When I first heard about two uber-green houses in Santa Clara, I expected to see modern constructions that screamed to the world, "I am eco-friendly!"
But it was not so, and that was something of a relief.
The green houses in question hide their technologies behind traditional exteriors, but there's no denying that the homes have been rigged to save both energy and money.
Architect Sal Caruso designed the two two-bedroom, two-bathroom houses not to look differently than the other houses in the area, but rather to act differently.
A new-fangled water heater heats instantly only when you need it. There's lots of cross-ventilation, so the air is always circulating and always cool. Even the materials used in the walls are more efficient than those typically used in homes today.
And in an economy where new houses are tough to sell, these are off the market, even before they're finished.
The secret? Energy savings that appeals to the recession-burdened consumer. Say what you will about the "green" bandwagon, there's something about saving a lot of money every month that appeals to people.
As Caruso says, "It'll save you money. You'll maintain a 70 degree temperature without heating and without air conditioning. You won't ever have to turn on your equipment."
It's technology you won't notice, but your wallet will.