You know how they say charity begins at home? For the founder of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), “green” begins at home as well. David Gottfried, founder of USGBC and the World Green Building Council (WGBC) and CEO of Regenerative Ventures has completed the highest-scoring green home renovation since the LEED® for Homes Green Building Rating System™ launched in January.

He and his family moved into the LEED Platinum home in Oakland, CA, in mid-August. The home received 106.5 points out of a total 136 possible under the LEED for Homes certification program. Platinum certification is awarded to homes that earn 80 points or more.

The 1,500-square-foot home in the Oakland neighborhood of Rockridge is half as large as the Gottfrieds’ previous home in the Berkeley Hills. Gottfried specifically wanted the home to be small to reduce the home’s footprint and show that a family of four can live happily in a smaller space, as humans historically have.

“We hoped to showcase how to green an old historic home and still achieve LEED Platinum, as well as downsize 50% for a family of four,” David Gottfried said.

The restored 1915 craftsman bungalow further reduces its impact on the environment because, as a restoration, it enables reuse of many materials and doesn’t eliminate open space on a previously home-free site.

Gottfried works in a regenerative “Lifepod” in the backyard of the home, cutting out the air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with a commute to the office.


The house is in an extremely walkable neighborhood, with most amenities available to the family without their needing to drive. The home is designed to be a net-zero energy home, meaning that with its solar photovoltaic power generation and its solar- and hydronic-powered water-heating systems, the home strives to produce all the energy it needs to operate without drawing from the power grid.

Rainwater is captured and diverted for use in one of the home’s toilets, reducing reliance on potable water supplies. “Graywater” – used water from the home’s two showers, bathtub and two sinks – is used to water the landscaping. And the family plans to grow its own vegetables.

And the home manages to conserve resources without scrimping on style. Some 27 colors make up the décor, including beautiful recycled abalone tile. And the renovation process engaged the neighborhood, teaching the community about the ways a green home can be beautiful and livable.

The renovation was funded in part by a green construction loan from New Resource Bank and an interest rate break for its use of solar power and LEED.

Learn more about the Gottfrieds’ home at In addition, visit Planet Green to view David Gottfried’s video blog, documenting the renovation process and the home’s green features.