Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss — you may know him better as opus-composing Mr. Holland, marine biologist/shark bait Matt Hopper, or besieged shrink Leo Marvin in What About Bob? — probably isn’t the first person who comes to mind when thinking of hybrid-driving, eco-campaigning, green home-owning, Los Angeleno celebrities. In fact, Dreyfuss doesn’t even live in L.A. — he lives in Encinitas in San Diego County — and he drives a Honda Accord.

Dreyfuss even admits to the San Diego Union-Tribune that “I don’t think of myself as an environmental guy. I am a citizen.”

Mr. Dreyfuss, I think that’s about to change … a green gut-renovation planned for Dreyfuss’ 4,830 square-foot Encinitas home has attracted not only the press but San Diego Gas & Electric, who will be including the renovation as a case study in its nationwide Advanced Home program.

Dreyfuss and his wife Svetlana bought the $1.5 million, 70s-era house last year and with the help of sustainable design firm S.K.I.N. they plan on giving it a head-to-toe green makeover. They hope to keep the “greenification” costs under $1 million.

But here’s the one caveat: in addition to renewable energy systems, foil insulation, reclaimed lumber, rainwater collection, and other state-of-the-art green building features, the master plan calls for additional square footage, a swimming pool-sized jacuzzi with heated waterfalls, a guest house, and other not-so-eco details.

Will the green aspects of Dreyfuss’ home be negated, or at least compromised, by these bells and whistles? Probably not but I don’t think the project — despite SDG&E’s involvement and S.K.I.N.’s stellar track record working with both sustainability and considerable square footage — will be the greenest of the green. As far as I can tell, Dreyfuss’ deep green contemporaries up in LA needn’t worry about him giving them a run for their money.

However, I like Dreyfuss’ ordinary guy, non-showboating attitude. It’s refreshing. The sometimes headline-grabbing actor (he's dealt publicly with issues of drug abuse and mental health in the past) is obviously concerned about water and energy conservation but he’s not letting it define him. He simply wants off the grid, no air of self-righteousness or eco-arrogance involved. 

All and all, a fine message to go along with a mighty fine project: knowing about the issues and knowing what you want is important but you needn't be a self-identified environmentalist nor do you need mountains of money to make green household improvements large and small.

Via [The San Diego Union-Tribune] via S.K.I.N. press release

Photo: S.K.I.N.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

What about green?
Don't fret ... actor Richard Dreyfuss is skipping over the baby steps and giving his Encinitas, Calif., home a full-on eco-makeover.