Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Solving California's Water Issues with the Sun

Click HERE for an article about a startup company called WaterFX that is utilizing solar energy to desalinate water in California's central valley.  Why is this so important a development?  Because the clean water generated this way is cheap... MUCH cheaper than the  water that will be produced by the new desalination plant we will soon have here in San Diego.  If this venture proves to be very successful, this could be a big game changer not just for California but the entire world.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sodium Borate: One of our favorite features of Green Building

A staggering statistic: 

A study by the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) in 1998 found that 4-6 million acres of forests were being harvested annually in the U.S. to supply wood for repairs (to existing buildings) required because of damage caused by wood destroying organisms - primarily termites & dry rot fungus.

It is simple to treat all the wood installed in the framing stages of construction with non-toxic Sodium Borate.  Sodium Borate is, however, toxic to the bacteria (in the gut of termites) that are responsible for breaking down wood cellulose into digestible material.  Termites avoid Sodium Borate to avoid starvation.

It costs roughly about 85-cents a sq.foot. of floor area to treat a home in construction with Sodium Borate, that equates to $2,125 for a 2500' home.  Considering that a home treated with Sodium Borate should never need to be tented, nor should it ever require repairs to framing materials because of termite or dry rot damage, it's a really great investment towards the durability of our homes.  Tenting is not cheap, and it's not exactly non-toxic either.  

Sodium Borate treatment on framing materials is not possible AFTER a home has been built.  Considering the price of the treatment vs. the benefits, it's almost crazy NOT to treat wood framing materials with Sodium Borate during construction.  If we were in charge we would make Sodium Borate treatment a building code requirement in every state of the country. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I don't remember doing this!

I was recently interviewed by Private Wealth Magazine for an article they are writing on Green Homes, and Green Building in particular.  A sticky challenge for me because the USGBC requested that in my interview I also assure to project the message that Green Building should be affordable, not just for luxury homes. 

I received a draft of the text for the article, and went to Google to assure some of their  percentages are correct for the additional cost of LEED Certification in residential construction.  I stumbled across an article (click HERE) on a website called Green Compliance Plus entitled, "LEED for Homes: Is it Worth It?"  First I saw a photo of our project at 1491 Neptune and thought, "That's funny that they posted an image of our project."  Then I saw that I was a contributor and that I had completed a survey for them.   I have absolutely no recollection of that contribution.  Makes me wonder where else my presence may be out there in cyberspace... possibly forever.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Net Zero PRODUCTION Building...

Utah Builder Offers Affordable Net Zero Home

And, in Utah no less.  There is a distinction between...

1) Net Zero SITE Energy - which these homes are, with a home generating as much energy as it uses. 
2) Net Zero PRIMARY Energy - accounting for ALL the energy required in order to bring energy to a home, including the energy required at the generation plants, transmission losses, etc.  PRIMARY Energy is of a greater value for a home than SITE Energy.
3) Net Zero COST - Simply, that production and utility billing structure allows that a home never gets an energy bill.
4) Net Zero CARBON - This is probably the truest of what Net-Zero should be.  That a home generates enough energy to offset all the carbon that it produces through consumptive use of energy and other carbon sources (i.e. carbon produced in burning natural gas or propane.)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Green Homes sell for more in California!

Excerpt from a UCLA Study that showed "green homes" sold for an average price premium of 9% between 2007 and 2012 in California:

The residential sector accounts for 33 percent of electricity consumption in the U.S., with a total expenditure of $166 billion in 2010. Increasing the energy efficiency of the durable housing stock can thus provide significant cost savings for consumers. One promising trend is the rise of homes labeled by a third party as “green” or energy efficient. The modeled energy consumption of such homes is substantially lower as compared to conventional homes of the same vintage. This paper provides the first systematic evidence on the effects of green labels attesting to the energy efficiency and sustainability of homes on consumer choice. We conduct a hedonic pricing analysis of all single-family home sales in California over the time period 2007 to 2012, documenting that homes labeled with Energy Star, LEED or Greenpoint Rated, transact for a premium of nine percent relative to otherwise comparable, non-labeled homes. Given the large size of this effect, we explore its robustness and examine a number of different hypotheses, focusing on recovering heterogeneous effects. The results show that both environmental ideology and local climatic conditions play a role in explaining the variation in the green premium across geographies.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Video for 1491 Neptune Avenue

