'The Jetsons house for today'

Southern California Edison recently unveiled its ABC Green Home in Irvine to crowds eager to see its eco-friendly design and sophisticated gadgetry.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house — built in conjunction with and sponsored by Green HomeBuilder magazine and its clients — at the Orange County Great Park was designed to showcase the highest possibilities of sustainable home building.

Organizers touted that the entry-level home off Marine Way can be built anywhere from materials found anywhere, as in they're not "unobtanium."

ABC stands for Affordable, Buildable, Certified.

"It's putting a utility company together with a publishing company with a forward-thinking city of Irvine," said ABC Green Home Project Manager Nicole Feenstra of Newport Beach-based Peninsula Publishing, whose titles include Green HomeBuilder and other business magazines.

The one-story, craftsman-style home, which is now open for public tours, is 1,695 square feet with a 440-square-foot attached garage.

It is also designed to be net-zero energy.

"Over the course of 12 months, it will generate as much electricity as it uses," said John Morton, a program manger with SCE who led press and other visitors on a tour of the house. "Some days it will use more than it generates. Some days it will generate more than it uses."

It is the first of its kind built by SCE or any utility company and will receive six green certificates from four agencies, according to a news release.

Among those green elements on the inside is a gray water system that captures water from the sink to fill the low-flow toilet, efficient appliances and carpets made of recycled materials.

He added that Orange County high school students from eight campuses helped the project through their ROP programs.

"They spent their summer out here with on-the-job apprenticeships, side by side with all our trades, learning plumbing, electrical work, low-voltage work, roofing and whatever else we were doing at the time," Morton said.

The Irvine Unified School District will also use the house to teach sustainability to fifth- and sixth-graders, he said.

There is a central computer system that manages and monitors the house's energy consumption and creation. It is controllable remotely through devices like smartphones and iPads.

It even tells the local weather — local as in what the weather station on the roof is currently reading.

The California-native plants outside are drought-tolerant, said Michael Schrock, a principal with Costa Mesa-based Urban Arena.

There is also a system that catches rainwater, which then goes into an underground 450-gallon cistern and is used to irrigate the plants, he said.

As for the landscaping, he called it nearly zero water, with no irrigation heads.

After its yearlong stay at the Great Park, it will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, which will then move it and make it available for a disabled veteran.

"We're thrilled to have a partnership with Habitat," said Nick Slevin, publisher and editor in chief of Peninsula Publishing. "It's a natural fit for this. It's a natural place for it to end up."

He joked that the Jetsons "would be unhappy to live in this house. This is the Jetsons house for today."


Twitter: @bradleyzint


If You Go

What: ABC Green Home

Where: Off Marine Way, Orange County Great Park, Irvine

When: Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesday, Thursday

More information: http://www.abcgreenhome.com

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