La Jolla Shores home earns ‘green’ award

By Ashley Mackin

A home in La Jolla Shores recently earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum status, the third private residence in La Jolla to do so. On Dec. 5, Hill Construction presented homeowners Jack and Jill Noreen with a plaque designating their home as meeting the highest rating given by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We wanted to do something ecologically responsible. What that means is we find a way to build a home that uses less energy and (uses) recycled components of the home that was here,” Jack Noreen said.

“In the process of selecting our team to design this beautiful home, we spent a tremendous amount of time looking for the right team. It started with driving through La Jolla and finding a home that we became so intrigued by that we had to find out who designed it.”

They eventually decided on Hill Construction, the same firm retrofitting the La Jolla Historical Society’s Wisteria Cottage, and architect David Keitel.

Some of the energy (and water and money) saving features of the home include wide, white oak planks that help absorb heat, and ceiling vents that can be opened to release heat, eliminating the need for heating and air conditioning. There are also photovoltaic panels on the roof that contribute 60 percent of the energy to the house. Jack Noreen said in the year they have lived in the 2,300-square-foot home, their highest energy bill was $36. All the water fixtures are low flow, and the toilets have two flow options, depending on waste amount. Ways to make a home more energy efficient can be found at

All these features, despite the upfront cost, are money savers, Hill Construction designer Joseph Diasparra said. “People always ask me, ‘how much more does it cost?’ ” he said. “There is an initial slight upcharge for building a LEED home, but there are so many efficiencies implemented, it takes what we’re doing and makes it a no-brainer.” He said the homeowners would receive tax credits and rebates for their efforts.

In the retrofitting of Wisteria Cottage, Hill Construction is also using energy-efficient measures. Workers will install LED-lights and an HVAC system that will keep the Cottage within three degrees of 72, and within 55 percent humidity, plus or minus two points. In addition, these measures will bring the cottage to museum quality, which will allow for more exhibits.