Happy Earth Day, world! The human race has come a long way since Woodsy Owl touted “Give a Hoot—Don’t Pollute!” some 40 years ago. In 2014, the message is so much broader and infinitely more crucial. Phrases like “Carbon Footprint,” “Solar Power” and “Green Living” are a natural part of our vernacular now—and little by little, we’re finding ways to implement what they stand for into our daily lives. Recycling and composting are two obvious ways, which thankfully have caught on across America. Take this statistic: In 1980, recycling and composting kept 15 million tons of material from being thrown in landfills—fast forward to 2012 and that number shot up to 86.6 million tons. Outstanding, isn’t it? But that’s not all we’re doing to heal the planet.

Residential homes are also becoming an important part of the environment-solution with green retrofitting on existing properties becoming more common and green builders creating eco-friendly masterpieces from the ground up. Take a look at one of the nation’s greenest residential homes—Tah.Mah.La in the Silicon Valley’s Portolo Valley—a LEED® Platinum-Rated home that was once the “Greenest Home in its class.” This 5,600 square foot estate is the consummate green achievement with its use of only reclaimed and sustainable building materials, its meticulous site design plan (protecting and enriching wildlife corridors), its zero-use of paint, ducts or fossil fuels and a host of other mindful green features.

It’s no surprise that Tah.Mah.Lah is in California; our state had 595 private and public projects that were LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified in 2013, which landed us at number 5 in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Top 10 States that are “at the forefront of sustainable design and transformation.” But you don’t have to own a LEED certified home to help the planet (and in turn, your bank account!)—making changes little by little can do the job just fine. Switching to tankless water heaters, for instance, adding solar panels to your home or implementing a rainwater harvesting system are great ways to add some green to your home. And investing in these types of features really pays for itself in the long run, plus, if you decide to sell your home, green residences in California typically sell for 9%+ more than their conventional counterparts. Talk about rewarding!

Take a look at three California homes on the market right now that are not only gorgeous, but also eco-friendly. If you want to see more of the properties, just click on the image or address for details.

1. Los Angeles
This enchanting Los Angeles estate is proudly LEED Certified for green building. Eco-friendly highlights include Windsor One trim. three tankless water heaters, Nest temperature controls and Electric Vehicle power hookups.

Los Angeles House

2933 Danalda Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90064
$3,799,000 USD

 

2. Rancho Mirage
With the desert’s ever-present natural light, Solar Power holds the eco-friendly key to this contemporary Rancho Mirage home. To keep the interior temperatures in check, the windows are also equipped with ultra-convenient power-window coverings.

Summer Sky 12 xf

12 Summer Sky Circle
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
$1,249,000 USD

 

3. Woodside
With wide open spaces, walls of windows, breathtaking landscaping and the prestige of having the “largest residential solar system” on the West Coast, this Silicon Valley home is both functional and fabulous.

196 Albion 12 Interior

196 Albion Ave.
Woodside, CA 94062
$19,950,000 USD

 

Do you have any eco-friendly features in your home? How important are these features to you when shopping for a new home? Let us know in the comments section below.