If you had to imagine the greenest home in California, what images would spring to mind? Would it be some clay, dome shaped structure perfectly exposed to solar angles, or maybe an ultra chic, boxy looking modern beauty with massive windows facing a valley? What if I told you that this home sits on a pretty standard residential street in Santa Clara and an untrained eye wouldn’t even notice any “greenness” about it if they drove by?
Meet the “Bluebird” residence. This Earth Bound Home’s show house is also the personal residence of founder David Edwards. Rated as the Greenest Home in California by Build it Green organization, the original 1400 sq. ft. ranch style home was added to and remodeled, creating a 3100 sq. ft. 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with an office and workout room.
Awards range from Acterra’s Business Environmental Awards Built Environment Award to Build It Green’s South Bay Best New Home award for the 1996 Green Home Tour. Come with us on a video tour to explore all the ingenuity, design and careful choice of materials that went into this project. (Also see a list of “green” features below the video.)
This home’s many green features include:
- Small 2.7 kw Photovoltaic solar electric panels provide all of houses electrical needs
- Solar thermal renewable energy systems
- An inexpensive and no maintenance Grey water system waters the only plants in the entire landscaping that require water, the clumping Bamboo.
- A 1400 gallon underground rainwater cistern collects rainwater every winter
- All FSC wood framing and FSC certified Brazilian Cherry Flooring
- Home built with Structural Insulated Panels(SIPs)
- 65% more efficient than Californias’ Title-24 Energy Efficiency requirements
- $155/year gas bill, $4/year electric bill, $132/year water bill
- 93% recycling and reuse of building demolition debris
- Half of all windows were purchased from salvage yards, saving over $10,000 over new windows
- All doors on the first floor were salvaged, saving $3,000.
- All trim throughout the house was salvaged from old redwood decks, fences and the siding on old houses. It was milled on site and the shavings used as mulch on the landscaping.
- New One Lawn Synthetic Lawn contains no heavy metals and requires no maintenance or water. None of the landscape requires supplemental water and saves approx. 50,000 gallons of water a year.
- House uses 31,285 gallons of water a year, for 5 people. This is approx 84% less. than the average household uses(~110 gallons per person/day- including irrigation)