Our new pals at Pacific Magazine put together this very nice PROMOTIONAL VIDEO that features our project at 1491 Neptune and highlights our friends Rande Turner (our listing agent) and Stephanie Malcolm (owner of Room by Room, the company that "created" the current wonderful furnishings in the home.)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

1491 Neptune featured in PACIFIC San Diego Magazine

A big THANK YOU to Stephanie Malcolm of Room by Room, and all from PacificSan Diego Magazine (David Perloff, Ron Donoho, and their crew) for a very nice article featuring our project at 1491 Neptune Ave. as the backdrop for the photography of Miss California USA 2013 and Miss California Teen USA 2013 (see page 58.)

Monday, November 19, 2012


Well, that depends on how you heat it.  Are you going to use air-source heat pumps running on electricity, will those heat pumps be working with a furnace or with ductless units in the home, will you be heating instead with natural gas or propane, how tight are the ducts, are the ducts in conditioned spaces or not, etc?

Click HERE for a great interactive calculator that will allow you to compare costs of each different type of system you might be considering for heating.  It's put out by BuildingGreen.com.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Green the MLS! Success in Colorado

The USGBC Chapter of Colorado created this video on Greening the MLS.  With the assistance of the Governor's Energy Office,  90% of Colorado now has a Green MLS.  If we can get Governor Brown to follow suit, it would be a great thing.  Click HERE to see The Green MLS Toolkit.

LEED for Homes SCORING TOOL Available

Check out the website LEEDforHomes.org.  It has a "Scoring Tool" that you can use to get a preliminary idea of the certification level for a residential project.  For the layman, this tool is much easier to use than working with the LEED for Homes checklist to figure it all out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

HOMES OF THE YEAR Nomination in San Diego Home/Garden Magazine

We are honored to be able to announce that 1491 Neptune Avenue has today been nominated for San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyle Magazine's 34th Annual Homes of the Year awards.  The winners will be announced in the January issue of the magazine.  The home was featured on the cover of its April 2011 issue.  SDHG has the largest circulation of any magazine within San Diego.  To boot, it's run by some really fun and friendly people.

Monday, November 21, 2011

1491 Neptune in BUILDER Magazine

BUILDER Magazine posted an online article about the use of wood as exterior cladding on homes. We're honored that senior editor Amy Albert included 1491 Neptune in the article (see slide show slide #4) along with such other beautiful homes. If you are a fan of wood, you had better check this out! And, congrats to our architects Smyer Architecture for the credit here. 

Click HERE for the article.  

Monday, October 10, 2011


A cut and Paste from "Home Energy Pros":  The Appraisal Institute recently released a three-page form called the Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum to collect information about energy efficient and green features, such as insulation values, efficiencies of heating and air equipment, high peformance windows, geothermal heat pumps, ENERGY STAR qualification or a HERS Rating, etc.  The form is meant to be used by appraisers, lenders, home energy raters and builders.  The Appraisal Institute is encouraging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use the form and even request it from appraisers.  This form should be extremely helpful by somewhat formalizing the process, and also by educating all of the stakeholders.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Almost All Carbon Monoxide Monitors allow you to slowly get POISONED!

Here's a shocking wake-up call. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in your home! 

If you have a Kidde, First Alert, Pro-Tech or any other UL-2034 or CA-6.19 listed Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm in your home (if you have any CO Alarm, this most likely means you do have one of these) look at the product liability disclaimer for the product.  It will clearly say that you are not protected from Chronic Low Level CO Poisoning.

