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Stuart Cooley is Professor of Renewable Energies at Santa Monica College and the lead faculty of the Sustainable Technologies Program, where he teaches courses in solar energy and storage, energy efficiency, lighting, and sustainability. 

Meanwhile, he and his wife Dede are about to start a green remodel process of their own home!  While targeting for net zero, Dede was influenced by watching HGTV and wanted a more modern home.  They started out with using an app to simulate the home design, then hired an architect, Kyle Moss, whom Stuart met on a green home tour in Santa Monica. 

Some of the green features to be included are:  Changing the hip roof to gable roof to allow more surface area for the PVs;  Installing the clear story window to allow natural ventilation and daylighting; LED lighting;  and most importantly the more efficient HVAC systems such as “heat recovery ventilation.”  And on the water-use end, they will install rain barrels to retain the rain water and use for irrigation of their drought tolerant, mostly native plants landscape.

The higher than expected bids from contractors wasn’t because of the desire to be green, but rahter about the concern for the time it takes for permit and to build according to the green design.  The cities’ permit offices need to catch up with new and different technologies and be able to answer questions quickly.  Contractors and architects also need to become familiar with those newer and slightly different systems such as “quality insulation installation” requiring installation be place with no more gap than a half inch. 

If you’re thinking about green rebuild, just start the process!

Stuart can be reached at Santa Monica College, Sustainable Technologies Program:  smc.edu/stp.