Kendall Wins AIA Climate Positive Award for Net-Zero Townhouses

Alison Kendall did more than meet a high standard; she set a new bar. The local architect is the winner of the Climate Positive Award from the LA Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “This was the only small project to win [the honor]  specifically focused on climate positive design.” 

Kendall purchased an older house in the Arts District several years ago, with a plan to re-design it for her son, who was moving back to the area for a job after completing graduate studies. “We were just going to remodel, but there was so much wrong with the structure, we decided it would be better to just take it down and start from scratch.”

The single unit turned into two, and Kendall’s design kept it ‘net zero.’ Net-zero, also known as carbon neutrality, is the act of negating or canceling out the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, by reducing existing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Kendall’s design makes the most of a very small lot, building up with careful eye-lines to respect privacy on all sides, but also giving the buildings an open and expansive feeling. The rooftop patio/garden space tops the townhouses with the option to put the yard upstairs.

“I want go further with encouraging people towards integrating green features. When it’s all there in the build, you are set.
What could really get efficient is the kitchen and bath. Those are the two most complex factors in keeping a house really green. We are so constrained for space [on the westside] that is the next challenge for designers to take on.” 

Kendall also had to persevere in the face of city standards. She hit one road block after another as the city began changing parking requirements, setbacks and other legal standards while she was building. “I’m glad it’s going to be easier for other people going forward, but it cost us a lot of time, and no small amount of money.” 

Winning the award just as the finishing touches are being completed brings Kendall a sense of satisfaction, but she’s still ambitious about the future of net zero homes. “We can do so much to reduce the carbon, to make out cities livable on a long term basis.” Following her design, we can also make them beautiful. 


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