The ABC’s of the Great Park Green Home

Nov 7th, 2012  
by Sylvia Walker  in News

A home that is affordable to entry-level homebuyers, buildable with off-the-shelf materials, and certifiable as green. These are the features of a home that is currently on display in the Orange County Great Park. This display home is a partnership involving Southern California Edison, numerous southern California businesses, and some local schools. The purpose of this home is to show that a green home does not need to be for the high-end buyer only. The name of this display home, which will later be moved and given away to a low-income household or vet, is the ABC Green Home.

A—Affordable to entry-level homebuyers
The goal in building this home is to demonstrate that green longer means drastically more in cost than comparable homes built without green elements.  The expectation is that this Great Park ABC Green home can be replicated for about $85 to $125 per square foot, which is currently the cost of building most tract homes in southern California. “Eighty-five dollars to $125 per square foot, that’s extremely affordable,” –Jim Conrady of Western Pavers in San Diego, a contributor to the Great Park ABC Green Home project

B—Buildable using off-the-shelf materials
“Nothing used in the construction is hard to find – everything can be sourced at local builders’ supply yards. From drought-tolerant landscaping and a drip irrigation system; to solar panels; to a state-of-the-art home-energy monitoring system, this home is equipped with everything a family needs for a true Net-Zero living.” –OC Family blog

C—Certified as a “green-home” by obtaining six certificates (including LEED Platinum) from four agencies
This home achieves its “greenest” by going net zero. Net zero means that the home will produce as much energy as it uses. Some of the features of this ABC Green home that help it realize its green and net-zero status are:
• Insulated walls that require less lumber
• Energy efficient heat pumps that heat water and the air and are part of the air conditioning
• 5 ½ kilowatt solar roof panels
• Rainwater collection system
• Gray water recycling system
• Drought tolerant plants
• Touch-controlled kitchen faucets that turn off in four minutes
• An automated system (AMX) to control numerous home features such as the appliances, lights, and security cameras that can be operated from either a wall-mounted panel or remotely by smart phones
In addition, wider doors and lower kitchen counters make this home more accessible to those with wheelchairs.

You can tour this net-zero, one-bedroom, three -bath, Craftsman-style home on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It is located on Marine Way near the Great Park balloon.

What do you think? Is this something that you would be interested in? And if the cost was slightly higher than a comparable home without the green features, would you consider it worthwhile due to the long-term utility cost savings.  And what about the intangible benefits such as the reduced use of resources and a reduced contribution to pollution? Would that be a consideration for you?

Note: This ABC Green Home will be part of the Department of Energy’s upcoming Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park.


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