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Green architecture – Vicino House

By Damir Beciri
2 Comments8 February 2011

vicino-house-1Vicino House is another example of architecture practice where sustainable and luxurious intertwines, and it has earned LEED for Homes Platinum certification. Perched on the steep bank of Pacific Palisades, California, the house features spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Bay. Materials used in the build and the building envelope are applied in order to prolong the longevity of the house.

Originally built in the mid 1950’s, this major “gut” rehab adds new square footage to the original structure and incorporates various design features which emphasize green products and energy efficiency throughout the home. Designer Timothy McCarthy from the Forma Design Group, and developer and owner Michael Gottlieb aimed to create a home that would evoke the feeling of being in a high-end spa.

Energy balanced design utilizing solar orientation and sun louvers. The house also features many solutions that lower the energy consumption needed for temperature control. The optimized energy performance is 74.9% above Title 24 standards. Walls and ceilings are sealed with bio-based sprayed cellulose insulation. The high-efficiency glass doors and Argon filled windows and insulated Kalwall skylights (able provide natural light without heat gain) ensure plenty natural ventilation and light in 95% of living spaces.

Vicino House roof is made of light-colored Titan metal and Sure-Weld TPO roofing in order to reduce heat gain. It is also equipped with a 5.2kw (28 panel) solar photovoltaic system which provides all the power needed on an average daily basis. Two solar thermal panels provide 70% of domestic hot water needs and the house has a pre-engineered gray water system which provides water for irrigation. Low flow faucets, fixtures, and toilets ensure lower water consumption.

75% of construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled. There were measures addressing erosion controls during construction in order to prevent runoff and pollution.FSC certified tropical woods were used for floors and interior doors, and under the floors are in-floor radiant heating system has multiple zone controls.

Vicino House interior features high-recycled content in all tile and countertops, low- and zero-VOC paints and adhesives, no urea-formaldehyde resins in composite materials for cabinets, and bio-lime plaster. One of the interesting details is the kitchen island countertop which is made of a single slab of recycled glass which is under-lit with LEDs. Energy Star Appliances and high-efficiency lighting are used in order to lower the energy consumption.

Eco friendly faux grass used on roof deck and dog runs, as well as the high efficiency irrigation with climate sensor and 100% non-invasive native and drought tolerant plants ensure reducing of water demand. Light-colored walkways and decks are used to reduce the local heat island effects.

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2 Comments — Leave your response!

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    I can’t believe it is sustainable as well. I looked other photos available on sites you linked and some details are beautiful.

    Only thing I could criticize is the absence of light in the entrance area since it was dug-in.

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    The Vicino house is really awesome with all sots of luxuries things embedded in and all round the house. It’s an beautiful architecture creation in the early 90’s.

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