Pacific Beach home, with original landscaping by Kate Sessions, on Green Homes Tour
Published - 10/17/18 - 03:27 PM | 3602 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Owned by the Victor family, the Pacific Beach residence showcases grass-roots sustainability.
Owned by the Victor family, the Pacific Beach residence showcases grass-roots sustainability.
A green renovation of a Pacific Beach home built in 1912 with original landscaping by “Mother of Balboa Park” Kate Sessions, is on this year’s San Diego Green Building Council’s Green Homes Tour Sunday, Oct. 21.

Owned by the Victor family, the residence showcases grass-roots sustainability.

“When we learned of the home’s historic value, we decided to maintain its integrity, and that’s how we started integrating sustainability into it,” said Kristen Victor, noting their dwelling had no air conditioning, heating or ventilation.

What the Victors did was to adapt their home to use natural ventilation to heat and cool it.

“We also upgraded the home using recycled content with components with zero toxicity,” said Kristen adding, “The guest house was remodeled with 100 percent recycled content.”

But the exterior of the home was where the Victors really went to work.

“We put in rain gutters and a screening system that filters debris out of the water,” Kristen said. “We’ve attached a spout and a soaker hose to that which we used to water our food garden.”

The Victors installed a gray water system for their guest house bathroom plumbed through a purple pipe system using gravity flow transferring that gray water into a bioswell for natural cleansing.

“We have a food forest now completely watered by gray water,” said Kristen pointing out their sustainability improvements save money while conserving water.

“Our water bill went down from $500 a month to $120 to $140 a month,” she said. “We qualified for water cistern rebates. It cost us about $2,500 to put in the system — and we got $1,500 back in rebates.”

Now in its ninth year, the Green Homes Tour celebrates best practices in green building and design while showcasing the innovative work of some of the industry’s top professionals.

Pacific Beach is among nine San Diego communities to have a sustainable home showcased on this year’s Green Home Tour sponsored by the San Diego Green Building Council, an environmental nonprofit dedicated to providing education, outreach and advocacy focused on green building.

A ‘green’ building is one whose design, construction or operation reduces or eliminates negative impacts, creates positive environmental impacts and preserves natural resources. Green buildings efficiently use water and renewable solar energy employing re-use and recycling strategies while utilizing non-toxic and sustainable building materials.

Bryon Stafford, a board member for the San Diego Green Building Council, said the Green Home Tour’s purpose is to acquaint those unfamiliar with it about “sustainable building at the local level.”

Homes are selectively chosen, added Stafford. “We don’t want homes that just have solar panels on the tour,” he said. “We want homes with green features or sustainable practices.”

Of sustainable building, Stafford said, “There are many ways to build green, and you don’t add much to the cost. It’s just doing things a little bit better than the industry standard. This is not rocket science. It’s using different products that will last longer.”

The popular one-day event will showcase homes in South Park, Normal Heights, Pacific Beach, Point Loma, La Jolla, Encinitas, Vista, Lakeside and Campo.

On the self-guided tour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., attendees may visit as many of the homes as they like, meet with industry professionals and homeowners, and learn more about the latest green home design, construction and upgrade options.

Tickets are on sale now for $15 per person. Discounts are available for San Diego Green Building Council members ($10) and students ($5, with I.D.). Children under 16 are free and must be accompanied by an adult.

Visit the tour website,, for an updated lineup of home sites, project descriptions and photos.
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