NICOLE FACCIUTTO: Hi. I'm Nicole Facciutto. And today we're in the hills of northern California at one of the most extraordinary homes in the country. Not only is it the first LEED certified platinum home in gorgeous Marin County, but one of only a handful built in the entire Golden State. And this house is stunning. It's a hillside dwelling at the very peak of Built Green. [MUSIC PLAYING] NICOLE FACCIUTTO: From in-floor hydronic heating and fully automated lighting to solar panels on the roof, this house was built with sustainability in mind from top to bottom. So today we're here with Michael McDonald, the builder of this extraordinary home. Thanks for coming by. MICHAEL MCDONALD: My pleasure. NICOLE FACCIUTTO: I can't wait to see it. MICHAEL MCDONALD: Let's check it out. NICOLE FACCIUTTO: All right. MICHAEL MCDONALD: Let's do it. Basically what we did on this project is we talked a little bit about the aesthetics that drove a lot of the choices. But what we also do is we chose partners on the project, local craftspeople and then bigger companies like Kohler and Jenn-Air that were amazing, big companies that had awesome products. So we had this combination of partnerships where we said, hey, guys, come and work with us if you can and show us your greatest stuff.
NICOLE FACCIUTTO: Well, the one thing that I'm hearing from you, and that I can see, is that it really is almost design first. You don't know that it's a green home. MICHAEL MCDONALD: We're designers and builders. And sustainability has become very important to us. Oftentimes, I'm asked, well, what do you have to sacrifice to have a green home? And I say– I look around at this house, or some of the other projects we've built. I've said, I don't know. You tell me. What do we sacrifice? NICOLE FACCIUTTO: Nothing. MICHAEL MCDONALD: So we've tried to make the sustainability components of the project disappear. NICOLE FACCIUTTO: By utilizing recycled and locally sourced materials, the designers and builders have drastically reduced the environmental impact of building this home. SCOTT LEE: We wanted to make a house that was green and was sustainable, but the aesthetic direction of the house wasn't compromised. We wanted it to look like a natural, rough-hewn house made of natural materials and maybe be a little bit more stealth about the sustainability. MICHAEL MCDONALD: The other thing that was really challenging about this project is it's built on a really steep hillside, as you can tell.
NICOLE FACCIUTTO:Because how many floors? There's four? MICHAEL MCDONALD: Four. So very small lot, really steep, really steep, no real outdoor space. And what we're standing on here is the lawn. And it's made from recycled plastics. And it's got a soy-based backing on it. What's sustainable about it is that it doesn't take any water. It doesn't take any fertilizers. You don't have to cut it. But it's still a really cool place to hang out. SCOTT LEE: Well, there are several green features of the house. The choice of using solar electricity was an obvious one. The one that was a little bit less obvious was the use of solar hot water. Because we have a radiant heating system in the floor, we thought we would use the preheating of the water with the solar panels on the roof and then re-heating it with a high-efficiency boiler, and then circulating that water throughout the floors, particularly in the winter. NICOLE FACCIUTTO: Along with those green features, the hillside home is fully automated, which helps add to its sustainability.
SCOTT LEE: This is the home automation system. We're using this to really control every aspect of the electronics in the house. And then the shades, we can control how much natural light and how much heat gain is allowed into the house by operating the concealed shades at every level. NICOLE FACCIUTTO: And finally, the house is outfitted exclusively with Kohler high-efficiency showers, faucets, and toilets. SCOTT LEE: The use of water, or the using of the least amount of water possible was a concern of ours. And so we struck a partnership with Kohler. And they provided us with plumbing fixtures. And we feel that we've diminished the use of water to the greatest degree possible, but at the same time, still being able to shower and use the plumbing fixtures in the way that they were intended. SHANE JUDD: The rise in green building has been dramatic. And sustainability has become really top of mind. Kohler fits into that very nicely in that we have a great opportunity to provide that water conserving aspect in the footprint of those green buildings.
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