Optimum Performance Home®

Sea Ranch, CA. _  LEED® For Homes Selects The Optimum Performance Home™ At The Sea Ranch, California As A Custom Home In The New Pilot Project The Optimum Performance Home™ will incorporate the very latest in technologically advanced materials and techniques to ensure minimal impact on the environment while delivering unprecedented living standards.

In today's environmentally challenged times it’s encouraging to see a nationwide design template for sustainable and ecologically-sound home building. LEED For Homes is for anyone planning, or looking for a new home, but concerned with long term energy efficiency; low, natural resource consumption; and the harmonization of the living space with its surroundings. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program has been developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and provides a “green” rating checklist for commercial, residentiall, and neighborhood developments.

“Green homes” have often been perceived as funky, hippie-crunchy granola-type structures, an image acquired during the era of early passive solar design and reinforced, to some extent, by the “natural building” movement, which includes cob (mass adobe) cottages and straw-bale homes. However, this image is a narrow stereotype that doesn’t begin to capture the scope or potential of green home-building.

Zero-energy consumption, minimal impact on the environment,
and enhanced lifespan living.

The home's 3,200 square feet of living space (4,500 square feet including garages, covered walkways, courtyard, and decks) is arranged in a three-building compound using a well-sealed, well-insulated, super-tight building envelope that reduces temperature fluctuations and enhances overall energy efficiency. The home is designed with differing spatial experiences throughout to encourage exploration. The home will display innovative interior design and be furnished in a contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright style appropriate to its dimensions. The home design connects the indoors and the outdoors with covered walkways, a courtyard, decks, and a garden to expand livable space, without requiring heating or air-conditioning. There is abundant and excellent use of natural light and natural indigenous landscaping.

The main floor living area is designed to accommodate the capabilities of all occupants without any challenging physical barriers, even for the elderly and disabled. The home features a ground-level, open plan design for the living room, dining room, master bedroom suite, and spacious kitchen with solarium, exhibition cook tops, and home management system. Whole house wired and wireless Internet access as well as whole house audio and video distribution are integral to the electronic lifestyle features.

The second building in the compound accommodates a large state-of-the-art Optimum Performance Home Theatre® with integrated rear-screen projection room and a home office.

The third building includes a two-car and boat garage, workshop, main level guest bathroom, and laundry room. The second level of this building has two guest bedrooms, a bathroom, and a dedicated study/library/surround music room.

“Ultimate Home Design” Concept

The Sea Ranch Optimum Performance Home embraces the “Ultimate Home Design” concept, which recognizes, respects, values, and attempts to accommodate the broadest possible spectrum of human abilities, regardless of age, ability, or physical stature, in the ergonomic design of products and environments that are easier to use and more aesthetically appealing, while optimally integrating sustainable green building practices and minimizing the over-all impact on the natural environment.

The design and integration of the home supports a more inclusive user-based design because it takes into account the abilities and needs of the widest range of people. The human-centered design expresses a more holistic view of lifespan and people's changing abilities throughout their lives. While there are two guest bedrooms and a study/library/surround music room on a second level, the main occupant living area––home theatre and office, master bedroom suite, laundry room, workshop, and garages––are all located at ground level with accessible provisions aesthetically disguised in the architecture with no step or bump barriers to inhibit maneuverability.

Entering the three-building compound through the entry vestibule is on-grade with no access barriers or steps from the outside making the home fully “visitable.” This universally-designed home will accommodate family members at all stages of life, from infants to grandparents, all of whom benefit from a home that imposes fewer restrictions on daily activities and maximizes independence and safety.

The method of green building used in the home incorporates environmental considerations into every phase of the home building process. That means that during the design, construction and operation of the home, energy and water efficiency, lot development, resource efficient building design and materials, indoor environmental quality, homeowner maintenance, and the home's overall impact on the environment are all taken into account. The home features extensive green building techniques, which include water efficiency through grey water recycling and rainwater harvesting; using renewable or recycled-content building materials; preserving natural indigenous vegetation; conserving natural resources; improving indoor air quality and reducing pollution; lighting naturally; reducing home maintenance and enhancing durability; and recycling construction and demolition waste. Even the heating system for the home is energy-efficient. A radiant floor heating system turns the entire floor into a primary, low-temperature heat source that delivers radiant energy evenly across each room to its occupants and surrounding objects, but not the ambient air, resulting in a significantly healthier interior environment. Integrated with the radiant heating system are PEX plumbing and fire sprinkler systems. The smoke alarm and fire sprinkler systems are integrated into the home's electronic control of lighting and sound to optimize inhabitant safety.

Zero Energy Home

The home is designed as a “Zero Energy Home” (ZED), based on the Solar Buildings Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. The energy-saving home features a 5.7-kilowatt solar electric system with photovoltaic (PV) panels integrated into the roof.

Inverters convert the DC power into AC power. Hot water is provided by solar collectors on the roof, boosted when needed by efficient, tankless water heaters. The home is designed to cut its energy use with efficiency, and then meet the remaining needs with renewable energy sources. Net metering allows the electric meter to spin backward and forward, meaning that at times the home pulls (and pays for) power from the grid and at others it produces more energy than it needs, with the excess sold to the electric company, resulting in an annual net-zero energy cost. It is expected that the home will generate more electricity than it uses. The system also is designed to continue functioning even during blackouts.


Using the LEED for Homes rating system as a template, the Optimum Performance Home is positioned to serve as an exemplary prototype to encourage architects, designers, builders, and developers to adopt similar design principles. Such homes as this embrace a new dynamic philosophy of home design that meets the needs of people of all ages and all abilities while adopting building practices that promote independent living and environmental and enhanced lifestyle sustainability.

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