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Green architecture – Hillside House, Marin County, California

By Damir Beciri
4 Comments18 April 2010

hillside-house-1Placed in the hills of Mill Valley, California, this custom home is the first LEED for Homes certified house in Marin County, and the second LEED Platinum house in Northern California. This home is a statement of what is possible when high design and high sustainability are combined. The house constructed at the 131 Hillside has incorporated green building concepts into the entire design from the start to completion.

Architect and owner, Scott Lee, stated: “My wife and I are committed to going green and doing the right thing, in terms of the building design, saving resources, and setting an example for our colleagues and our children.”

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It has a very vertical design with living and private zones situated on multiple separate floors. It’s a consequence of a steep hillside site where the house was built. It provides for numerous outdoor and covered terraces and balconies capitalize on stunning views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline beyond.

It was built by McDonald Construction & Development, the firm behind several other LEED Platinum projects.  The rich and contemporary residence spans four levels on a hill and incorporates a number of green elements from various companies which are mentioned on the website of the house.

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It uses passive solar and geothermal sources in order to produce additional power as well as the solar thermal cells to heat the water. The heated water is also used to provide hydronic heating underneath the engineered Veneer hardwood flooring. In order to lessen the consumption of water, the house has low-flow toilets, faucets, and shower fixtures.

During the construction, majority of the materials were locally sourced and recycled content materials. They used high fly ash in all the concrete and they used reclaimed exposed timber framing. Recycled concrete counter tops, sinks, tubs and surfaces as well as recycled standing metal seam roofing were used.

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The house is insulated with spray foam insulation made from beet resins and efficient aluminum-framed windows which are thermally broken, double paned and with low E. Efficient LED lighting as well as the whole house automation and lighting system are used in order to save the power. In order to keep the indoors healthy, they used zero VOC paints and finishes as well as an innovative air recirculation system.

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4 Comments — Leave your response!

  • Michael Doll AIA LEED
     

    Great warmth in this project, excellent human scale, good material selections and color schemes. The proportions remind me of a fine race horse or athlete with minimal body fat, lean to the point, but elegant, appropriate yet not audacious or opulent. Not to mention all the “green/sustainable” features. A 1st step in becoming a sustainable culture is to dump the mcmansions for quality design which doesn’t necessarily mean a boat load of high-tech stuff. We need to work the basics first that have been proven for millennium, are generally free energy wise after the initial capital outlay and consequently provide a unique human friendly condition or environment as this house demonstrates. Well done architects!

  • Hanako-sama
     

    Beautiful and warm!

  • sholster
     

    I love this house. It’s been on my vision board for a couple years. Outstanding architecture.

  • dana pallessen
     

    love the porch and how it is built, but is way too huge for me. my current house would fit inside the porch, but am planning on a porch this size ^

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