In addition to the sustainable green features added to the building site and grounds, the builders of Casa Big Sur incorporated several key features into the architecture and interior design to help offset impact to the environment. These features were added to help conserve energy, minimize waste water, create a healthier indoor living experience and to lower the impact to the environment with locally produced materials.
These sustainable architectural features were first achieved by the proper site orientation of Casa Big Sur into the existing landform to not only allow for breathtaking panoramic views but to capture the cool air coming down the mountain at night and the daily light breezes coming up off the ocean during the day. By opening the fully retractable wood and glass windows and doors, the house opens itself up to allow for this naturally cooling fresh air while helping to create a seamless transition of indoor and outdoor living spaces to make the beautiful interior spaces and the lush landscaped grounds feel as one.
Energy savings within Casa Big Sur is achieved through the use of energy efficient CFL lighting coupled with the ample natural light provided by the multitude of wood and glass doors and windows. Energy Star rated appliances help to reduce energy use as well and owners and guests are encouraged to take part in the energy savings by being mindful of their energy usage during peak times.
The natural and fresh well water is conserved at Casa Big Sur with low flow toilets and water efficient kitchen and bathroom fixtures that help reduce excess wastewater. Any wastewater that is created is then treated onsite by the bio-remediation fields to keep the aquifers charged and to minimize impact to the delicate streams, rivers and ocean.
The indoor air quality was an important consideration at Casa Big Sur and the decision was made to utilize beautiful tile and natural stone flooring in lieu of carpeting to both minimize off gassing and the inevitable damp conditions that living in a tropical environment would produce. Low VOC paints were used throughout the interior as well to keep the interior air fresh and chemical free during times when the doors and windows were closed and the central air conditioning was put into use.
Another consideration of the builders of Casa Big Sur was to utilize as many local materials as possible to reduce the use of fossil fuels during transportation and to keep money within the local community. Several of these local materials such as the teak tongue and grove ceiling, the ornately carved teak wooden handrails, the custom fabricated cedro cabinetry and the overhead structural wood beams are made with local reforested wood which in addition to being locally produced, helps to contribute to the reduction of deforestation.