We used drought tolerant plants, drip irrigation and permeable surfaces for this design. In California, it is important to use plants that do not require a lot of water. This California grass is watered minimally with a drip system. Rain water that lands on the site stays on site with permeable surfaces using pebbles instead of pavers.


Re-use of materials on site:

The energy that brought the wood to the site was not wasted when this deck was torn down, nor was the wood taken to the landfill. We re-finished and used the wood again to build this new deck. Discarded debris from jobsites should be recycled as much as possible to avoid going to the landfill. Its even better if materials can be re-used on site. Additionally, if using new material with recycled content, it is important to use materials with a high post-consumer recycled content.

Site Planning and Solar Orientation:

Good design requires proper solar orientation of the building to take advantage of the heat of the sun for passive solar heating. The design of overhangs to shade the windows and keep the building cool is also necessary in California. How much energy a building consumes is directly related to location, size and type of windows, insulation of walls and roof. Energy consumption can be reduced by how a building sits on its site and the design of its envelope.

Renewable Energy:

Active solar systems harness energy from the sun to generate electricity and heat water. Photovoltaics can be used for shading and also come as integrated building products; They don’t have to be an unattractive array of panels on the roof.


Water Conservation:

Water can be saved in several ways. We always specify water saving plumbing fixtures. When water flows from a tap while you wait for it to heat up, it can be captured and re-used. Rainwater can be collected and stored in containers and used for irrigation and flushing toilets.

Water that flows down the drain from showers and sinks is called greywater. It can be used for irrigation with very simple alterations to the plumbing system. Just using water from a clothes washer is enough to water a small yard. If this water is treated, it can be used for a drip irrigation system and for flushing toilets.

Renovating an existing building:

The re-use of a house minimizes the damage to the surrounding site, keeps debris out of the landfill and does not require the installation of all new services to untouched land. Thoughtful design is green design. Green design is not about products, is is about having a wholistic integrated approach design problems. An example would be re-using a house, adding natural light, energy saving fixtures and insulation, then landscaping with native plants that require little water.


Hart Wright Architects
340 Potrero Ave
San Francisco, CA 94103
tel: (415) 503-7071