Green Materials + Systems

With all projects we work on, we use sustainable principles when designing, including:

thoughtful design

designing to use less
In our practice at Michelle Kaufmann Studio, “thoughtful design” means designing to use less, collaborating with the outdoors, using techonology to improve quality while reducing quantity, and designing for longevity, flexibility and a joyful living environment. Homes should be built to human scale, using only what is needed, but remaining open and airy. High ceilings, warm materials, clean lines and abundant light and breezes make our homes feel even more spacious. Home automation technology can enable homeowners to control heat, window coverings, lighting, security sensors and cameras, as well as track electricity, gas and water consumption in real time.

material efficiency

materials that are renewable and recyclable
As we help our clients choose materials that are best for their projects, we recommend materials that are renewable and recyclable, as well as materials that are timeless and long-lasting. We use fsc certified woods, reclaimed lumber, tiles and countertops made of recycled content, and look to Cradle-to-Cradle products as beautiful yet resource efficient, low impact options.
We also utilize modular and other off-site systems to build faster, cleaner, with 50% to 75% less waste than standard construction.

energy conservation

with the goal of achieving net-zero
High tech. Low impact. Throughout our homes we design to use minimal energy. We design to require less energy through high-performance insulation and mechanical systems, dual and triple pane glass, proper sunshading systems and energy star appliances. We also design for alternative energy systems such as solar and wind to make homes that are Net-Zero Energy, creating all the energy that they use.


water efficiency

reducing water consumption and recycling water for irrigation
Water is the Earth’s most precious resource, yet in traditional homes, more than one-quarter of drinking water is used to flush the toilets. Our hmes feature an array of water-efficient technologies and appliances, such as low-flow shower heads, dual flush toilets, rain water catchment systems, gray water systems, and xeriscaping landscaping. We also can implement permeable pavers and green roof systems to help reduce storm water run-off.


healthy spaces

materials that are low and no-VOCs and incorporating air filtration systems
Healthy homes are happy homes. We seek to create healthy environments by using non-toxic materials, no and low VOC paints, air filtration and purification systems, spray-in foam insulations (which are more effective than fiberglass batting and minimizes mold). A healthy design continues outside the home with water recycling systems to hydrate plants, native plants that are better adapted to climate conditions and green roofs that help reduce carbon emissions.


systems built

utilizing technology to build in a smarter, more efficient way that reduces waste and time while increasing predictability
Standard construction can be incredibly inefficient and wasteful. However, by utilizing systems-built techniques, we are able to reduce waste by 50 to 75%, while at the same time increasing predictability and shortening the construction schedule and carrying costs.

green certifications

We design homes, communities and resorts to achieve a variety of green rating certifications including:
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design which is the certification by the US Green Building Council)
Build it Green (for projects in California)
NAHB Green Building Standard (certified by the National Association of Home Builders)
Energy Star
Your local jurisdiction green rating program
We will work with you to help choose the best rating system for your project and the exact rating level will be determined based on your project goals. Part of the rating level is also based on the site design.

There are a variety of sustainable materials, methods and system options available for your home.