So, what's going on here?  Your typical CO Alarm will notify you when you reach a lethal level of CO, generally considered 35ppm (parts per million.)  But that's the lethal level.  CO poisoning occurs at levels lower than that.  Even the EPA dictates that exposure to CO levels of 9ppm or more for more than 8-hours results in poisoning.

CO is produced by inefficient/incomplete gas combustion.  Appliances, such as furnaces, water heaters, and ovens/burners, produce CO.  An example of how CO is being produced in my home:  The burners on my stove each produce between 4-11ppm of CO, but my oven is producing 200ppm.  Without a fan on or windows open while cooking, all this CO goes into the ambient air of our home and generally stays there.  What does it do?  Here is the data from the EPA:

At low concentrations, fatigue in healthy people and chest pain in people with heart disease. At higher concentrations, impaired vision and coordination; headaches; dizziness; confusion; nausea. Can cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. Fatal at very high concentrations. Acute effects are due to the formation of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, which inhibits oxygen intake. At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal.

I'm scared to test our furnace (installed in 1948) to see how much CO it produces!  Is it any wonder I need extra cups of coffee when I wake up in the morning?!  

There is only one company that I know of that sells CO Alarms that will provide you monitoring to levels that are toxic (not just lethal levels.)  They have a terrible website, so don't judge the book by its cover:

They aren't cheap at $249, but it's cheaper than a visit to the doctor!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Two studies from last month show that homes with a green certification command a higher price premium and spend less time on the market than homes without a certification. These findings affirm the results of previous studies (HERE and HERE) reporting the same trend.

These studies indicate that homebuyers are valuing the benefits of a green home – comfort, quality and energy efficiency – more than ever, and are looking for the assurance a green label can provide. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

1491 Neptune Avenue featured in latest episode of "How Can I Help?"

Last week's episode of "How Can I Help?" on San Diego's Channel-16 featured 1491 Neptune (Click HERE to go directly to that section of the episode.)  I met with the program's creater, Ronnie Das, a few months ago to tell him a little bit about the project.  I need to work on my "Ums" !

Friday, June 17, 2011


We've just submitted the entries for two more competitions for 1491 Neptune Avenue, the BUILDERS CHOICE AWARDS and the EVERGREEN AWARDS.  Wish us luck!

Monday, June 13, 2011


In March a new program was launched called "Energy Upgrade California" that provides incredible financial incentives for homeowners interested in doing upgrades to their home to improve energy efficiency.  At last, the process has become simple! Check out the video, and click on the link above for Energy Upgrade California to learn more.  We're certainly going to do this for our home at 138 Grandview Street.  A lot of fantastic improvements can be made for the $4000 that is available to us!  It's crazy not to look into this if you own your home.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First Episode of "Food 360 Kitchen" Released

Yapo just sent to me a link to the just released first episode of his series, "Food 360 Kitchen".  The dinner for this episode was filmed at 1491 Neptune Avenue.  It was such a success at this location that Yapo wants to do it again this month on June 24th.  If you are interested in attending, please let us know.  Yapo is a hoot, and one great chef!

Yapo is the owner of the "Food Revolution Supper Club".  Check out his blog by clicking:  HERE

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

REGREEN Trained Professional

I have the honor of being one of the (only) six people in San Diego and one of ten in California to have achieved REGREEN Trained Professional status.  One of the others is my good friend Dave Nash who is currently applying his training to a remodel project in Del Mar.  I'm sure we'll get pictures of that project from him soon.

Click on the logo above to get to the REGREEN website to learn more and utilize the fantastic tools they have available to homeowners and remodelers.   You can see the list of people in San Diego who have achieved REGREEN Trained certification by clicking:  HERE

Thursday, May 26, 2011

ENCINITAS ENVIRONMENT DAY: JUNE 5th, 2011 at Cottonwood Creek Park

I highly recommend this event to anyone that can attend.  I'll be manning the U.S. Green Building Council booth for most of the day, but I've also been invited to present a Q&A in the morning about Green Building (I have about a half hour slot that will be somewhere around 10:00 or 11:00am.)   
Check out the event website by clicking:  HERE

