Project 7Ten (Before) + Kelly Meyer
Renée Loux tours Project 7Ten, a LEED platinum certified home while under construction in Venice, CA in segment from TV series It's Easy Being Green.
These days, anyone can claim that their house is "green", but how would you know how green it really is? With cars, we can compare miles per gallon; with water heaters, it's an Energy Star rating. But how do you compare one green house to another?
Well, the U.S. Green Building Council now has a rating system called LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. With this system homes can be measured against a list of building criteria and depending on their score, can achieve a Silver, Gold, or coveted Platinum LEED rating.
We had an exclusive chance to visit a LEED home under construction in California: Project 7Ten with Kelly Meyer and Tom Schey.
ABOUT PROJECT 7TEN
As the first conventional constructed platinum LEED home in California, Project 7Ten (710 Milwood Avenue, Venice, CA) is leading the way for a greener future in residential communities thanks to visionary environemtalist Kelly Meyer and builder Tom Schey
From its inception, Project 7ten was created to provide a three dimensional real life example of a functioning cutting edge home, which uses as little energy as possible, conserves water, incorporating recycled materials, without sacrificing great design.
By participating in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Residential Pilot Program, authored by the United States Green Building Counsel [USGBC], the perimeters on sustainability and environmentally progressive issues have been involved in every decision, design process, and use of materials. Further, by partnering up with significant corporations, who are like minded and environmentally conscious, we knew we were committing to a project that was being undertaken at the right time, with the right message. The majority Project 7 Ten's proceeds being donated to Healthy Child Healthy World (HCHW), an organization dedicated to educating the public about environmental toxins that affect children's health-along with HCHW will lead the effort to making the insides of our homes healthier to all who live there.
Every decision about Project 7Ten went through a filtering process; "is it green, is it the latest and greatest available, is there a reason to use this material?"
Even before construction began, the idea was into practice:
During the demolition of the old house on the site, all wood that was not affected by termites ws sent to to Guadalajara to be used in the construction of homes for low-income families. The old foundation slab was removed and sent to a concrete recycling center.
The concrete mix for the new foundation contained 30 percent fly ash content. Fly ash is a byproduct of coal mining and a highly polluting substance when not recycled, thus by using it in cement, the carbon output was reduced, and the bad stuff got turned into the new foundation at the home. The same goes for the poured in place cement walls that surround the property.
The framing of the house was built utilizing FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) lumber, a process that uses faster growth wood, which combines well managed removal of lumber from the forests and insures proper reforestation. All construction waste was sent to a wood-recycling site.
The windows, donated by Fleetwood, are extremely energy efficient, acting as both an insulation barrier and a light source. Project 7Ten worked closely with Fleetwood to insure the highest energy ratings and efficiency, while maintaining a very indoor outdoor seamless type of living environment with a modern design.
Bamboo flooring is featured throughout the interior because aside from its aesthetic appeal, it is a highly renewable resource and requires very little maintenance when cared for properly.
Ultratouch donated recycled denim insulation to fill the walls with healthy non-toxic effective insulation. The insulation is made from post industrial waste from the manufacturing of blue jeans, waste that used to end up in landfills. It is a totally safe material and can be installed without the use of gloves or masks.
Radiant heating provides heat for the house via warm water which is pumped through pipes in the floor. It is a healthy way to heat a home, (no dry air pumped through ductwork) and it's highly energy efficient.
On sunny days, Permacity solar panels on the roof heat the water and and a different set of solar panels provide the electricity to pump that warmed water throughout the house for both potable and non-potable (the radiant heat) purposes. The electric solar panels double as overhangs, creating natural shading and keeping direct sunlight off the home during the hot months.
In addition, a series of skylights which are thermostatically controlled allows hot air to escape when the house is too hot, and to close automatically when the house cools down.
With the help of solar panels, in a normal year, this house will produce more electricity than can be used by a typical family of four. Only GE Energy Star appliances are featured throughout Project 7ten. Energy Star approval ensures the appliances are as energy efficient as possible, and with the GE all stainless steel appliances they look really cool too.
The lighting throughout the house will not include a single incandescent bulb, ones we all grew up with, but ones that are highly inefficient with short life spans that throw off unnecessary heat. Instead the fixtures throughout the house use either the latest in compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lighting, provided by GE Lighting. Many of the fixtures will include motion detectors, controlling the lights inside the house as well as the exterior. Leave a room and a few minutes later the lights will turn themselves off!
Water conservation is a key priority in every aspect of 710. A drip irrigation system is being used rather than an aboveground sprinkler system, which loses water to evaporation. The garden was graciously designed by Art Luna Landscaping and most of the plants are drought tolerant, indigenous and non evasive. A grey water system has been installed, which filters and reuses water from the washing machine and showers, storing it for irrigation. An underground cistern will collect 75% of the rainwater from the storm gutters and store that water for later irrigation of the landscape. The hardscape is permeable so that when it rains, water seeps back into earth so as not to cause erosion.
The showers faucets and toilets, all by Kohler, utilize the latest technology in water conservation, low flow faucets, toilets that are dual flush, add a high degree of efficiency, without sacrificing design.
Interior decoration was also taken into account because having an atmosphere free from toxins and chemicals as part of a green philosophy. Only sustainable and environmentally friendly furnishings were chosen from Viesso, Modern Outdoor and Steelcase. Many of the fabrics used to cover the furniture are cutting edge beautiful recycled materials supplied by Knoll Textiles. Viesso utilizes only Forest Stewardship lumber in the manufacture of their frames, and Steelcase was thinking cradle to cradle many years before the concept made its way into the environmental landscape.
Walker Zanger donated all the recycled glass and porcelain tile used in the bathroom floors, showers and walls. Ceasarstone provided the countertops used throughout the house, which has some recycled content, and is highly resistant to bacteria, and durable making it extremely easy to keep clean and healthy. All of the finishes, including the exposed wood beams in the ceilings, showcase low VOC Benjamin Moore paint, producing beautiful colors while supporting a healthy environment and preventing any off gassing.
From the ground up, inside and out, this home is practical, thoughtful, highly functioning and green.