A green patio by interior designer Lori Dennis

  A prefabricated LivingHomes house in Santa Monica

When it comes to green, the environment has surpassed money and envy—and, for that matter, envy over money—as the preeminent representation of that color in modern society. Kermit the Frog, the Boston Celtics and guacamole are mere afterthoughts in the discussion.

One reason green is picking up steam in this regard is because it is rapidly encompassing the areas of building, architecture and interior design. Much like the grass and leaves that remind us of continuous growth and change, the structures we live in are being rethought in an effort to make them more compatible with the planet they sit on.

New Eco Advancements
As another Earth Day dawns—the annual observation, dedication and celebration of all things green around the globe—architects, builders and interior designers who specialize in environmentally conscious work are immersing themselves in the never-ending wave of new advances and cutting-edge techniques in their fields.

“One of the most notable differences in recent years involves the money side of green,” says Barbara Bestor. She began Bestor Architecture in 1995 and built her first house out of locally milled timber in 1998. Among her recent credits are Pitfire Artisan Pizza in Culver City, an adaptive reuse of an old building that also involved creating new menus and packaging with recycled materials; and a luxury retreat for a private client in Santa Barbara that is solar-powered, with radiant heat and self-insulating concrete walls. “Almost everything these days is a combination of economic and altruistic,” she says.

In the area of materials, the green-minded architect, builder and interior designer are discovering more and more options. One specific change is energyefficient LED lighting. “It’s coming down radically in price and increasing the amount of light it produces,” says Bestor, adding that local building codes are making the installation of LED lighting more common.

Steve Glenn, who owns Santa Monica-based LivingHomes, develops modern, sustainably designed prefabricated homes. He agrees many of the most significant developments in his business involve costs being reduced. “A lot more companies are introducing sustainable home products, and the pricing is coming down,” says Glenn. “Also, big manufacturers are getting into it. You have places like The Home Depot selling a full range of sustainable materials. The company made a decision to carry those products—that ramps up production and brings the cost down.”

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