The La Jolla, CA home of Jill and Jack Nooren recently received the highest LEED certification awarded to homes, LEED Platinum. The home took three years to build and is a true example of energy efficiency, sustainability and design. The house was designed by domusstudio architecture and built by the Hill Construction Company. The 2,350-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath home also won a 2013 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Merit Award for its innovative mild-climate building and design approach, which brings together outdoor and indoor spaces seamlessly.

The home is powered by a photovoltaic array, which is not mounted on the roof, but rather used as a trellis to provide filtered natural light in addition to electrical power. Inside, the house is fitted only with the highest rated Energy Star appliances and LED lighting systems to further reduce the energy consumption of the household. Overall, the design team was able to meet 30 percent to 40 percent of the household power needs via the 2.2KW array, meaning that the homeowners’ utility bill only averages around $36 a month.

One of the design innovations of the home is also the wall of glass that opens completely and therefore greatly increases the size of the living area of the home. In this way the house appears cozy despite its modernistic design. This is achieved via a bi-folding wall of windows that can be adjusted to the changing climate.

Much of the materials used to build the home were also recycled and repurposed. The drywall used is made of recycled materials and they also used 100-year-old redwood from a demolished Temecula water tower, which they first replanted, remilled and refinished then used to build the upstairs bridge. The concrete used in the construction process also contains recycled fly ash. Around 60 percent of the family’s water needs are supplied via a 100-gallon hot water tank, which is fed by the solar thermal system. This system also heats the radiant heat floors.

In the actual building process, they also used studs on 19.5-inch centers instead of the standard 16 inches, which means that they were able to use less wood in framing the house, and consequently less material. This also enabled them to be very specific when ordering the materials, which reduced waste by 10 percent.

In addition to great savings on day-to-day upkeep of the house, the Noorens will also enjoy federal tax rebates for building an energy efficient home, which could amount to $8,000 to $10,000 this year.