Archive for June 2013

Green Home

Green Home

Over the last few Blogs I’ve been sharing stories about the “interesting” obstacles City Ventures had to overcome in making the all-electric house a reality. They’re all perfect examples of the notion that “great ideas eventually overcome all roadblocks” as long as the creators of the idea never let failure stop them. Getting ANYONE to think outside their box is not easy.  Be that as it may, we did eventually get the great idea of the all-electric home approved and several hundred families in 6 communities in California are enjoying having NO gas bill, very little or NO electric bill, and if they bought an electric car, NO gasoline bill. How much monthly savings is that?? If you do the math, it’s like getting a five figure raise. The money that would have gone to pay those three usual monthly “staples” is now going into much more important things like sports gambling or Jimmy Choo shoes.

Anyway, last time I talked about how “smart” the State of California is in adopting a compliance test in their Title 24 that “forces” builders to continually push the boundary of what defines Green Building until eventually nothing will be allowed to get built unless it’s 100% net zero energy. There is no question that California leads the nation in building the greenest homes as a direct result of Title 24 compliance standards. I also talked about how “smart” Socal Edison is by adopting a financial incentive program whereby builders that build homes that exceed Title 24 minimums by at least 20% get a rebate. It really did help encourage us to get that number to 20%.

On the flip side I spent a Blog on how “dumb” Socal Edison is by making us beef up the amount of power that goes into our all-electric communities BECAUSE they’re all-electric. Obviously they use more electricity than a community that has gas as well as electric but 30% of that power is generated by the solar power systems we put on the roof. Socal Edison IGNORES the system and requires us to put infrastructure in to accommodate as if there were no solar power systems in place. I likened it to a car maker inventing a solar powered car and having someone demand they put a bigger engine in the car. Insane.

Well the rest of this Blog is aimed at the State of California and a story of how “dumb” they are. I’ve already praised the Title 24 compliance process. It forces builders to do the right thing. Some of us go beyond. And if Socal Edison is your power Company you can get financial rebates for going 20% beyond. It’s not easy to do. But the money is DEFINITELY an encouragement. Plus it’s the right thing to do for Mother Earth.

The compliance test measures how much energy the home uses and as a builder you have to be pretty crafty about what you install so you can meet the number. Here’s the “dumb” part. The test is only built to discuss demand. If we put a wind turbine the size of Rhode Island on the roof that generated enough power to handle….well Rhode Island, it would still fail to meet the 20% threshold needed to get a rebate. The compliance test ignores supply. Everything gets calculated as if we were providing zero power. How “dumb” is that.

We’ve got two “governmental” agencies being really “smart” by enacting programs to ENCOURAGE being Green, and the same two “governmental” agencies being really “dumb” by DISCOURAGING anyone from being TOO Green.

To be fair, I heard the other day that the next round of changes to Title 24 will start acknowledging supply as well as demand. We’ll see if that’s true.

Until then



The Green Builder’s Journal is written by Herb Gardner, President of City Ventures Home Building Group. Herb has 30 years experience managing the building of residential and apartment communities in over 60 municipalities in 3 different states.

A big proponent of in-fill communities and the urban lifestyle Mr. Gardner has extensive experience in all aspects of residential home building, ranging from land acquisition to warranty management, he specializes in managing teams of people in delivering communities on time, on budget and to the quality standards the marketplace demands.

For Questions, Feedback or observations you can Click here to Email Herb