The Unique Details of the Net-Zero ABC Green Home 4.0 Luxe Project

By Christine Rombouts

The Net-Zero ABC Green Home 4.0 LUXE Project being developed on a Southern California mountain site by a consortium of designers, contractors and vendors will take the homebuilding industry a huge step forward in residential energy efficiency by incorporating a plethora of advanced systems and materials that will make the 3,900 square-foot luxury residence one of the most energy advanced homes in California.

The home was designed using Graphisoft ‘s BIM Program which was shared by the design and construction teams.

Sponsored by Newport Beach, CA–based Green Home Builder magazine under the leadership of owner and Publisher Nick Slevin, who serves as project developer, the super-efficient ABC (Affordable, Buildable, Certified) Green Home 4.0 is being built to Net-Zero, LEED Platinum standards and as such is a notable 34 percent above California’s current Title 24 CalGreen energy efficiency building code. The Craftsman styled home with distinctive mountain character is also Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rated and has been independently certified by eight separate agencies that it achieves the highest energy efficiency rating standards.

Adding to the remarkable nature of the five-bedroom home’s high energy rating is the fact that it is being built at an altitude of 6,000 feet in Crestline, which Slevin says makes it more challenging for the home’s energy systems to operate efficiently while still achieving Net-Zero energy levels. Crestline is a mountain resort town south of Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino mountains in Southern California.

Advanced framing design makes way for picture window.

This mountain environment has varying weather that can create large fluctuations in temperature from 30 degrees to 65 degrees in the same day. “This makes the house work harder to be energy efficient,” Slevin noted. “To compensate for these variations, the home’s energy efficiency systems and materials are finely tuned and well above the energy conservation standards for residential buildings.”

The ABC Green Home 4.0 is already garnering the attention of the industry and is a finalist for a Gold Nugget award. To date, the ABC Green Home projects, which began in 2011, have earned 11 awards and recognitions, including two Gold Nuggets for Green Home Design Excellence from the California Building Industry Association and a “National” Award from The National Association of Home Builders for Best Green Interior. It was also named Sustainable Project of the Year by The American Society of Civil Engineers and was selected for special recognition due to its superior energy efficiency by the US House of Representatives as well as the California Senate and the California State Assembly.

“This is the fourth ABC demonstration home we have built since we developed our first home in Irvine, CA in 2011, which paved the way for our three ABC homes, including this home,” Slevin explained. “We collaborate with teams of exceptional design and building professionals to construct these homes. The goal is to demonstrate the best practices in high performance home building design, technology and construction to the U.S. home building, architectural, design and construction communities, as well as the home buying public.”

 

Project developer and GHB Publisher Nick Slevin, Chuck Good-Man, AIA with Jillian and Stephanie from Wellness Within Your Walls.

Along with Peninsula Publishing, which publishes several industry magazines including Builder and Developer and Green Home Builder. The ABC Green Home 4.0 development team consists of Architect Chuck Good-Man, AIA, and the interior design led by Jillian Pritchard-Cooke, ASID and a member of the NAHB Hall of Fame. The engineering teams are CORE Structure Inc., GREEN MEP, Kadtec CE, and home builder Steve Bates AGC, a 35-year veteran craftsman home builder in San Bernardino County. “The team has selected the best systems and materials that are readily available from the home building industry to create this custom home that definitely has the style and character of a mountain retreat,” Slevin noted.

Superior Energy Efficiency

To achieve the high level of energy efficiency in this residential building – considerably higher than what would normally be the case with more standard energy conservation methodologies – the ABC Green Home 4.0 includes a wide range of advanced energy efficiency systems and materials. A key feature is the solar panel system that will generate 8.3 KW of power to the home, enough to offset the cost of gas, water and electricity and help achieve Net-Zero energy usage. Additionally, a state-of-the- art storage battery backup system will store excess electricity to power the home during extended period of cloudiness or in the event of a blackout.

An integral part of the solar power system is the placement of the roof-mounted array of solar panels on the south-facing roof. Lightweight concrete roof tiles that are designed as a cool roof to reflect the sun’s rays. A cool roof coupled with the south-facing panels can increase the performance of a solar power system by as much as 10 percent, according to experts. The home’s solar power will also be connected to a charging station in the garage for electric vehicles.

“Starting next year, California homebuilders will be required to install solar power systems on every new home built in the state and we believe our ABC Green Home 4.0 will serve as a model to show builders in California and nationwide what systems and materials to use to achieve maximize energy efficiency for just about any size home, but especially larger homes that require even more advanced design,” Slevin explained.

Additionally, Slevin pointed out that the concrete roof tiles are treated with a smog eating chemical that consumes carbon dioxide, a major ingredient in greenhouse gas.

The solar power system in one of many components that together establish the home’s high level of energy efficient operation. A mechanical room serves as the home’s energy monitoring and control center and houses the energy efficient HVAC equipment, tankless water heater, a combi boiler, the energy recovery ventilation system, and the room is also a workshop.

There are four Wi-Fi hubs, providing Alexa control and energy monitoring for all devices and appliances, as well as lighting, security, entertainment, doors, windows and gates.

Pacific Staging provided the furnishings for the model home phase of the project, curated by DES-YN.

Hydronic heating produces warm air from the 100,000 BTU combi boiler in the mechanical room. The warm water from the boiler is fed through coils in the forced air units and into the duct system. There are two five-ton forced air units and two five-ton compressors to efficiently move fresh, filtered warm and cold air around the home, including an attic bonus room as well as the basement and garage.

