The Greenest House in San Francisco
First city-approved installation of rain water catchment and recycling
system. February 6, 2006.
The bar has just been raised on building green in San Francisco.
Built by LORAX Development and designed by John Maniscalco Architecture,
this 2600 square foot home in Noe Valley earns the title of Greenest House in San Francisco.
Coming March 1, 2006, 520 Clipper Street will not only be a demonstration piece that raises
the bar on green building, but will also be a home that people will want to live in.
LORAX partners Mike Kerwin, Pat Loughran and Joel Micucci assembled
a high quality team of sub-contractors as passionate about sustainability as they are. Experts
in green building methods such
as salvaging building products, solar power, recycled water, and
green-certified cabinetry, this team
of committed professionals used every environmental material and
technology available to them in
building this home.
Let It Rain
520 Clipper boasts the first city-approved installation of a Rain
Catchment System in San Francisco. Available from Wonderwater, Inc.
in Shasta, CA, the system will recycle an average of 18,000 gallons
of rainwater that falls on the roof each year. A recycling unit
ensures that no water is wasted, but is cleaned, stored and recycled
through a separate plumbing system to flush toilets, do laundry
and water the yard.
“Since the typical household in San Francisco uses over 5,000
gallons of water each month,” says partner Pat Loughran. “We
think the Rain Catchment System is the solution to water short ages
in the coming years. We will always be able to harvest and regulate
a portion of our own water supply.”
In addition to producing the electricity for the home, the solar
panels on the roof are incorporated into a water heating system,
which provides 80% of the domestic hot water. It also heats the
whole home by means of heated water circulating through Warmboard®,
an integrated sub floor system that provides a soft radiant heat
instead of forced air.
The Clipper House is on the grid, so excess solar power is automatically
sold back to PG&E, providing power to the home while reducing
costly over baseline electrical usage.
“LORAX Development has consistently been a supporter of
the energy efficient
technologies. They have insisted on including solar and radiant
in all of their projects,”
says Jake Tornatzky, Owner of Declination Solar.
“This home has a myriad of higher quality, green certified,
alternative building materials”
says partner Mike Kerwin. “At every juncture we discussed
the options and chose the
The kitchen built-in cabinets and the bookcases in the living room
were made with materials
harvested from responsibly managed forests and certified by the
non-profit Forestry Stewardship Council. Manufactured by Zwanette
Design, San Francisco, a woman-owned business that also provides
built-in green storage solutions, kitchens, and architectural surface
treatments. De Gier's passion for sustainability has made her a
natural for the LORAX team.
“As I've seen this project develop over time I've become
more and more impressed by LORAX's willingness to go the extra mile
to find more innovative and sustainable materials. Nowadays it doesn't
take much for a developer to call a project “green”.
Frequently these kinds of homes don't even have solar panels on
their roofs. That's not what Mike, Pat and Joel are doing. They
are really pushing the envelope and trying to raise the bar for
true “green” development,” says de Gier, owner.
The wood floors are salvaged from 100-year-old Southeast Asian
railroad ties, provided by Terra Mai, www.terramai.com.
Terra Mai's products are all 100% reclaimed and recycled and LEED
certified. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
certification is the benchmark for green building worldwide.
“At Terra Mai our goal is simple - to provide exceptional
and unique wood for innovative people like the folks at LORAX Development.
We reclaim wood destined for landfills and burn piles. LORAX is
using our Cinnamon mix product which has incredible variation,
depth and beauty. This wood is also harder than most typical grades
says Richard McFarland, Owner of Terra Mai.
Another unique green feature, unseen to the homeowners but vital
to the health of the workers installing it, is the insulation. Most
insulation is made of fiberglass, which is irritating to the skin,
contains formaldehyde and carries a carcinogenic warning label.
Instead, 520 Clipper is insulated with Ultra Touch Natural
Cotton Fiber Insulation, which is made from natural denim
and cotton fibers that are 100% recyclable. The material, with
the look and feel of an old pair of blue jeans, contains 85% post-industrial
recycled fibers. Unlike fiberglass insulation, Ultra Touch has
no VOC outgassing concerns and contains no formaldehyde or other
UltraTouch is also a Class-A Building Product and meets the highest
ASTM testing standards for fire and smoke ratings, fungi resistance
and corrosiveness. It comes in R-Values of 13-19, and provides
excellent noise absorption.
Other green features include:
Hardie Fiber Cement Siding® Instead of using
traditional cedar or redwood siding, LORAX specified Hardie Fiber
Cement Siding. Fiber cement siding provides low maintenance, resists
rotting or cracking and it resists damage from rain, hail and
flying debris. Hardie siding is non-combustible, and has a transferable
warranty for up to 50 years.
AZEK® Cellular PVC Trim offers an unequalled
combination of uniformity, durability, and workability. A perfect
redwood replacement, this product works like wood and is impervious
to rot and insect infiltration.
High Fly Ash Concrete. The concrete foundation
and slab are of the highest fly ash content commercially available
in the San Francisco area. The mix was a special order and while
the product is more challenging to work with and takes longer
to set-up it dries stronger than a conventional mix.
