The LivingHomes project in Los Altos achieved the “Z6” environmental goals that the Santa Monica-based firm sets for all of its projects. All of the wood used in the construction is from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources. Solar panels on the roof provide 100 percent of the homes’ energy needs, and the kitchen and bathroom surfaces are made out of recycled content instead of the standard granite slabs. Native or drought-resistant plants offer sublime landscaping. In sum, the three units have almost no carbon, water or waste footprint.
The two two-bedroom units and a studio apartment all boast comfortable outdoor decks, floor-to-ceiling glass, and a design that allows lots of natural light to filter into the living spaces. All paints and stains used were zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds), and one unit has an indoor garden that freshens the air. Best of all, the unit is within walking distance to a local shopping center, reducing the need to hop into that car for grocery store trips. The building’s sustainable design is also democratic: one of the units is deeded as an affordable housing unit. Los Altos is more known for its expensive housing than its eco-friendly housing, but LivingHome’s eye-catching project is a step towards offering affordable and environmentally responsible design anywhere, in any neighborhood.
Photos courtesy LivingHomes Flickr Page