’Net zero’ goes luxe in Malibu on $23M sale

Price could be record for carbon neutral real estate

The Zero One project with Scott Morris (Marisol Malibu, Scott Morris)
The Zero One project with Scott Morris (Marisol Malibu, Scott Morris)

A net-zero carbon Malibu spec home has sold for $23 million, a sale price that represents a coup for eco-minded real estate and a likely record for carbon-neutral residential properties.

“I see this as a huge success,” said Scott Morris, a leader of the project’s development team who also acted as a broker on the deal. “And I think [other] developers will also recognize that perhaps there’s a reason for them to employ some carbon-zero strategies. And that was our goal.”

The deal closed last week, and the buyer was undisclosed. The home was completed last year and first listed for $32 million; in February the ask was reduced to $24.5 million. In recent weeks the home received multiple offers, Morris said.

The sale represents an industry milestone. Analysts estimate that real estate is responsible for some 40 percent of global carbon emissions, mostly from building operations, yet the industry has been relatively slow to address concerns about climate change.

Net-zero residential projects have been gaining traction in recent years, including two master-planned communities in various stages of development in northern L.A. County. Advances have come at smaller scale but higher prices on the luxe market — a net-zero home in Ventura County owned by the actor Brian Cranston hit the market last year for $5 million — but the houses, particularly spec builds, remain rare.

The Malibu home, conceived as 100 percent carbon neutral both in its construction and operation, represented the highest-profile net zero single family build to date, generating buzz everywhere from social media to luxury publications.

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Interior view of Zero One (Marisol Malibu)

Interior view of Zero One (Marisol Malibu)

“The market responded to it really, really well,” Morris said. “I felt like the proof was in the pudding.”

The home is 14,400 square feet and designed in a “modern ranch” style that emphasizes indoor-outdoor living and an expansive Pacific Ocean view: Located at 11865 Ellice Street, in western Malibu, it sits on two and a half acres above the Pacific Coast Highway and has high-end amenities typical of L.A. luxe homes, including two wine rooms, a bocce court, saltwater pool, chef’s kitchen and voice-activated control system.

Yet the six-bedroom home was also designed to meet exacting environmental standards, according to its developer, incorporating green-friendly construction techniques and materials that included recycled concrete, low-carbon rebar and sustainably sourced timber. Power comes from solar panels and a Tesla battery backup, and the walls are insulated with high-density recycled cellulose. The pool is heated with three electric pumps instead of propane, and the cooktops are all induction. Other features include a water vapor fireplace, electric vehicle charger and expansive organic garden.

It was built by Crown Pointe Estates, a development firm led by Morris’ father Richard. It’s the first in Crown Pointe’s Zero Series, a group of four carbon neutral luxe houses that represents the final installment of a larger group of luxe homes called Marisol Malibu. The first 13 homes of the project were built using traditional methods, before technological and construction advancements made it more feasible to go completely net zero, Richard Morris told TRD earlier this year, at a groundbreaking for the second home in the Zero Series.

“It was like almost a perfect storm in reverse, to have four lots remaining that we could pick this off,” he said. “It only makes sense, when you think about: If what we’re doing is real, and really provides benefit to the environment, why would anybody considering competitive homes pick anything other than zero carbon?”

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