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Producing Clean Drinking Water from the Air

Off-The-Grid Water? Very, very cool technology. Better add a couple of more PV panels to power one of these! Check out the website for Air2Water . The basic concept: 

"Air2Water products are best described as atmospheric water generators (AWG). Air2Water AWG units use technology (developed and patented by Worldwide Water, Inc.) that extracts clean drinking water from the air. The unit first pulls air through an electrostatic filter removing 93% of all air borne particles. As it collects water drops into a collection tray and immediately passes into Ultraviolet (UV) light, where the water stays in contact with UV rays killing germs and bacteria in the water. The water is then pumped through a sediment screen into a water pump and through a series of solid carbon block, UF or no waste R/O water filters. The water is then re-circulated through UV or treated by ozonation. It is then circulated back into the dispensing tanks. Finally, the water is chilled or heated and dispensed to the consumer."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

SAVE MONEY! Practical Economics of Electricity Conservation and Production

Most people don't know that their residential electricity charges can be based upon a tiered system, versus a flat rate per kWh (Kilowatt Hour) used.  Here in San Diego, SDG&E has four tiers of price per kWh, and those prices rates for tiers 3 and 4 change for winter and summer.  The two lower tier in summer are 14¢/kWh for tier-1 and 16¢ for tier-2, then jump to 29¢ and 31¢ for the top two tiers.  The pricing for the two bottom tiers are capped by the California Public Utilities Commission (because of California State Assembly Bill AB1X) and so the utility companies try to make their money in the top two tiers - thus the jump in pricing for those tiers.  Note that relative to the others, tier-2 is fairly small, so you can shoot right through that one quite easily.

What does this mean to you?  If you work to save electricity just a little bit through energy conservation, or produce just a little bit of electricity with a small Photovoltaic Solar system, you can shave off a proportionately greater portion of your electricity bill.  Note, the key words here are "just a little bit."  Its a generalization, but the more you do to either conserve or produce electricity, the more you receive diminishing returns on your investments.  Eventually you start doing it for altruistic reasons than for financial reasons.  The goal, really, is to shave off billing in the top two tiers of your electricity bill.

A rough example:  In a month if our electricity bill is $269, and we shave off 20% of our electricity use by then conserving and/or producing electricity, the same bill would be $202 which means we saved 25% on our electricity bill.

Bottom line, you don't really need to make a huge investment in energy conservation or production to make a big difference on your electricity bills, nor would you really want to make that investment because of the poorer return on your investment and "payback" time on that investment.   There are plenty of ways you can inexpensively change your approaches to lighting and that can have a profound effect on your bill, for example, and/or you can put in a small solar PV system to send electricity back into the grid.  If "going green" is to really succeed, the economics have to make sense to people!

Monday, April 18, 2011

NEW PHOTOS From Brent Haywood

Our agents, Rande Turner and Jill Wheeler, brought Brent Haywood over to shoot new evening photos at 1491 Neptune. They came out great! There are quite a few compositions that we haven't seen before in previous shoots. Take a look at the photos by clicking: HERE

Monday, April 11, 2011

TV News Coverage of 1491 Neptune

Thanks to KUSI News and San Diego Home Garden Lifestyles magazine for the TV news piece on 1491 Neptune. I have a little cameo in the piece (I was on my way to go for a surf and found the news crew there, and ended up providing a short interview... ill dressed!) Click HERE to see the piece.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

2010 Energy All-Star Award for "Outstanding Homeowner"

Thanks to Dave Nash for the handy iPhone work!


