Real estate developer Candace Whiffen Dyal ’76 is proving that luxury and environmental sustainability can co-exist beautifully.
Her company, Dyal Compass, owns Indigo Park on Kiawah Island, S.C., a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified community of luxury homes. This project has received numerous awards, and most recently is a finalist for the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2018 Sustainable Business Awards.
Dyal said she fell in love with Kiawah Island many years ago, and purchased a home there in 2001. The 13-square-mile barrier island is known for its sprawling, scenic marshland and beaches. It is home to 18 species of mammals (dolphins, red foxes, bobcats and white-tailed deer), more than 30 species of reptiles (alligators and sea turtles) and 300 species of birds.
“Clearly nature is the boss there, and I like that,” said Dyal, who graduated from Wheaton with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and from London’s Birkbeck College with a master’s degree in psychology.
She set out to develop Indigo Park through her company, which is based in New York, in collaboration with architects and builders. Since 2009, the company has built 16 sustainably constructed cottage homes on more than 12 acres of private marsh.
All of the homes were built using earth-friendly, sustainable materials with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They also were built to withstand the impact of major natural events, like hurricanes or tornadoes, she said.
“I like that on Kiawah Island, you can live among the animals and plants. These homes are not McMansions. They actually make us healthier,” she said.
One of the homes in the community was chosen as the HGTV Dream House in 2013—the first LEED home to receive this designation.
“It’s always very nice to receive recognition, but that’s not why I’m doing it,” Dyal said. Her main goal is to raise public awareness of the benefits of building green, both environmental and financial due to savings on energy costs.
“If you build it right the first time, you save money year after year,” she added.
Dyal has remained engaged with Wheaton and stays in touch with classmates, many of whom have visited her on Kiawah Island.
She served on the President’s Commission for eight years and is a frequent attendee at alumni events.
“Wheaton is a good school and was a very healthy environment to grow up in,” she said.