Preserving the Environment

Tricked Out Zero-Energy Homes Aren’t Just for the Rich and Famous

February 13, 2014
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Tricked Out Zero-Energy Homes Aren’t Just for the Rich and Famous
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These developers have built planet-friendly homes in one of LA's poorest neighborhoods.

When you think of modern homes with solar panels and award-winning green designers, you probably imagine they’d be constructed somewhere in Beverly Hills or Malibu. But three net-zero energy homes have been built in a Los Angeles zip code you probably wouldn’t imagine — South Central, a notoriously disadvantaged area in the city.

As Jetson Green reports, notable green design studio Minarc, Habitat for Humanity, and the non-profit Restore Neighborhoods LA (RNLA) have built three modern and environmentally friendly homes in one of the poorest neighborhoods of LA. These prefabricated homes take up much less time, money and manpower to assemble thanks to Minarc’s interlocking panel system, called mnmMOD. In fact, these 3-bedroom homes — with sizes around 1,200 to 1,375 square feet — were erected in three short days, when traditional construction for homes this size would take around two weeks.

According to a property listing, these homes are completely net-zero, as the energy that they consume are offset by solar panels and a thermal wall system. The homes also feature a drought tolerant landscape, vegetable gardens, sustainable bamboo floors and other green features.

MORE: Will This Be the Largest Energy-Free Building in the World?

The three homes are expected to sell between $300,000 to $325,000 (which is relatively cheap for a new home in Los Angeles). But not just anyone can swoop up these properties. According to Jetson Green, a potential buyer’s income has to be below 120 percent of the area median income for the Los Angeles metropolitan area. They also have to go through a home buyer education program in advance.

When 6.5 million low-income families spend more than 50 percent of their incomes on housing and utility costs, sustainable solutions are necessary to help keep roofs over heads. As John Perfitt, executive director of RNLA explained to Dwell.com, “We think that good design and new construction methods can, over time, have a very positive influence on restoring neighborhoods.” When it comes to sustainable homes, you don’t need a lot of green be green.

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