Green architecture – Primera Terra community
Despite the fact this project isn’t new it earned its spot among our articles due to a different approach that increases sustainability. KB Home’s Primera Terra community serves as a great example to architects and builders which shows that you can gain a LEED Platinum certificate without power generation utilities – a part of most LEED Platinum certified project which adds a significant increase in construction costs.
Designed by KTGY and build by KB Home, Primera Terra is one of the largest Multi-Family category LEED Platinum projects in California. The community is comprised of 52 luxury condominium homes, ranging in size from 90 to 140 square meters (965 to 1,504 square feet), with up to three bedrooms and two baths. Each home has a private patio or balcony as well as two parking spaces in a subterranean garage equipped with electric-vehicle charging stations.
The Primera Terra homes are constructed around a central courtyard which has a variety of fountains, and barbeque grills, an outdoor fireplace, a green wall, and a vegetable/fruit garden with rainwater cisterns. This approach increases the life quality by encouraging the community members to socialize among themselves and their guests.
It is located at Playa Vista, an established pedestrian-friendly master-plan community, approximately 1.6 km (1 mile) from the beach and close to shops, restaurants, employers and schools. A private community center with a pool and spa are within walking distance of Primera Terra, and a network of walking and biking trails weaves throughout Playa Vista and its numerous community parks and recreation areas. Residents also enjoy community social events throughout the year as well as a weekly farmers’ market.
Equipped with energy- and water-saving features to make them all at least 40% more energy-efficient than typical new homes. The estimated heating and cooling costs of the homes in Primera Terra are as little as $57 per month in select models.
As we mentioned in the introduction, this high level of efficiency was achieved without incorporating a solar power system or other renewable energy resource. Instead, the KB Home team focused on optimizing the building envelope and incorporating features like a white “cool roof” to keep homeowners’ monthly operating costs low. High performance windows and insulation reduce heating and cooling needs.
Built-in features contributing to the efficiency of each home include tankless water heaters, ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and lighting, high-efficiency windows and WaterSense labeled faucets and toilets. All homeowners also receive an energy monitoring system, suitably named The Energy Detective (TED), that enables them to track their electricity usage on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, from any computer or web-enabled mobile device.
Primera Terra homes were built with indoor air quality in mind, so the builders chose to use low-VOC paint and flooring which reduce the amount of toxins that linger in new buildings after they’re finished. The flow of fresh air indoors is maximized with combustion venting, an active ventilation system and exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens.