After reading about blogs for the past five years, I guess this is my first foray jumping in.

737conserve a home being built in Venice, California follows up our efforts at project7ten, California’s first conventionally built Platinum LEED home.


737conserve is being built in partnership with companies such as General Electric, Kohler, Lennox, and others which can be checked out on our website.

I decided to follow up project7ten with another house that will draw media attention both locally and nationally like 7ten did, I am hoping to accomplish an awareness on the scale of “what If”, in regards to new home construction and its tie in to environmentalism.

737 which was started in February of 2008, hopefully will be completed in late fall of this year.

In working with my partners, particularly GE and Kohler, I decided not to subject the house to a third party verification of its green-ness, such as the LEED Program, Green Point or some of the other programs across the country.  But make no mistake about it, the house will be as environmentally advanced as anything in the country.  My take on the environmental contents and concepts in this house, are those, which resonate with me, not a third party checklist.

The house, which we’ll certainly get some flack for its size, is located in Venice, California and is about 3,300 feet above ground, with a 1,200 foot subterranean basement, and a second building which holds the garage and a work at home space above the garage.  It also features an swimmers lap pool, which will be built right against the house.

The house will feature a very tight thermal envelope, lots of very advanced thermal glass, roll down mechanical shades, which will block the ultra-violet heat of the sun in the summer and allow it to heat the house in the winter, incredibly high efficient heating and cooling systems, EnergyStar Appliances throughout, and we’ll be introducing EPA’s Water Sense program in partnership with Kohler to address  water conservation issues.

I’m a firm believer that based on the easy access to cheap water, people in this country are missing and ignoring a huge issue, which is water conservation and the fact that we’re running out of usable water, not just here, but certainly throughout the world.

The house will feature a ton of smart technology that we’re working on with General Electric’s Ecomagination for Homes, 737 is kind of a prototype, an introduction to that program.  The heating and cooling system, energy management, the use of 6.2 kilowatts of solar energy on top of the roof, and managing the house’s power usage, in an attempt to make the house  100% dependent on the solar power generated, in it’s own contained renewable power sources.

Even the pool, which will be open to my friends, is being built in an incredibly energy efficient manner.  Sure I can drive a couple miles over to a municipal pool, but I don’t believe indulgences and rewards for hard work need to be sacrificed if addressed intelligently.

The pool features a 95% efficiency water heater, which will only be used when the water solar panels, which are placed on top of the garage, need a boost.  The pool’s variable speed pump, will be powered by the solar panels, the water to fill the pool will come from a natural underground stream, which we had to contend with when we were building the underground portion of the house.  That same water will also be pumped up to feed the drip lines when the draught tolerant landscaping is installed.

How cool is that, we can actually pull water that basically the basement sits in, on the top of the ground to supply the occasional irrigation that the plants are going to need.  The excess water will fall right back down into that underground stream, and our net usage should be very close to zero.

One last thing for this lengthy and initial entry, whenever a party puts himself in the public for this type of project, they make themselves a target for those who wish to direct all the negative comments about how lack of tree hugger-ness this type of project is.  As an example, I get comments asking why I didn’t just fix up the old house as the thought goes, it would have required less energy, less outside resources to be brought to the site.

The answer:  the old house, which we dismantled properly and recycled as possible, was a 700 foot structure, that had been condemned, windows broken, totally termite infested, the slab it was sitting on was cracked and broken, plumbing pipes old and not suitable for anything except for being taken to a recycler.  There was nothing to salvage, it’s just that simple.  Nor would I have omitted to rehab that structure taking into consideration the crazy land prices here in Southern California if there was some sort of feasible  way to somehow have saved that structure.

Instead I’ve chosen to build a house, admittedly large for the size lot, but in keeping with the newer homes that are being built in Venice, California, using high end but durable materials, and doing so in an intellectual and respective manner.  We’re looking to build a modern, but classic home, filled with materials that require little maintenance, and certainly if we do it right, in a style that will be looked upon favorably many years from now.  We are building a home that will integrate home systems that will make this house a kind of living and breathing home that will adjust to the climate outside of its walls, in a way to become less dependent on the heating and cooling system that we installed.  The heating and cooling system, the appliances, sound and security systems, the pool, will all be powered by the solar panels installed on the home.  The house will have water conservation features with every element having anything to do with water usage, it will actually use less water than a home built 10 years ago that is a quarter of it’s size.  Everything that addresses energy and water conservation is being addressed in the most advanced, intellectual way available under today’s technological limitations.

Along with the technological advancements, this house will be completely toxicn free, from the cleaning goods brought in to maintain it, to the materials that are being used during its rough construction phase to glue things together, to the paints on the walls, to the finish that will be on the floors.

So that’s the idea behind 737conserve, check out the website, check out the updates, write me back with your comments and questions, tell me what a jerk I am for building such a luxuriously large house, ask me how we are accomplishing certain standards and ask for my resources.  I look forward to the ride.

Tom Schey

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