Last night we received the Energy All-Star Award for "Outstanding Homeowner". We are so thrilled and honored to receive this award. I have been hoping for years that we might be in the running to receive one, so it is a dream come true. Thanks to all at the California Center for Sustainable Energy for the acknowledgement and a great evening! Check out the news release on SignOn San Diego.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Yesterday we received in the mail the April "Green" edition of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine. They wrote an excellent article on the project at 1491 Neptune Avenue. Thanks very much to all the folks at SDHG. You can read the article online by going to the link from their homepage:http://www.sdhg.net/

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Energy All-Star Awards FINALIST

We were just notified by the California Center for Sustainable Energy that 1491 Neptune Avenue made the finalist list for the Energy All-Star Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held on March 31st at the Joan B. Krok Institute for Peace & Justice at the University of San Diego. This award is the most widely recognized Energy Efficiency award in San Diego, so we are truly honored to be finalists. We hope that we can win, as that would be a huge accomplishment for us!


Each year, roughly 2.5 million tons of waste carpet reaches landfills in the US. This accounts for almost 3% of total landfill space. Currently, less than 1% of this carpet is being recycled. There is a great company in San Diego that recycles both carpet and carpet padding. Check them out by clicking here: A+ Carpet Recycling

Friday, February 11, 2011


We've just entered all the required information for San Diego's biggest Energy Efficiency Awards for 1491 Neptune, the ENERGY ALL-STAR AWARDS. The competition is administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy. Awards will be announced on March 31st. Crossing our fingers, as this would be a great one to win!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

GreenPointRATED Certification SUCCESS!!!

We today received the news that 1491 Neptune received its GreenPointRATED certification from "Build It Green". This makes the home the first in San Diego to receive both LEED for Homes certification as well as GreenPointRATED certification. Many thanks go to Property Pros, and in particular Marianna Sparks and Carol Roberts, who were our "Certified GreenPoint Raters" and who donated much time and effort towards the project's efforts go get the certification.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Encinitas PATCH article on 1491 Neptune

Encinitas PATCH recently posted an nice article on 1491 Neptune. The post in this community news and information site includes photos and a video they made. I'm going to have to practice this video/interview thing, I have a difficult time with it. I even messed up saying what LEED stands for! Click HERE to see the article, photos, and video.

Monday, January 31, 2011

NASA loves LEED too.

Unsurprisingly, NASA has built the federal government's most sustainable building: an ultra-green experimental building, a space station on Earth, dubbed "Sustainability Base" in Moffett, California.

It's not surprising that forward-looking NASA recently set out to build the federal government's most sustainable building. What is surprising, however, is that this ultra-green experimental building, dubbed the Sustainability Base, will open its doors in May of this year—just two years after construction began.

NASA's had a number of requirements for its $20.6 million, Ames Research Center-based building: a healthy working environment, excellent air quality and natural light, low energy use, intelligent controls, a flexible building system, the integration of NASA's emerging technology, and the most challenging requirement of all—LEED Platinum status as a baseline for sustainability.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

You too, can now monitor our solar electricity production!

We've just received a link from SUNPOWER Solar that will enable you to view the graphic display of the solar electricity production at 1491 Neptune. You can display production by day, month, and year and look at the history of production since installation of the Photovoltaic System in January 2010. Click Here: SUNPOWER MONITOR

Monday, January 24, 2011


We've just released a promotional video for 1491 Neptune Avenue. Thanks so much to Aaron Chang and Barry Yee for all the hard work that they put into making this.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


In the US, buildings use 25% of our water, are responsible for 39% of our CO2 emissions, produce 65% of our waste output, and account for 71% of our electricity consumption. All of our homes account for twice as much CO2 emissions as all of our cars.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

GREEN HOME GUIDE: We made it onto San Diego's "Landing Page"!

1491 Neptune Avenue is now the featured home presented on the U.S. Green Building Council's GREEN HOME GUIDE for San Diego's "landing page." The Green Home Guide connects users to ideas, advice, and green home professionals. It is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in anything about greening homes. Check out the profile on San Diego's Page by clicking HERE .

ArtHaus and the GREEN CHAMBER of San Diego County

ArtHaus has become a proud member of the Green Chamber of San Diego County. We hope to help them host an event in the new year at 1491 Neptune Ave. Stay tuned! Find out more about the Green Chamber at: GreenChamberSD.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

GREEN HOMES TOUR - Registration now open!

