Green Design 

Kohler Sustainable Design – Built Green – Hillside Home

hi I'm Nicole Bushido and today we're inthe hills of Northern California at oneof the most extraordinary homes in thecountry not only is it the first LEEDcertified platinum home in gorgeousMarin County but one of only a handfulbuilt in the entire Golden State thishouse is stunning it's a hillsidedwelling at the very peak of built greenfrom in-floor hydronic heating and fullyautomated lighting to solar panels onthe roof this house was built withsustainability in mind from top tobottom so today we're here with MichaelMcDonald the Builder of thisextraordinary home thanks for coming bymy pleasure I can't wait to see it let'scheck it out alright good basically whatwe did on this project is like we talkeda little bit about sort of theaesthetics that drove a lot of thechoices but we also does we chosepartners on the project localcraftspeople and then bigger companieslike Kohler and jenn-air that wereamazing big companies that had awesomeproducts so we sort of had thiscombination of partnerships where wesaid hey guys come in work with us ifyou can show us your greatest stuff wellthe one thing that I'm hearing from youis that and that I can see is that itreally is almost designed first like youdon't know that it's a green home we'redesigners and builders and andsustainability has become very importantto us oftentimes I'm asked well what doyou have to sacrifice to have a greenhome and I say I look around at thishouse or some of the other projects weput up said I don't know you tell mewhat do we sacrifice nothing so we'vetried to make the sustainabilitycomponents of the project sort ofdisappear by utilizing recycled andlocally sourced materials the designersand builders have drastically reducedthe environmental impact of buildingthis home we wanted to make a house thatwas green and was sustainable but thethe aesthetic direction of the housewasn't compromised we wanted it to looklike a natural rough-hewn house made ofnatural materials and maybe a little bitmore stealth about the sustainabilitythe other thing that was reallychallenging about this project is it'sbuilt on a really steep hillside as youcan tell how many floors it's like fouryesvery small lot really steep really steepno real outdoor space and what we'restanding on here is the lawn and it'smade from recycled plastics and it's gota soy base backing on it you know what'ssustainable about it is that it doesn'ttake any water doesn't take anyfertilizers you don't have to cut it butit's still a really cool place to kindof hang out well there's several greenfeatures of the house the choice ofusing solar electricity was an obviousone the one that was a little bit lessobvious was the use of solar hot waterbecause we have a radiant heating systemin the floor we thought we would use thepreheating of the water with the solarpanels on the roof and then reheating itwith a high-efficiency boiler and thencirculating that water throughout thefloors particularly in the winteralong with those green features thehillside home is fully automated whichhelps add to its sustainability this isthe home automation system we're usingthis to really control every aspect ofthe electronics in the house and thenthe shades we can control how muchnatural light how much heat gain isallowed into the house by operating theconcealed shades at every level andfinally the house is outfittedexclusively with Kohler high-efficiencyshowers faucets and toilets the use ofwater or the using of the least amountof water possible was a concern of oursand so we struck a partnership with corand they've provided us with plumbingfixtures and we feel that we'vediminished the use of water to thegreatest degree possible but at the sametime still being able to shower and usethe plumbing fixtures and the way thatthey were intended the rise in greenbuilding has been dramatic andsustainability has become really top ofmind Kohler fits into that very nicelyin that we have a great opportunity toprovide that water conserving aspect ofthe footprint of both screenbuildings

On a steep lot that was initially considered to be unbuildable, a dedicated team of design professionals produced the first LEED-certified-Platinum home in Marin County, California. Nice trick. But how did they do it?

Like good magicians, the team took care to keep the backstage machinery well out of the spotlight. As builder Michael McDonald says, “We try to make the sustainability aspect of it disappear.”

That artfully hidden green technology includes in-floor hydronic heating, a solar array that provides 60% of the home’s electricity, LED lighting, cabinetry and floors made from sustainably harvested woods -even the roof is made of recycled metals.

Take a revealing look behind the scenes at a home that stands at the very apex of sustainable design.

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