The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon has concluded, yet the one energy efficient house still standing at the Orange County Great Park is Southern California Edison (SCE)’s ABC Green Home.

Granted, it may not have attracted the volume of visitors to the prototype homes showcased in the decathlon competition, however, the three-bedroom, two-bath, eco-friendly Craftsman-style house, created by SCE and Green Homebuilder Magazine in 2012, is a shining example of energy efficiency, innovation and modern designs at its best.

“The ABC Green Home generates as much energy as it uses over the course of a year,” said John Morton, program manager of Residential Incentive and New Construction Programs for SCE. “It has residential upgrades that are commercially available to consumers.”

The vision of the ABC Green Home design team was to create an Affordable, Buildable, and Certifiable home: affordable to the widest range of home buyers possible, buildable anywhere in the United States, and certifiable by any rating organization.

Further testament of the ABC (Affordable, Buildable and Certified) Green Home’s wow factor is the first place award it earned as Innovative House of the Year at the recent SOCAL Awards, presented by The Greater Sales & Marketing Council and Building Industry Association of Southern California.

“This is a great tribute and well deserved recognition of us being able to show what homebuilders can do in the world of energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Morton, who attended the awards ceremony with four of the high school students and one instructor who helped build the house in 2012.

Situated at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, the 1,695 square foot house offers visitors a sneak peek at what’s possible in net zero energy homebuilding now. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) provide clean, efficient lighting throughout the residence; solar panels on the roof generate ample heat; and high tech circuits are installed to monitor the home’s energy efficient performance over the next two years to determine exactly how zero energy works at the home.

There’s even a vertical vegetable garden in the “backyard” where tomatoes, lettuce, kale and oregano thrive sans dirt.

Pretty impressive for a house built in only 83 days.

“People are very surprised that we built a compact home that when you walk in, it feels much bigger than the square footage, and at the level of energy features installed in the home and keep it at a competitive cost,” said Morton.

As the homebuilding community continues to adjust to increased government standards and regulations, Morton said, it is coming around and embracing the concept of retooling their businesses to meet the needs of new homebuyers.

That comes as good news to consumers and homeowners curious about what’s possible in net zero energy homebuilding as the state of California seeks to make net zero energy homes mandatory for all new home construction by 2020.

For now, Morton has added a new home furnishing accent to the ABC Green Home — the first prize in innovation trophy. “It will be on my desk next week,” he said. 

It’s the first of two big win-wins for the house. 

In collaboration with Habitat for Humanity, plans are to replicate an exact model of the ABC Green Home to provide a residence for the family of a disabled veteran in 2014.

The ABC Green Home is open for self-guided tours Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-4:40 p.m. at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. Virtual tours of the house can be taken online at