Two weeks to design and just over three years to build, Lisa Ling and Dr. Paul Song’s modern two-story Santa Monica home is an architectural and environmental landmark. Designed by sustainability expert Marco DiMaccio, owner of PUNCHouse Design Group, it is the first LEED Certified Platinum energy-neutral home in Santa Monica.
To be certified in LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a home or building is rated on sustainability, energy efficiency and “green” building. Rating points are based on design, location, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor air quality, and awareness and education. Platinum is the highest score, thus being most sustainable.
DiMaccio, who is dedicated to creating ecologically sustainable architecture, designed Ling and Song’s “green” home using 100% of their old house, with no materials going to landfill. “Old roofing material is toxic,” said DiMaccio, “and most people rip it off and throw it in landfill. We send roofing materials off to be pulverized and repurposed. In this instance we took lumber from the old roof, resurfaced it, and used it as hardwood floor on the entire second floor.”
Extra lumber not used for rebuilding homes can also be recycled and used in parking lots and walkways, or donated to other projects. “The lumber we didn’t use was sent to Mexico to be used for low-income housing, while other items not recycled were given to Habitat for Humanity,” DiMaccio noted.
“He's the most creative person we've ever known," Ling stated when talking about her home and her experience working with DiMaccio. “Marco DiMaccio’s design has made a goal for energy independence into a home we have dreamed of.”
Ling, Executive Producer and Host of “Our America” on OWN, is perhaps best known for her role as Co-Host of “The View” and as a special correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” but now she and her husband are in the spotlight for reducing their carbon footprint.
The couple’s energy-efficient 4,300 square-foot home has a bold yet playful exterior consisting of a rock garden, indigenous plants and a sunken grass amphitheater lined with artificial turf. A 5,000 gallon underground rainwater tank sits in front of the home and harvests the rainwater from the roof. The 9-foot-wide, very red front door leads to a spacious open floor plan with a powder room, dining and living room, entertainment room and kitchen, displaying greys, whites, blacks and a hint of red!
The kitchen and bathrooms were surfaced using Silestone® by Cosentino. Their ECO line consists of surfaces made with recycled mirrors, glass and porcelain. Remnants from the Silestone® can be found in the pinstripe wall of one of the upstairs guest bathrooms.
Kohler plumbing products made a statement throughout the house. The Numi toilet, with unparalleled water efficiency, offers more than design and comfort. It has a touch screen remote for heating and lighting, as well as an eco flush, dryer and even music for your derriere. The bathrooms, complete with built-in speakers, offer a multitude of functionalities including iPod and mp3 player compatibility that may keep you from exploring the rest of the home!
The outdoor dining area is complimented with a BBQ and gardens on either side. Further back, through their very large open doorway, there is a spacious yet intimate outdoor living area complete with a saltwater pool and projection screen, which also doubles as a privacy wall.
Plugged into the garage juice bar charge was the couple’s electric BMW ActiveE. It’s similar in design to the BMW 1 Series Coupe and sports a silver-blue trim signifying the vehicle is free of emissions. With a full battery charge it drives approximately 100 miles.
The second floor, with its panoramic view of the downstairs, includes three guest bedrooms. Outside, DiMaccio has an array of over 60 solar panels which supply electricity for hot water and radiant floor heating, as well as heating to the swimming pool and energy to the home and electric cars. The Global Energy Storage System (GESS) works concurrently with the solar array allowing it to provide electricity at night, or when the power is not in use. Strategically placed, the solar panels sit above the faux grass balcony and lead the way to Ling and Song’s master bedroom.
A waterless urinal, which according to Kohler “can save up to 40,000 gallons of water per fixture every year,” was installed in the master bath at Song’s request. A steam generator, touchless hybrid faucet and shower locker are a few other amenities they share…as well as a whirlpool bath for two which includes water cascading from the ceiling!
Although a huge expense to design an energy-efficient home, the payoff has more people looking to go “green.” Last month, Ling and Song’s water bill was just over a dollar. In addition to ultra low bills, improved comfort, reliability, security and environmental sustainability are a few more reasons to leave an eco-friendly footprint.