The Nooren residence at 8001 Calle de la Plata in La Jolla Shores is the third LEED Platinum home in La Jolla.
Built extensively with recycled materials and utilizing the latest in energy-efficient technology, the Nooren home is truly “green” and a model of resource conservation at all levels.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a program that provides third-party verification of green buildings satisfying prerequisites to earn points to achieve different levels of certification.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is intended to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction — Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum — that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
Started in 1998, LEED standards have been applied to more than 7,000 projects in the United States and 30 other countries, covering more than 1.5 billion square feet of development.
During a Dec. 5 open house, Jack and Jill Nooren, owners of the Shores LEED-certified home, walked guests through their dwelling, discussing the finer points of energy-efficient building.
“LEED recognizes that we need to become more ecologically responsible in the way we design and build homes and the reason for that obviously is we need to limit the use of our natural resources, not just water, sewer and waste but also gas and electric,” said Jack Nooren. “So the LEED process looks at the global picture, which means they examine, when you do demolition, if you’re recycling any of the content of the old structure, which is what we did.”
The Nooren project featured an integrated design team consisting of Joseph Diasparra, Hill Construction Company, David Keitel, Domusstudio Architecture and LEED consultant Stephanie Fagen Ecopious.
Among the Nooren residence’s LEED components:
• Drought-tolerant and indigenous landscaping
• A drip water-irrigation system
• A photovoltaic, passive solar-heating system featuring a 100-gallon storage tank, providing 60 percent of the home’s hot-water needs
• Use of energy-saving appliances
• Recycling of 75 percent of all waste generated during home construction
• An LED lighting package that reduced the house’s demand for energy and electrical costs
Project architect David Keitel said there are significant upfront costs associated with building a LEED-certified home that are more than made up for over time by cost savings.
“There is an initial upcharge for building a LEED home, but there are so many efficiencies implemented through the LEED process, that it really makes what we’re doing a no-brainer,” Keitel said. “The Noorens have tax rebates and credits coming back to them on their taxes this year for building this house, which really adds up very quickly.”
Nooren said he feels construction similar to that done on his home will be the rule, not the exception, in the future.
“It’s a standard of how construction should be and how people should think when they build,” he said Nooren. “Everything we built in here was all about what we could recycle.”
Besides conserving energy, Nooren said LEED design is also about not wasting space.
“This house is only 2,350 square feet on two levels with 4 ½ baths,” he said. “We don’t have any wasted space because we have our kitchen, dining and living quarters all in one area downstairs.
Nooren said the bottom line with LEED building is that, in the end, it saves money, as well as energy.
“We’ve lived here almost a year now and the highest monthly bill we had was $36,” he said. “We have six inches of Styrofoam on our roof, plus hatches we can open up to to get air circulating so it never gets warm in here. We don’t have air conditioning. We never need it. How many $3 million homes get built without air conditioning? Not very many. This is one of them.”