ABC Green Home 2.0

The ABC Green Home 2.0 features landscaping plans that encourage outdoor activity and energy efficiency

Want to save huge dollars on landscape installation costs? Want to significantly reduce your water bill? Want to turn off your air conditioner, too? Then keep in mind the ABC Green Home 2.0, breaking ground this spring in Walnut, Calif.– even better, save fuel costs by ‘visiting’ it online!



Breaking ground this spring, the home showcases some of the best practices in high performance American homebuilding and will be Net Zero, as well as certified LEED Platinum. The ABC Green Home 2.0 strives to show that it is possible to build a home that is affordable, buildable and certifiable. With the first ABC Green Home, the dedication of green design and landscaping found within every component proved to add up to something very special, thanks to the genuine effort from parties involved.

The new ABC Green Home 2.0 encourages outdoor activity – thus allowing homeowners to shut their AC units off – saving power and electric cost. You laugh, but – how do you really encourage someone to use the outdoors? We landscape architects are calling this ABC concept home the ‘donut house’ – the house actually wraps itself around an outdoor ‘donut hole.’ Creating an indoor and outdoor relationship to a central courtyard, which is somewhat a mini-version of the old Spanish Missions. Add an outdoor fireplace and you have created an outdoor living room that will be protected from wind – cool in the summer and cozy in the winter, with the fire blazing.

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The home [is designed to lead its residents and guests to the back of the house, where the fully roofed California room is built for entertainment, BBQing, and is aesthetically balanced by a grand dining table] continues right out back to lead residents and guests to the fully roofed California room with entertaining BBQ and grand dining table. This structure is the social connector between several smaller romantic seating areas – thus the homeowner will have multiple options for socialization. The best way to get people outside is to provide as many different types of spaces as possible – so whichever mood they may be in – quiet, playful, or crazy – there are seating and landscaping elements to fit. This ABC Home provides six completely different social seating opportunities – so all emotions and desires are complemented.

Spending time outdoors does indeed save energy, and with pleasing features like the fully roofed California room with entertaining BBQ and the old spanishthemed central courtyard, it makes it that much easier and more enjoyable to spend time outdoors. There’s no doubt that we are living in an energy, ecology and costminded era. With energy prices rising across the nation, there has never been a better time to consume less energy and use energy wiser.

Outdoor living will help reduce electrical costs – however – this ABC Green Home goes way beyond that by introducing ‘digital planting.’ What would normally be a weedy, overgrown, and unusable slope – the rear of the property has been transformed into a translucent azure-blue landscape element that will power the entire home, including its electric vehicle.

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Solar panels can be an eyesore – sometimes destroying character, style and integrity of the architecture. But when integrated into the landscape theme and plant palette – the panels can become a clean alternative to a scrappy backyard slope. At the ABC Green Home 2.0., the panels will be set in a field of Aloe, Agave, and Senicio chalk sticks – all brilliant blue vegetation to provide a ‘frame’ and mask the solar edges. This planting ‘frame’ will blend the panels into the landscape without blocking the sun’s power.

Solar power is becoming an extremely reliable source of energy. Aside from creating more jobs and being costefficient, it’s a valuable technology that’s increasingly competitive with traditional sources of energy. Solar power’s environmental impact is minimal, it’s physical footprint is manageable and its benefits are undeniable. The best news? The ABC Green Home panels do not need water or weeding – saving water, reducing landscape maintenance costs, AND producing enough power for NET ZERO!

The desire for having a Net-Zero home is becoming increasingly more paramount. A Net Zero home produces as much energy as it uses. Net-Zero homes produce solar energy during the day, feeding excess to the grid and then use energy from the grid at night. First and foremost, remember this mantra — reduce before you produce. This means reducing your own energy use as much as possible from increasing your insulation, to super efficient appliances and everything in between.

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The project team at the ABC Green Home is striving to make the 2.0 model more sustainable and more energy-efficient. The first model (ABC Green Home 1.0), exuded efficiency and excellence. It demonstrated that a Net Zero energy home can be not only affordable (A), but easily buildable (B) and certifiable (C). The ABC Green Home 2.0 will demonstrate the same values in a multi-generational two-story home.

Moving forward with the ABC Green Home 2.0, this sustainable project will be proof that living green is easily achievable and enhances the overall quality of life. Implementing numerous sustainable building practices, the ABC Green Home 2.0 will continue the high-tech themes brought to life by the original project while continuing to maintain the principles of affordability, buildability, and third party certification. Upon completion of the ABC Green Home 2.0., the home will be donated to a combat disabled veteran, something every partner in this project is honored and proud to be a part of.

A project partner for the ABC Green Home 2.0, Urban Arena is a multi-faceted design company specializing in landscape architecture, planning, and architecture. For more than two decades, Urban Arena has defined itself as an industry “go-to” design expert and maintained a steadfast commitment to their clients’ needs and expectations. The company believes achievement comes from diversity and encourages clients to get involved in the design process. Urban Arena embraces a philosophy that “no idea is a bad idea.”

Michael Levi Schrock is Principal for Urban Arena. He may be reached at



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