Energy Framing Makes Home Net-Zero CalGreen

Originally published by: Green Home BuilderJuly 8, 2019

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The Net-Zero ABC Green Home 4.0 LUXE Project being developed on a Southern California mountain site by a consortium of designers, contractors and vendors will take the homebuilding industry a huge step forward in residential energy efficiency by incorporating a plethora of advanced systems and materials that will make the 3,900 square-foot luxury residence one of the most energy advanced homes in California.

The home was designed using Graphisoft ‘s BIM Program which was shared by the design and construction teams.

Sponsored by Newport Beach, CA–based Green Home Builder magazine under the leadership of owner and Publisher Nick Slevin, who serves as project developer, the super-efficient ABC (Affordable, Buildable, Certified) Green Home 4.0 is being built to Net-Zero, LEED Platinum standards and as such is a notable 34 percent above California’s current Title 24 CalGreen energy efficiency building code. The Craftsman styled home with distinctive mountain character is also Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rated and has been independently certified by eight separate agencies that it achieves the highest energy efficiency rating standards.

Adding to the remarkable nature of the five-bedroom home’s high energy rating is the fact that it is being built at an altitude of 6,000 feet in Crestline, which Slevin says makes it more challenging for the home’s energy systems to operate efficiently while still achieving Net-Zero energy levels. Crestline is a mountain resort town south of Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino mountains in Southern California.

Advanced framing design makes way for picture window.

This mountain environment has varying weather that can create large fluctuations in temperature from 30 degrees to 65 degrees in the same day. “This makes the house work harder to be energy efficient,” Slevin noted. “To compensate for these variations, the home’s energy efficiency systems and materials are finely tuned and well above the energy conservation standards for residential buildings.”

Superior Energy Efficiency

To achieve the high level of energy efficiency in this residential building – considerably higher than what would normally be the case with more standard energy conservation methodologies – the ABC Green Home 4.0 includes a wide range of advanced energy efficiency systems and materials. A key feature is the solar panel system that will generate 8.3 KW of power to the home, enough to offset the cost of gas, water and electricity and help achieve Net-Zero energy usage. Additionally, a state-of-the- art storage battery backup system will store excess electricity to power the home during extended period of cloudiness or in the event of a blackout.

Additionally, Slevin pointed out that the concrete roof tiles are treated with a smog eating chemical that consumes carbon dioxide, a major ingredient in greenhouse gas.

A mechanical room serves as the home’s energy monitoring and control center and houses the energy efficient HVAC equipment, tankless water heater, a combi boiler, the energy recovery ventilation system, and the room is also a workshop.

There are four Wi-Fi hubs, providing Alexa control and energy monitoring for all devices and appliances, as well as lighting, security, entertainment, doors, windows and gates.

Structural Integrity

Slevin pointed out that a key component of the home’s energy efficient profile is the structure itself. “We utilize an advanced framing system,” he explained. “This is a lesson from passive house design technology that pre-dates solar and which relies on natural ventilation lines, natural lighting and other elements of good, natural design to complement solid engineering principles.”

For maximum shielding against the mountain’s outdoor elements, the home features an advanced framing design that uses two-by-six studs, 24 inches on center, that provides a wider, deeper stud bay for more insulation. The construction team is the able to add two layers of one-inch thick, rigid foam insulation to the exterior of the building under the siding to keep air from passing in out or through the building. “The home’s exterior walls are nine inches thick,” Slevin said. “The air does not pass through the walls. Consequently, the house sips energy. This means the homeowner does not have to spend much for heating or cooling.”

The ABC Green Home project utilizes an advanced framing design which facilitates a higher HERS rating.

More than 160 yards of 3,500 PSI concrete were poured for the foundations and basement walls, staircases, sidewalks and forecourt. The framing crews installed additional strapping and over-engineered the framing to secure the building. Additionally, the LP FlameBlock OSB has a layer of magnesium oxide on the exterior to create a longer burn value to better protect the home from fire.

Green Home Builder Magazine will hold a grand opening for the ABC Green Home 4.0 in mid-June. The one-of-a-kind home will be used to educate and train builders, students, and industry groups about sustainable living and how to achieve Net Zero now. The home is expected to serve as a template for future housing.

Christine Rombouts is the former Editor for Green Home Builder and is the Publicist for the ABC Green Home Project. For more information, please visit

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