In a city filled with enviable homes that are monuments to Hollywood egos, Steve Glenn wants you to have one just like his 2,530sqft, two-storey, three-bedroom spread. The 42-year-old Californian businessman's new home in the hip Venice Beach section of Los Angeles is a prototype for LivingHomes, which designs and sells prefabricated houses designed by so-called starchitects and that are actually good for the environment. The price? About US$250 per square foot, which means Glenn's home costs about HK$4.9 million. A successful internet entrepreneur with childhood aspirations to architecture and a love of Lego, Glenn traded in his Audi roadster for an energy-efficient Toyota Prius hybrid car like many other Californians. But for him it was just the beginning. 'I saw a market niche not being served. There are plenty of people who care about the environment, but live in structures not yet able to reflect that, beyond adding, say, some bamboo floors.' A chance discussion about prefabrication with architect Ray Kappe led to an intense two-year gestation from idea to the 11 steel-frame modules installed in just eight hours on a gentle slope. Kappe, who once worked with Nasa on the application of space technology to modular residential architecture, collaborated with Glenn to bring the same environmentally sensitive aesthetic of his celebrated 1965 Kappe House in nearby Pacific Palisades to Glenn's home, along with four semi-custom models that will range from US$150 to US$250 per square foot. At present, 10 versions of Kappe's designs are under contract, offering features such as a moveable interior wall system 'so that homes can finally deal with people's changing lifestyle needs', says Glenn. Scrutinising the striking edifice, with its warm cedar wood and cool concrete interspersed with floor-to-ceiling glass, Venice Beach resident Michelle Lee declares it 'yet another example of California creative genius' that has historically blossomed in this Pacific coastal neighbourhood. Official bodies love it, too. The many energy-saving innovations of the design won the house a platinum certification from the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - the first residence to win the award. A quick tour covers only some of the revolutionary efficiencies, from the sub-surface irrigation system that integrates weather data accessed from the internet to optimally time the watering of drought-tolerant plants, to the photovoltaic panels on the roof that power kitchen appliances, in all saving Glenn about US$1,500 a year on utility bills. Visitors can't help but be awed by the earth-friendly attention to detail, and eco-conscious apartment dwellers can adopt some of LivingHomes' most straightforward elements: install light-emitting diode lighting, which requires less electricity and less frequent replacement than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs; use recycled glass and porcelain bathroom tiles; lay flooring made of cork - an extremely fast growing and thus highly sustainable material; or opt for a sleek kitchen counter like Glenn's, made from a heat-tolerant, stain-resistant soapstone lookalike, which is actually a blend of paper and water-based resin. Next on the LivingHomes agenda will be construction of 10 holiday homes on an eight hectare plot near Joshua Tree National Park, about three hours from Los Angeles. Working on the project is environmental architect David Hertz, who is designing a set of standardised floor plans, ranging from 645sqft to 6,450sqft, priced from about US$150,000 (not including land, site preparation, permits and component transport). Glenn smiles at the thought of overseas buyers, especially from Hong Kong with its notorious pollution, choosing one of Kappe's semi-custom designs or Hertz's soon-to-be-unveiled homes. Although they're available for export, the transport costs would be considerable. 'With the right development partner, however, LivingHomes communities could easily be developed in China or anywhere that people care about how their lives affect ensuing generations,' he says. A high-speed video of the Glenn House installation can be seen at www.livinghomes.us .