One family's project to affordably retrofit their abode into a net zero energy, zero carbon case study is already exceeding their expectations, said Robert and Monica Fortunato, who live in the Hermosa Beach home with their son.
Known as the Green Idea House, Fortunato and others celebrated its accomplishments with a public event Saturday that included tours of the property.
With its aim to be environmentally friendly, the building has reduced its energy load by more than 75 percent, harvesting more renewable energy than it uses and using the extra energy to help reduce the carbon footprint even more by charging electric vehicles. During building, the project kept more than 97% of construction waste out of landfills.
Already the winner of the 2012 Green Leadership Award for Los Angeles County, 2012 Environmental Leadership SEED Award and Build It Green’s, Green Point Rated Builder of the Year Award in the Custom Builder Category, the building is now the cornerstone case study for Southern California Edison’s Net Zero Energy Initiative which makes possible the CPUC’s guideline that all new residential buildings be net zero energy by 2020. It is also a case study for Energy Upgrade California, Build it Green’s Green Point Rating.
"Our objective was to build community around the idea that anyone can and should build with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind," said Fortunato. "In the process, we built a robust coalition with over 60 public, private and non-profit entities including our city, the utilities and multiple NGO’s in the energy and environmental space. We also partnered with corporations to not only help them showcase their green products, but to give them feedback on how to improve them and increase their profitability and market viability at the same time."
The Green Idea House, GIH, continues to reach a large audience and has been the focus of more than 40 local, national and international publications, TV and radio programs, according to its website.
Most recently, The Wall Street Journal featured it in an article on demolition reuse.
Visitors to the project have included local congressmen, mayors and city council members, the U.S. Green Building Council, Energy Upgrade California, local utility employees, students from USC, UCLA, Mira Costa High School and Youthbuild as well as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America.
GIH was also part of the Sandpipers Holiday Homes Tour, which raised money for local charities.