4319 21st St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Fax: (415) 282-6668
The company was born out of three partners,
Pat Loughran, Joel Micucci and Mike Kerwin's desire to build a better
home, select the greenest materials available and to pursue a vision
of building the
greenest house in San Francisco. The name was inspired by the Dr.
Seuss character that “speaks for the trees, for the trees
have no tongues.”
Founded in 2001, LORAX Development specializes
in environmentally-friendly single family homes and multi-unit condominium
buildings in San Francisco.
LORAX Development has also a long time
supporter and volunteer for Rebuilding Together
San Francisco, which provides free home repair and renovation programs
for low-income, elderly and
disabled San Franciscans and nonprofit and
neighborhood facilities. Pat Loughran has been a
volunteer house captain for 12 years. Mike Kerwin
has been a volunteer skipper for 13 years for San Francisco BayKeeper,
the only on-the-water
environmental watchdog group on the San Francisco Bay. LORAX Development
has provided materials and manpower to assist in the construction
of the Scrap House as part of the 2005 Green Cities Expo in San
Francisco, an urban experiment in building a unique structure entirely
out of recycled materials.
Micucci, Loughran, and Kerwin were Contractors of Record for Home
and Garden Television's Curb Appeal 2001-2003 seasons and Contractors
Record for Home and Garden Television's Landscape Smart 2003-2004
Karin Z. de Gier, President & CEO
637 Alvarado St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Ph: (415) 595-3000
In today's hectic world, withdrawing to the tranquility of the
home is essential for sanctuary. Karin de Gier as president guides
Zwanette Design everyday by the passion to create home environments
rejuvenate people and the earth.
Zwanette Design offers quality built-in storage
solutions, kitchens, displays, architectural surface treatments
and bathroom vanities, in addition to a selection of timeless and
furnishings. As a woman-owned business that has manufactured now
for 5 years in San Francisco, Zwanette Design currently does mostly
“green” remodeling/construction projects in the Bay
Karin de Gier states that: “It is our goal this year to expand
operations so that we can exclusively
manufacture and install high-end “green” cabinets”.
“We are excited about the increase in demand by our clientele.
We believe that quality construction, innovative design, the use
materials, combined with Old World service will allow any client
the satisfaction of a successful “green” construction
or remodeling project at a
Ph: (530) 926-5050
Fax: (530) 926-5050
Wonderwater has one objective: to create a supplemental supply
of water so we will continue to have enough to drink, wash, cook,
grow, and play in. We accomplish our goal with a 3000 year old practice
- by catching, storing and using the rain.
Wonderwater designs, creates and installs Rain Catchment Systems.
Their non-profit arm, See the Rain believes that no one should ever
die of thirst or water contamination as long as water falls from
the sky. Their projects include teaching a community of farmers
in Tanzania to catch, clean and store their rain, providing 4 times
the water they currently have available to them. For more information,
Jake Tornasky, Owner
2245 Quesada Ave., San Francisco, CA 94124
Ph: (415) 933-6133
Declination is the angular distance of the sun north or south of
the earth's equator. Declination Solar is a licensed solar contractor,
based in San Francisco, CA. Declination has a wide range of experience
in the solar energy field. In the past decade we have installed,
serviced and designed a variety of solar energy
systems. The entire field of solar power can be found
in our services: Photovoltaic, Thermal and Passive. Declination
also installs radiant heating systems that work in conjunction with
solar thermal panels.
John Maniscalco/Architecture, Inc.
John Maniscalco, President
1501 Waller Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
Ph: (415) 664-9900
With projects ranging from single-family homes to large scale academic,
institutional and commercial work, the studio of John Maniscalco
Architecture produces work based on two principles - creating livable,
modern spaces, and engaging clients in the design process.
Our approach takes the particular needs, desires and personality
of each client and utilizes them to shape a unique architectural
solution. We focus on the fundamental elements of architecture -
careful consideration of space and light, and clarity of design
from concept to detailing. We introduce our clients to possibilities
through design, but their needs
and desires are entirely reflected in what we do. As
building industry professionals, we feel it is our responsibility
to utilize ecologically sound building practices as
a fundamental design principle. JM/A's work has been published in
local and national design publications, and is currently part of
the San Francisco American Institute of Architects “Small
Firms, Great Projects” exhibition.
Ph: (800) 220-9062
Full-service recycled lumber millworks dedicated to reclaiming
wood from all over the world and producing a line of high quality
Founded in 1991 with the goal of saving some trees, employing
some people and supporting their family in the timber country
of Northern California. Since then Terra Mai has reclaimed over
a million board feet of old-growth lumber and provided premium
wood for projects ranging from Patagonia retail stores to the
Baltimore Aquarium and the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers.
Rainwater Catchment System
This novel system, the first approved for use in San Francisco,
will reclaim 18,000 gallons of water that fall on the roof of
520 Clipper Street each winter and use it for gray water applications
inside and outside the home. This recycled water will be used
for heating the floors, watering the garden outside, flushing
the toilets and washing the laundry.