Exceptional Style and Technology

Although highly energy efficient, the ABC Green Home 4.0 is a top-of-the-line custom residence that offers the finest in amenities and features, showing that luxury and energy efficiency are not mutually exclusive.

“This home is special for many reasons, but we believe its true character of luxury and style are the features and amenities that you wouldn’t usually find in a single home, especially a highly energy efficient home,” Slevin said.

To connect with the digital world, the home has Cat 6 wiring with low voltage wiring throughout and four Wi-Fi Hubs with Alexa to operate all the connected systems in the home, either onsite or remotely, utilizing a smartphone or tablet. The home is prewired for six TV’s, entertainment, gaming, audio, security and includes smart home technology. Wi-Fi operates the appliances, lighting, security, entertainment, gates, garage door, all exterior locked doors, thermostats and fireplaces. Smart fuse panels monitor energy usage from each outlet and provide data for the homeowner.

Kitchen window into the forest. Daltile’s waterfall island featuring wi-fi connectivity beckons Samsung’s connected appliance suite.

The home features five bedrooms and four full bathrooms and two half baths. The master bath features a steam shower and a soaker tub, and the fifth bedroom is enclosed within the home’s self-contained basement and can be used as an ADA adaptable, multi-gen suite with a dinette and zero threshold wheelchair accessible shower. This reflects some 30 million Americans are estimated to be living with an elderly parent or an older child. Slevin noted that all ABC homes feature wider halls and doorways for wheelchair access and special placement of light switches and electric sockets to accommodate senior citizens. For easy mobility, there are hardwood floors throughout the home. For optimum living space, there is a fully functional, finished basement and a finished attic for storage and a bonus room. Both are air conditioned, dry walled, painted and fitted with shelves and cabinets for storage.

The clean lines of the master bathroom complimented by DalTile counters and floors and Delta’s faucets.

The home’s exquisite designer kitchen features a Daltile Waterfall Island, Samsung Chef series Wi-Fi enabled appliances, top-of-the-line Delta faucets, and handcrafted custom cabinets. For the wine aficionado, a wine cellar can hold more than a thousand bottles of wine and includes a built-in wine cooler to keep the wine at optimum temperature. A wet bar off the wine cellar features a beer keg, bar top and sink with bar stool seating, a four-top table, and comfortable benches to enjoy the big screen TV.

For the homeowner who is seeking something very special, the ABC Green Home 4.0 master bedroom features a fully equipped safe room at the back of the walk-in closet as well as a Wi-Fi gas fireplace, one of two Wi-Fi fireplaces in the home. Generous porches are accessed off the primary master bedroom and the second master bedroom.

Big windows by REHAU complemented by hardwood floors by Lumber Liquidators bring a sharp bedroom to life.

The home’s attic features 700 square feet of bonus space which is accessible via an electric drop-down staircase. The two-car garage is heated and air conditioned and features a custom door with a Wi-Fi programable door opener, full cabinetry and workbench, a 50-inch high definition TV, and custom flooring and windows. A mudroom area is contiguous to the garage and for additional privacy, there is also a full bathroom behind the garage.

A feature not found in many homes is a 12 x 16-foot barn with loft in the front yard that matches the finish on the house and includes lights, electric outlets, and a barbecue patio. Landscaping features retaining walls, textured and colored concrete sidewalks, pavers on the front stairs and deck, distinctive railings and fencing, a second gated entry, and stone entryway gate posts with gates.

Structural Integrity

Slevin pointed out that a key component of the home’s energy efficient profile is the structure itself. “We utilize an advanced framing system,” he explained. “This is a lesson from passive house design technology that pre-dates solar and which relies on natural ventilation lines, natural lighting and other elements of good, natural design to complement solid engineering principles.”

For maximum shielding against the mountain’s outdoor elements, the home features an advanced framing design that uses two-by-six studs, 24 inches on center, that provides a wider, deeper stud bay for more insulation. The construction team is the able to add two layers of one-inch thick, rigid foam insulation to the exterior of the building under the siding to keep air from passing in out or through the building. “The home’s exterior walls are nine inches thick,” Slevin said. “The air does not pass through the walls. Consequently, the house sips energy. This means the homeowner does not have to spend much for heating or cooling.”

The ABC Green Home project utilizes an advanced framing design which facilitates a higher HERS rating.

More than 160 yards of 3,500 PSI concrete were poured for the foundations and basement walls, staircases, sidewalks and forecourt. The framing crews installed additional strapping and over-engineered the framing to secure the building. Additionally, the LP FlameBlock OSB has a layer of magnesium oxide on the exterior to create a longer burn value to better protect the home from fire.

Comfortable living room with volume ceilings near a cozy fireplace.

Green Home Builder Magazine will hold a grand opening for the ABC Green Home 4.0 in mid-June. The one-of-a-kind home will be used to educate and train builders, students, and industry groups about sustainable living and how to achieve Net Zero now. The home is expected to serve as a template for future housing.

About Green Home Builder Magazine

Since 2006, Green Home Builder Magazine has published magazines in print and online by Newport Beach, Calif.-based Peninsula Publishing Inc., publishers of business management magazines for homebuilding professionals since 1990. For more information, visit www.greenhomebuildermag.com or builder.media.

Christine Rombouts is the former Editor for Green Home Builder and is the Publicist for the ABC Green Home Project. For more information, please visit crombouts@ca.rr.com.