Actor Richard Dreyfuss Chooses S.K.I.N. Design and Architecture for Eco-friendly Renovation, Expansion of San Diego House

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Deniece Duscheone of architecture/design firm S.K.I.N. retained for eco-friendly renovation of Richard Dreyfuss house. SDG&E selects project as one of three energy-saving case studies in San Diego County.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss has chosen the San Diego-based architecture and design firm S.K.I.N. to renovate and environmentally upgrade his 1970s Encinitas residence and property in order to cut his water and power bill to near-zero. San Diego Gas & Electric has designated the Dreyfuss renovation as one of only three case studies in all of San Diego County because it offers an example of installing innovative energy-saving technologies in an existing house.

S.K.I.N. principals Deniece Duscheone and Christopher Maresca are leaders in the integration of intelligent energy efficient building systems and the lasting effects of sustainable design. Duscheone is most recognized for the $56 million redesign of the US Grant Hotel, for which she accepted the HotelWorld Award for Best Luxury Guestroom Design, the California Construction award for Best Architectural Renovation and the Alanzo Award for Best Design. She has LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Professional Accreditation through the U.S. Green Building Council. Maresca has received notable recognition for his low-energy high-tech lighting design on the exterior of the hotel, which set a precedent for the use of exterior LED lighting on a hotel.

Dreyfuss chose the pair because they are pioneers in the area of energy efficiencies. "They were so open to exploring options for energy efficiency," says Dreyfuss, who purchased the 4,800-square-foot energy-hungry home with his wife, Svetlana in 2008. "My goal was to get off the grid as soon as possible. I knew there was a way it could be done but I just wasn't sure exactly how. Deniece and Chris are the people who can make this happen."

Duscheone and Maresca have designed the property to power itself from solar panels and from geothermal energy from underground. Two proposed water wheels not only will produce energy from rainwater and other runoff water but they will channel the water into an underground cistern that will be used to irrigate the property. The pair also has specified a low-cost thin layer of reflective foil insulation to keep the property cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and they have designed the landscaping to include synthetic turf and drought-tolerant plants.

SDG&E chose the Dreyfuss project as a case study because it offers an excellent example of how to make an existing home energy efficient. "We are doing this so we can show energy efficiency technologies customers can use to help save electricity, gas and water," says Mitch Mitchell Regional Vice President of External Affairs for SDG&E. "The direct benefits of making your new or old home as energy efficient as possible are that you'll save money, and at the same time have a positive impact on the environment."

"The case studies in SDG&E's Advanced Homes Program are rare and Richard Dreyfuss' is one of three in San Diego County," says Mitchell. "We think case studies will showcase a wide array of energy saving technologies and accelerate the market acceptance of these technologies. We anticipate that these case studies will encourage builders to integrate environmentalism and protect the environment as they build."

The Advanced Homes Program case studies were designed to support the goal of the California Public Utilities Commission to have 50 percent of all new homes built to be at 35 percent above the state energy efficiency standards by 2011, and 10 percent of all new homes to be 50 percent over this energy code this same year.

The Dreyfus project also involves expanding the house to include a two-story library to house the actor's 15,000-volume book collection, guest house, private offices and a recording studio.

Duscheone and Maresca founded S.K.I.N. in 2004 with the intent of developing a design firm committed to innovative and responsible design practices. The acronym S.K.I.N. is an abbreviation for Sustainable Kinetic Integrated Nature and is a description of the philosophy that the firm utilizes in the design process. The studio is well-known for its wide range of projects, its exceptionally high standards, and work that emphasizes the importance of place and explores nature and the integration of materials.

For more information about S.K.I.N. visit


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