Sign up for the GREEN HOMES TOUR on Sunday, November 7th! This is a rare opportunity, please don't miss out. 1491 Neptune will be on the tour. Please share this with anyone you think would also be interested in the event. To find out more about the event and to register, click here: INFO AND REGISTRATION

Monday, October 25, 2010

THE LEUCADIA PROJECT posts on 1491 Neptune

THE LEUCADIA PROJECT just posted a nice little blurb on 1491 Neptune. See the post by clicking HERE. Our friend, Ed Lewis, produces this blog and it's a favorite of ours. Thanks, Ed!

Monday, October 11, 2010


We've just received news that San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles is planning on doing an article on 1491 Neptune Ave. The month of issue that we'll be featured in hasn't been established yet, so stay tuned for further news.

Allison was the featured artist in the February 2010 issue, so the magazine has been a very good promoter for us. For those of you who do not know, Allison works with us on design and materials selections (our in-house Interior Designer.)

San Diego Home/Garden has the biggest circulation of any magazine of its type in San Diego. It's a monthly do-not-miss read for us all. Subscribe now, it's a great deal!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The USGBC's San Diego pages on ""Green Home Guide" (GreenHomeGuide.com) lists ArtHaus as a building resource for those interested in green home building/remodeling.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

USGBC's "2010 LEED for Homes Awards"

We're extremely pleased that we have been nominated for the U.S. Green Building Council's "2010 LEED for Homes Awards" under three different categories:
  • Outstanding Commitment to LEED for Homes - This award recognizes a builder for outstanding commitment to achieving LEED for Homes certification.
  • 2010 LEED for Homes Project of the Year - This award recognizes a LEED for Homes certified project for outstanding performance in the LEED for Homes Rating System, and particular innovation above and beyond the scope, requirements, and prerequisites of LEED.
  • Outstanding Single Family Project - This award recognizes a single family project for outstanding performance in the LEED for Homes Rating System.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NEW PHOTOS From Darren Edwards

We've just received new images from the latest photographer to shoot the project, Darren Edwards. They're fantastic and we're very pleased with the results. The images also show off the staging work by HOLD IT Contemporary Home, San Diego's finest contemporary home furnishings store.

See more of Darren's work at:

And also check out:

Friday, September 10, 2010


We've just received the fantastic news that we've attained our LEED for Homes certification for 1491 Neptune Ave., and we've achieved the highest "Platinum" rating. We hope to receive notification within 3-weeks that we've also qualified for Build It Green's "GreenPointRATED" certification. We're very proud of our accomplishments. 1491 Neptune is the second single family residence in San Diego to receive LEED for Homes certification, and the first to receive both LEED and GreenPointRATED certifications!

We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who made these achievements possible, and especially to our Project Sponsors... Thanks to you all!

Our suppliers and tradesmen worked hard to understand what makes a for a LEED Home and to comply with prerequisite and credit requirements. They are now equipped with valuable knowledge that they can take to other clients who are interested in remodeling or building homes in a sustainable manner. If you would like to get in touch with any of them, please refer to their links on the left hand side of this page (under the heading for Project Sponsors.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yet again: Two more articles on the Vess Residence.

It seems that it's getting hard not to open a magazine without coming across an article on our restoration/renovation project in Mt. Helix, the Vess Residence. Congratulations to the owners for getting so much exposure. The September/October issue of Riviera magazine has a great article on the home, and Sunset Magazine's published in the September issue its second article on the home (with a focus on the landscape design.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"LEED for Homes" Certification Update

We just received news today that our LEED for Homes certification package has been submitted by our Green Rater to our "Provider" Davis Energy Group. Davis will process the submission and, hopefully soon, recommend to the U.S. Green Building Council that we receive Platinum level certification. Normally this process will take about 6-weeks, but we anticipate that our request for expedited processing will provide us our certification sooner than that. We seem fairly secure in achieving the Platinum level as 95 Credit Points are required to do this for our project, and we have 104 Credit Points submitted. Our project is on target to be the second LEED for Homes certification in San Diego. It would have been nice to be the first, but we don't feel so bad about that as our friend Eric Reynolds' project in La Jolla gets that distinction. We think that we shall be having a celebration soon!

