          Because they all live in a yellow submarine yellow submarine yellow submarine……