Recycled Denim Insulation
by Acoustical Surfaces
UltraTouch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation consists almost entirely
of natural denim and cotton fibers that are 100% recyclable are
also 100% post-industrial and free of any contaminants. UltraTouch
has no VOC out-gassing concerns and contains no formaldehyde or
other chemical irritants unlike fiberglass insulation.
Photovoltaic (Solar) Panels
by Declination Solar
Declination Solar designs and implements residential and commercial
energy systems to match client specific needs. They install Solar
Electric Systems under the California Energy Commission Emerging
Renewables Buydown Program. With recent technological advances,
solar power is now an economically competitive energy source. The
Clipper House is on the grid, so excess solar power is automatically
sold back to PG&E, providing not only whole-house power, but
a rebate at the end of the year.
Reclaimed Wood Flooring
by Terra Mai
www.terramai.com (800) 220-9062
The floors are salvaged from Southeast Asian railroad ties that
are up to one hundred years old. Their full-service recycled lumber
millworks are dedicated to reclaiming wood from all over the world
and producing a line of high quality lumber products.
Kitchen Cabinets and Bookcases
by Zwanette Design
These built-in cabinets were made with materials harvested from
responsibly managed forests and certified by the non-profit Forestry
To address indoor health issues ArmorCore plywood made with fsc-certified
wood was used, as well as Medite II which is an MDF board produced
from waste wood fiber that is a by-product of wood processing and
lumber milling operations. Both products do not contain added formaldehyde
which can cause severe headaches and migraines.
www.richlite.com (888) 383-5533
Richlite® is made primarily of paper purchased from responsibly
managed forests throughout North America. The paper is treated with
resin then pressed and baked to create solid sheets. As a kitchen
counter it is beautiful, durable, stain, heat and scratch resistant,
and sanitary. This material has been used for decades by the aerospace
industry for tooling, the marine industry for fiberglass reinforcement
and the action sports industry for outdoor skate ramp surfaces.
Fiber Cement Siding
by James Hardie
The fiber cement exterior siding that was used in this project is
low maintenance and extremely durable without sacrificing the character
of wood. Fiber cement siding incorporates Portland cement, ground
sand, additives and water to make a durable, attractive, weather
and fire resistant siding that has a 50 year warranty.
www.azek.com (877) 275-2935
AZEK® Trimboards is a wood replacement product. It offers an
exterior trimboard that is a combination of Uniformity, Durability,
Workability, and Beauty, with the look, feel and sound of clear,
premium lumber. AZEK is the leading brand of cellular pvc trimboards.
Fly Ash Concrete Foundation
by Lorax Development
Fly ash is a by-product of coal combustion in power plants, the
disposal of which is a growing problem. Lorax specified up to 40%
fly ash by volume to the concrete mix, making a stronger, more durable
TREX Decking and Fence Boards
by Trex Company, Inc.
www.trex.com (800) 289-8739
Trex Company is the nation's largest manufacturer of composite decking,
fencing and railing products that are made from a combination of
reclaimed wood and plastic. The plastic shields the wood from moisture
and insect damage, so there's no rotting or splintering. The wood
protects the plastic from UV damage and gives the deck and fencing
a solid, natural feel. Trex products offer design flexibility with
fewer ongoing maintenance requirements.
Radiant Floor Heating
by Declination Solar
Radiant heating is a highly efficient and comfortable solution
for heating a home or business. Solar thermal panels are used
to provide all the heat at 520 Clipper Street. Tubing is imbedded
in floor slabs and integrated into the sub floors. Recycled water
is heated by the solar panels on the roof and pumped through the
tubing to heat the house. The quality of heat produced by this
radiant system is extremely comfortable and eliminates the air
quality issues with forced air systems.
The bedrooms upstairs have been carpeted with all natural hemp carpet.
The use of non-toxic vegetable dyes will make this a healthy floor
Marvin Low E Windows and Doors
www.marvin.com (888) 537-7828
High quality Marvin windows and doors with Low E coatings. These
thin, transparent coatings of silver or tin oxide permit visible
light to pass through, but they effectively reflect infrared heat
radiation back into the room. This reduces heat loss through the
windows. Additionally ultraviolet transmission is greatly reduced.
Benjamin Moore Low VOC Paints and Caulks
Eco Spec® Interior Latex Eggshell
A low odor, low VOC, 100% acrylic latex eggshell enamel that provides
high hiding, excellent touch up, and quick return to service.
Its resulting film combines the beauty of a flat finish with the
washability of a semi-gloss finish.
Developer and General Contractor:
KLM Builders, Inc.
4319 21st Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
Ph: (415) 264-4428
1501 Waller Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
Ph: (415) 664-9900 X201
Bank of Marin
9 Commercial Blvd. Novato CA 94949
Ph: (415) 884-4596
Brown & Company Real Estate
775 Monterey Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94127
Ph: (415) 334-0100