California Dream: A Photovoltaic System Solarizes a Home

Casey Coates Danson believes in saving the planet, one photovoltaic panel at a time. Her own home—the largest residential solar installation in Los Angeles —is just one more example of how chic and easy solar living can be.

| November/December 2002

  • Sixty photovoltaic panels mounted on a series of interconnecting pitched and gabled roofs provide 95 percent of the home’s power.
    Illustrations by Gayle Ford
  • Sixty photovoltaic panels mounted on a series of interconnecting pitched and gabled roofs provide 95 percent of the home’s power.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Casey’s country-eclectic living room is comfortable and welcoming.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Skylights flood the kitchen with natural light. Rigid insulation was installed between the exposed wood ceiling and the metal roofing, and ceiling fans minimize the need for air conditioning.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Gabled roofs allow for high windows that bathe the living room in California sunshine.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Skylights and windows are also an integral part of the bathroom design. The tile was produced in nearby Long Beach, California.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Casey’s interior design style is a fun mix of antiques and personal art.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Casual elegance is a hallmark in Casey’s home. The dining room opens to a patio and pool area.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Casey chose stone from nearby Utah for her drystack fireplace.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Also an artist, Casey created this sculpture, which is displayed in her living room.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Rustic touches such as this garden table are perfectly at home in Casey’s environment.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Casey has been a tireless advocate for renewable energy.
    Photography by Stephen Dabrowski
  • Sixty photovoltaic panels mounted on a series of interconnecting pitched and gabled roofs provide 95 percent of the home’s power.
  • Large trees shade the west-facing entrance, minimizing the need for air conditioning.
    Photo by Casey Coates Danson

“Watch out for the house mascot,” Casey Coates Danson warns as Aggie, a white Great Pyrenees-Husky mix the size of a miniature horse, comes lumbering up to issue a warm welcome. Ziggy, the gray tabby, briefly raises his head from a nearby ottoman, assesses the guest, and then closes an eye.

It’s easy to envy these animals’ living space. For the founder and president of Global Possibilities, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use of renewable energy, this “dream house” is the ultimate showcase, proving that solar-powered homes can be both elegant and convenient.

Casey began to envision her home several years ago when she realized that her two daughters (Kate, twenty-three, and Alexis, eighteen) would soon be ready for homes of their own. In her quest to downsize, Casey combed the network of canyons that filter through Los Angeles and found an acre on a wooded hillside that featured stunning cliff-side views.

Given Casey’s involvement with Global Possibilities, her definition of a dream house is one that generates its electricity needs directly from the sun. (Two solar-powered residences that she designed appeared in Natural Home’s January/February 2000 issue). To accomplish this goal, she rebuilt and expanded upon the existing 3,600-square-foot home by thickening walls to allow for better insulation and replacing the east-west oriented roof structure with more solar-friendly south-facing roofs.



An affordable option

Working with Steven Strong of Harvard, Massachusetts-based Solar Design Associates, Casey designed a 4,500-square-foot residence and adjacent 500-square-foot addition to the existing two-car garage that incorporates sixty photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted on a series of interconnecting pitched and gabled roofs. The result is a property that is 95 percent solar-powered (including the private gates at the base of her driveway, a solar-heated 10-by-42-foot infinity pool, and the studio that houses Global Possibilities’ office space).



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds