The Sunset Idea House of 2008
Sunset’s latest Idea House has proven that even city dwellers can take advantage of sustainable design. It is a renovation to an existing building in the Mission District of San Francisco. The goal of this project was to prove that green buildings can be constructed in heavily populated areas. The building of “earth-friendly” homes has previously been restricted to more distant places where there is more room for the equipment such as large solar panels and wind turbines. This Idea House project was the first to take place in an inner-city setting. Sunset Magazine worked along with architect and designer John Lum in the building of the house. Lum had to obtain special building permits from the city of San Francisco because of the innovations included in the project.
The structure is made up of a house and an apartment, and only takes up a 50 by 70 foot corner lot. There are three different levels, and each leads to a main stairway on the side of the house. Unlike most floor plans, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are on the top floor, to allow a view of the city and the bay. Architect and designer of the house, John Lum says, “It’s kind of an upside-down house. The public spaces are on the top, and the more private master suite and the guest rooms are below.”
What really makes this house environmentally friendly are its features. Pipes on top of the roof will heat the water for the house using solar energy. A wind turbine and solar panels will provide the home with electricity. A state of the art control system will monitor the daily water and electric use, as this has been shown as a good way to encourage conservation. Some of the roof is covered with plants, which naturally insulate the home. When it rains the rainwater will flow off the roof and will go into two holding tanks that can store up to 4,000 gallons of water. This water can be used to wash laundry, flush the toilets or water the plants. The home uses florescent lighting, which saves energy. The kitchen counters are made of recycled glass imbedded in cement, and antique barn siding is used for the hardwood floors.
The house is a very good example of moving towards sustainability and more homes like it should be built. It is also a excellent example of how partnerships and collaborations from several groups working together can come up with innovative and creative solutions to sustainability.
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Go to this link for a tour of the house:
"2007 San Francisco Idea House". Meridian Builders and Developers Inc.
Accessed 16 January 1 2008. <http://www.mbuild.com/idea_house.htm>
Barthelemy, Kelly and Peter Fish. “Tour: eco-design goes glam”. Sunset Magazine. March 2008. Accessed 7 March 2008. <http://www.sunset.com/sunset/home/article/0,20633,1711938,00.html>
Gregory, Daniel. "Living green in the city". Sunset Magazine. Accessed 16 January 2008.
"Urban Design Goes Green". John Lum Architecture Inc. Accessed 16 January 2008.
Drawing by: Mount, Authur. Permission to use received by e-mail. 27 January 2008.