Earth Day 2022: Sustainable Residential Architecture in Los Angeles

Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles hit 90 on March 28, 2022. Water levels in the LA reservoirs are well below their average fill levels and the effects of climate change grow increasingly severe  around the globe. This year’s Earth Day feels all the more relevant. It arrives on Friday, April 22.

In the U.S., Los Angeles is known for being a leader in sustainable design and construction. We believe single-family residential homes can push sustainable design in Los Angeles even further.

Earth Day 2022: Sustainable Residential Architecture in Los Angeles

Did you know that only 10% of the energy consumption of a residence occurs during construction? The other 90% is consumed over the entire life cycle of the building. We have focused on construction energy strategies in earlier posts. For life cycle energy conservation strategies, we focus on passive systems, energy use and water reclamation. Our designs meet and exceed Title 24 requirements, a collection of energy standards for California buildings. Its goal is to promote energy efficiency in every new home. We use solar panels, overhangs and double pane windows, efficient heating systems and extra insulation.

This is a good time to look at how Tim Barber Architects work for more efficient and sustainable buildings. Here are some sustainable technologies we are applying to our current designs for 2022:

  • New Cool Roofs: We specify the best roofing materials that reduce temperature penetration by as much as 25%. This can make a huge difference in how hard your home works to keep temperatures down.
  • All lights use LED technology and all appliances are Energy Star rated, actually improving power, space use and performance. Well-placed solar power systems and batteries provide all the power needed for truly off-grid sustainable living with grid-power backup. Electric car chargers are now essential in our homes.
  • Low flow showerheads can save as much as 1,460 gallons per year per family member. Low flow faucets save up to 700 gallons per year per faucet… with no sacrifice in water pressure.
  • VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) HVAC systems are super efficient zoned home heating and cooling systems.
  • We incorporate effective greywater systems that are super efficient and highly needed to reuse and conserve water on-site, supporting beautiful landscaping with little maintenance.
  • Using safe and healthy finishes, sealants and paints reduces potentially life-threatening illnesses. Healthier habitats provide occupant satisfaction, and are valuable investments, with benefits including higher resale value and increasingly lucrative lease contracts.
  • Durability is essential for sustainable homes. At Tim Barber Architects, we design homes to last, with materials that require little maintenance and careful craftsmanship that will survive time and the elements.

The need is clear. The technology is available and affordable. A survey recently found that an overwhelming 85% of respondents want to live in an eco-friendly home. This tells us that the demand is high and the time is now for sustainable architecture.

Now, for some good news: LA’s greenhouse gas emissions are 24% below 1990 levels. LA has been ranked the #1 Solar City in America 6 out of the past 7 years with over 500 MW of local power installed. Los Angeles now has more electric vehicles and commercial electric vehicle chargers than any other city in America. Los Angeles is doing well on its path toward becoming a ‘Sustainable City’… but we have a lot more work to do. At Tim Barber Architects, we are working to be part of the sustainable solution.

To learn more about our approach to the homes we design, see our process.