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The ultimate in eco-living

Local residents can tour the energy-saving ABC Green Home, now open at the O.C. Great Park.

by brandon russellPublished: December 01, 2012

The ABC Green Home's kitchen
The “ABCs,” most often associated with the alphabet, which we learned in preschool or Kindergarten, has taken on a whole new meaning, thanks to a new Green Home Builder venture in Irvine. Under a Southern California Edison partnership, the “Affordable. Buildable. Certified” project, currently on display at the Orange County Great Park, is demonstrating the benefits of owning a net-zero-energy home. (The solar-energy production in a net-zero-energy dwelling matches its energy consumption.) To indicate that going green is within everyone’s reach, the project is known as the ABC Green Home, which opened for visits last October.
With a lack of affordable green home options available locally, architect Manny Gonzalez and a group of financial backers conceived of a way to construct a Craftsman-style house for a price equivalent of most tract homes. The difference from an everyday dwelling, however, is the stringent eco-friendly regulations that the ABC Green Home follows before ever breaking ground. The overall goal of the project is to make net-zero-energy houses mandatory for all new-home construction by 2020.
Features include insulated walls constructed with less lumber, 5  -kilowatt solar roof panels, a rainwater-collection system, separate energy-efficient pumps that heat both air and water, a gray-water recycling system and drought-resistant plants.
The ABC Green Home is teeming with the kind of tech amenities that even Bill Gates would fawn over. With an AMX home automation system – accessible through a wall-mounted panel or smartphone – residents have full control of televisions, lights, appliances, shades, ceiling fans and security cameras.
“With the opening of the ABC Green Home, visitors can experience and learn about the latest in energy efficiency at the Great Park,” says Beth Krom, chair of OC Great Park Corp. “This net-zero-energy ‘house of the future’ exemplifies the Great Park’s mission to promote sustainability and education.”
The home will be on display during the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, showcased at the Great Park through Oct. 13, 2013. Check it out to relearn your ABCs.