Press Coverage

Green Idea House and Green Idea City Featured in International Innovation School Book
by Robert Fortunato on May 8th, 2012 One Comment

Robert is a guest lecturer at the international social and business innovation school KaosPilot.  While finishing up an all-day class during his most recent series of lectures in Aarhus Denmark, the Director of the school asked him if he would write a piece for the school’s 20th anniversary book.  Robert said “sure, when do you need it?”  Christer said “Can you have it to me tomorrow?”  Reliving his college days, Robert pulled an all-nighter and delivered the piece (below) for the publication deadline.  Robert is honored to be able to in the presence of all his esteemed colleagues in the book.

Given the recent oil company settlement, it will be interesting to see how we can bring forward the carbon neutral future envisioned in the piece…

How Aarhus Inspired Our House (The Green Idea House)

It is an honor and a joy to come toAarhusto be one of the Pillars of the curriculum for the international innovation school, Kaos Pilot.  To know that the students will be taking the leadership and strategy work we do together and using it to make the world a better place is personally gratifying.

Watching the students change the world also inspired me to take what I preach and fully implement it on a project for which I have great passion.  The project is the Green Idea House (, a net zero energy, zero carbon retrofit of our existing family house.  The house is designed to harvest from the environment more energy than it uses on an operational basis and be responsive to the environment in terms of water, waste and toxicity as well.

The project is being built with standard construction techniques and off the shelf technologies that are compatibly priced with similar homes in our area.  We hope that this makes it a replicable model.

As a result of our vision for the project, Southern California Edison has chosen it as the cornerstone case study of their net zero energy program.

The Power of Now

Why should our family undertake a project like this now?  Being trained as an economist, not an environmentalist, what first caught my attention was California’s Public Utilities Commission guidelines that ALL new residential buildings will be net zero energy by 2020 and ALL commercial buildings by 2030!  Great vision, but how would that ever be achieved?

Similarly, about 15 years ago California’s Zero Vehicle Emissions program had an aggressive goal to make 10% of the vehicle fleet in the state zero emissions.  They had 12 years to do it and in the 11th year the car manufacturers claimed they did not have the technology to do it.  This, of course, was untrue (see: who Killed the Electric Car).  If they had stayed the course those car manufacturers would have owned the burgeoning electric car industry.

We want to make sure that the same thing does not happen to the net zero energy building initiative – that in 2019 builders claim that we do not have the technology to build net zero energy structures.  The only way to do that is to build the case study for it now.

Wouldn’t building net zero energy case study houses be better left to developers, architects, contractors or manufacturers?  Maybe, but we don’t see it happening.  Despite the abundance of sunshine in southernCalifornia, we see few stepping up to the net zero challenge.  Also, we believe we can tell a more unbiased story – a story more families can relate to and avoid the conflicts that are inherent with the other trades.

Inspiration for the Perspiration

KP students and faculty know of my interest in all things sustainable.  Therefore, every time I come to visit they take me on field trips on my time off from lecturing.  These trips have included a visit to the Velux “Home for Life” case study house with Philip Hahn Petersen, Lukas Wassberg’s house in the Eco Village of Friland and most recently, a trip with Director of Studies, Simon Cavanaugh and students Tobias Mikkel Kjærside and Jakob Buchbjerg to Samso Island, an island that makes more energy than it uses and attracts thousands of visitors a year as result of its carbon neutral brand.  They were all incredibly inspirational and the trip toSamsoIslandclearly demonstrated what can be done when a community builds consensus around a great, sustainable idea.

FromAarhusto Our House

How canSamsoIsland’s model for sustainability along with KP ingenuity and creativity be of assistance to a small beach community inSouthern California?

Hermosa Beach, the home of the Green idea house and our residence for 16 years is being hit with a law suit for $700 million from an oil company that is claiming breech of contract when citizens opposed oil drilling in their residential neighborhood for safety reasons.  The city’s annual budget is only $25 million, so any major judgment against it would throw our home town into bankruptcy.

Zero the Hero

Hermosa Beachis only a mile in diameter with no heavy industry.  Would it be possible to useSamsoIslandas the model of what may be possible for a Carbon Neutral Hermosa Beach?  Could the tax credits and carbon credits spun off this type of project be used to settle a 12 year legal fight and help the environment and the economy at the same time?

If anyone could make this impossibility possible, it would be the Kaos Pilots.  We look forward to exploring the opportunity…

Robert Fortunato, President of ForStrategy Consulting Inc. (, is retrofitting his family’s home into a net zero energy, zero carbon case study ( and is working on a Carbon Neutral Hermosa Beach (


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One Response to “Green Idea House and Green Idea City Featured in International Innovation School Book”

  1. […] contemplated in an earlier post, a carbon neutralHermosa Beach is the next logical step from the Green Idea House to the Green Idea […]

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