GREEN ROOFS: Interview with Interiorscape Magazine

Today I was interviewed by Interiorscape Magazine for an article they are doing on Jim Mumford and his company Greenscaped Buildings. Greenscaped Buildings installed the green roofs at 1491 Neptune (see post Dec.12 2009) The magazine would like to feature our green roofs as part of the article, and of course had plenty of questions for me to answer. We're looking forward to seeing the article when it comes out. Both green roofs are filling in very nicely and are looking fantastic. We're very pleased with the result and we're looking forward to putting more green roofs on our homes yet to be built.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Staging Partnership with HOLD IT Contemporary Home

We are very pleased to announce that we have a new sponsor that is going to stage 1491 Neptune Avenue. Mike McAllister, owner of HOLD IT Contemporary Home, and his team have been working closely with us to select furnishings, etc. to fit the architecture and the spaces. We think that HOLD IT has come up with a collection of fantastic items that will be installed on August 4th. We can't wait to share the results. HOLD IT has an impressive showroom featuring a huge selection of modern/contemporary furnishings. They also have a growing collection of sustainably manufactured furnishings that are beautiful, and we are getting a few such items installed at 1491 Neptune. The layout of the showroom is very sensible and flows nicely. We very much recommend a visit to their showroom in Mission Valley. Ask for Mike! Check out their website at: www.HoldItHome.com

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We're getting some press!

Our marketing program is ramping up and we're happy to see that we've started getting press coverage. Ranch & Coast magazine did a mini article on 1491 Neptune (click here: R&C Article), as did the Villager magazine, and we showed up in the current issue of Dream Homes magazine. Also, check out our ad in Dream Homes : Dream Homes 1491 Neptune . We've also managed to succeed in becoming finalists in our first award competition for Surfrider's "2010 Green Home Challenge" hosted by CaliBamboo. Our older project up on Mt. Helix is in the current issue of Modernism Magazine, the third magazine article that we know of. We're anticipating a lot more press coverage soon and maybe we can win some of the competitions we enter!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

INSULATION: Startling Insight

People naturally think that if you cover 98% of a surface with insulation, you'll get 98% of the performance. This thinking is horribly wrong. Gaps and missing insulation create a hugely disproportionate performance penalty. If you install R-38 batts in an attic but leave 0.5% of the surface area uncovered, you end up with R-32 (16% reduction in R-value, or insulation performance.) Leave 2% uncovered, and you drop to R-22 (42% reduction.) So, with 98% of the coverage, you only get 58% of the performance! This is why "QII" (Quality Insulation Installation) is so important. Predominantly insulation is NOT installed this way, it's almost just thrown into walls cavities and attics, and small gaps often occur which add up to a huge loss in performance. There is an additional cost for QII when you are getting insulation installed, but obviously it's very much worth it! (Derived from Fine Homebuilding, Winter 2009)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fabulous new photos by Mike Hearon

Our cabinet maker, Pete Vivian of Artistic Freedom Designs, invited his friend Mike Hearon to come shoot the project a few weeks ago. Mike is a professional photographer who specializes in architectural photography. He flew all the way from New Jersey for the shoot, and we feel honored that he made the trip and came up with such fantastic images... a few of which can be seen here (click on each image to enlarge.) We'll be posting all of them on our website www.ArtHausHome.com on the Projects page for 1491 Neptune Ave. Check out Mike's Website at www.MikeHearon.com. Thanks Mike!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

1491 Neptune receives its First Award for its novel Concrete Stair Treads

At last week's Decorative Concrete Decor Show held in Phoenix, 17-19 March, Jack Cooper of JAX Custom Surfaces won a first place award for his entry of our concrete stair treads in the "6th Annual Members Circle of Distinction Design Challenge." Jack received this award for the category:
2010 Outstanding Design and Craftsmanship -
Best Functional Feature. Congratulations and thanks to Jack and his team. Check out his website at: www.JAXdesignshop.com

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saving Energy by Saving Water?

