Mother Earth Living

Your Green Home of the Future: The LivingHomes Model House

Take a sneak peek at this home of the future.
By Natural Home staff
March/April 2007
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LivingHomes (C.J. Berg/Sunshine Divis)

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The standard for green home building just got higher—and the magic number is zero. The LivingHomes model house, built in Santa Monica, California, is a zero-energy, zero-carbon, zero-waste, zero-water and zero-emissions residence—the first of its kind. The home is also the first to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest LEED for Homes rating: Platinum. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Here’s a sneak peak at the green home of tomorrow. 

• The home is located on an infill site that was minimally disturbed during construction. It’s within walking distance of public transportation, schools, businesses, parks and the beach.

• The living roof garden reduces stormwater runoff, helps cool the home and provides growing space for vegetables.

• Rainwater harvesting and graywater systems collect and recycle water for landscape irrigation.

• Solar panels convert the sun’s energy to electricity without pollution or energy bills. A rooftop solar water-heating system drives the radiant heating system.

• Organic landscaping uses native and drought-tolerant plants to minimize water demand. Paving materials are water permeable. 

• Reclaimed or Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood warms the space.

• Radiant in-floor heating is more cost effective than forced-air heating. It’s healthier because it doesn’t recirculate dust and pollen.

• Thermal, high- performance windows allow in natural light and minimize energy loss. Hidden blinds offer privacy.

• Built-in furniture and moveable walls can be reconfigured for flexible spaces.

• Energy Star and water-saving appliances are used throughout. Counters are made of recycled-content Paperstone.

• To reduce indoor air pollution, low-VOC and formaldehyde-free materials, paints and finishes are used.

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