What is the main thing about sustainable design that you are used to, but most people would find amazing?

Larry Scarpa's avatar image.

Most people are amazed to find out that we can do so much for so little cost. When you design a building to be passively efficient (the proper orientation) it is allot easier to accomplish higher efficiencies with less resources.

David M. Lee's avatar image.

What do you mean by "the proper orientation?" Do you mean the way the building is facing?

And what efficiencies are most important to design for? I can imagine insulation and heating would be the main ones, as those drive monthly/annual cost. Have you ever been able to get costs of living in a building down to $0?

Larry Scarpa's avatar image.

Yes. For example, if you have an amazing view to the west you would most likely design the building with large glass windows to take advantage of the view. However, facing west with large glass creates tremendous heat gain and glare. If that is the case than design measures need to be taken such as using vertical shade fins to reduce the heat gain without loosing the view.

Yes we recently completed a net zero house in Venice about two years ago. They have never had an electrical bill.

David M. Lee's avatar image.

Wow that's something Silicon Valley needs - never having an electrical bill. Thanks for sharing, I feel like sustainable design needs more recognition to be honest.

When considering all the environmental factors though, what made Venice so special? What would it take to do the same in San Francisco?

Sarina C. Baskin's avatar image.

What's with 'vertical' shade fins that block the heat better than a mesh material or horizontal shade fins?