DID YOU KNOW? In California, water related energy use, which includes the conveyance, storage,treatment, distribution, wastewater collection, treatment, and discharge sectors of the water use cycle, consumes about 19 percent of the state’s electricity, 30 percent of its natural gas, and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel every year – and this demand is growing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

First photo shoot completed

Late yesterday afternoon Ramona D'Viola of ilumus photography came by to do our first photo shoot of 1491 Neptune Ave. I had never seen an evening architectural photo shoot before, so it was a great learning experience. As you can see from this shot the results are fabulous (click on the image to enlarge.) We'll be using Ramona's photos for all of our promotional and informational efforts. Thank you Ramona! Please visit ilumus photography's website to see more of Ramona's incredible work at: www.ilumus.com

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Landscaping Completed (almost)

Today we completed most of the landscaping... just in time for the storm of the decade! We'll see how it holds up to all the rain they are predicting this week. It will be a good test of our design for permeable surfaces.

The entry steps in the front yard are designed to divert rainwater into the surrounding permeable landscape. All plants are drought resistant and will eventually require little or no potable water. All in all, the landscaping will require 73% less water than a conventional residential landscape. LEED-H credit awards for water-saving landscape design are plentiful, so we should be well-rewarded when it comes to our final credit calculations. CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Monday, January 11, 2010

Front steps and porches completed

We finished our second pour on the concrete steps on Sunday (thanks to the crew at Tudor Construction and our finisher Kerry) and they look fantastic. Jeff of Wet Paint applied the sealer today to our Ipe porches (made with Ipe certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council.) It's all coming along nicely in the front. Tomorrow we have plants delivered, and our "Coyote Gold" decomposed granite comes on Thursday. By week's end there will be quite a transformation to the exterior.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This morning we turned on all the switches for our solar PV system installed by Sequoia Solar of Solana Beach. When the sun gets a little higher in the sky we should be pumping excess electricity back into the grid. We'll soon be getting our monitoring system running which will provide us data on performance and production of the solar panels. We received notice yesterday from SDG&E that they will be changing out our meter to a "SmartMeter", and it will be interesting to see how this new meter interfaces with the PV system. Update to Post: We produced over 7-kilowatts of energy on day-1 for the system. That rate is equivalent to 54% of our current daily electricity usage at our home on Grandview Street.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

GREEN ROOFS have been completed

We're excited that our two Green Roofs at 1491 Neptune have finally been installed. These are before and after images of the Green Roof area off of the master bedroom deck (above the garage.) Many thanks go to our friends at GreenScaped Buildings for being Project Sponsors and for doing such a fabulous job. Hopefully all the vegetation fills in quickly in the next few months. Green Roofs are important for reducing stormwater runoff, reducing heat-island effects of roof areas, and for reducing the heating & cooling requirements of buildings (which provides for greater energy efficiency.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

1491 & 1493 Neptune: Project Update 12-21-09

The year is about to end, and we're putting the finishing touches on the project at 1491 Neptune. A few loose ends on the interior work to complete and we're ready for our final inspection. Hardscape installation and landscaping started last week and that should be finalized within another two weeks. Next we'll be putting in our submission for both Build-It-Green's "GreenPoint Rated" certification, and for the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED-H certification (we're crossing our fingers that we make the target level of "Platinum".)

We've had approval from the Encinitas Planning Commission for our Tentative Parcel Map and hope to get our permit application and building plans in for 1493 Neptune before December 31st. If all goes according to plan, we'll break ground on 1493 Neptune in late January or early February. We've decided to pull the trigger on achieving a Net Zero Energy Home for 1493 Neptune. It will use no natural gas, and will generate all it's own energy requirements using Solar Photovoltaic Panels and a Solar Water Heater. This will certainly be a landmark home for both Encinitas and San Diego.