Replete with high-tech touches such as a tankless water heater and a foam cool roof, this house’s greenest feature is decidely low tech: its owners' intention to make it their lifelong home. For David and Mayuko Lai, a home is an heirloom that will pass on for generations.
In a city struggling to reduce energy consumption, mayor Eric Garcetti and his partner Amy Elaine Wakeland are leading by example. At their renovated midcentury home in Echo Park, solar panels provide 50 percent of the energy and much of their food is grown in a terrace garden.
Architect Lawrence Scarpa believes people's aversion to solar power is neither political nor economic, but aesthetic. By installing panels into the steel-beam canopy that shades their Solar Umbrella residence in Santa Monica, he and his wife demonstrate solar architecture can be both stylish and functional.
When the developers of Silver Lake's Auburn 7 housing complex broke ground in 2007, they weren't sure whether people would pay a premium for eco-friendly amenities. Today, many of the complex's features, including radiant heating in the floor, tankless water heaters, low-flush toilets, and Energy Star kitchen appliances, are standards in green design.
For the facade of their beach house just outside Los Angeles, actor Bryan Cranston and his wife wanted a material that could stand up to the sea breeze without requiring constant maintenance. The Breaking Bad star eventually settled on titanium, one of the more expensive options his team presented him. "Part of the green philosophy is not just what is cheaper; it’s what’s sustainable," explains Cranston.
Bucking the trend toward expensive energy saving systems, Jeremy and Robin Levine utilize passive strategies for heating and cooling their Eagle Rock home. A rock wall placed at the base of the house stores heat, while a thermal chimney draws warm air up and out.
An EcoSmart fireplace fueled by denatured alcohol heats Steve Glenns modular home in Ocean Park, which recieved an LEED Platinum rating for sustainability.
Utilizing low-cost components designed by Habitat for Humanity and the firm Minarc, this net-zero prefab in South Central Los Angeles was trucked in and assembled in just three days.