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Follow along as we build our dream house in the woods....

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

River's Edge Design Charrette

July 10th was big day for the project as we had our second LEED Design Charrette. The very first category in the LEED for Homes rating system is “Integrated Project Planning.” We are required to conduct a preliminary rating with our LEED Provider in order to target the level we want to reach (Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum), identify the credits we are seeking to reach our target and assign accountable parties for each credit.

Additionally, we will gain one point each for assembling an “Integrated Project Team” and holding a “Design Charrette” for one full day or two half days during the design process which we we did. Our project team consists of the following members:

Mike Holcomb from Alliance for Environmental Sustainability – LEED Provider
Mike Holcomb from Home Inspector General - Green Rater
Eric Hughes from Image Design, LLC – Residential Designer
Joel Harner from Let Us, Inc. – Builder & Construction Management
Jake Vierzen from R-Value Concrete Structures - ICF Installer & Concrete Expert
Isaac Bainbridge  – HVAC & Mechanical Expert

During our first half day Design Charrette we educated the project team on the LEED for Home process and the 18 prerequisites and ran through the LEED checklist with them. During the second Design Charette we concentrated on filling out the LEED for Homes Checklist with the LEED for Homes provider and coming up with our preliminary LEED for Homes rating. We were excited to be scoring a "Gold" preliminary  level of certification which is exceptional for the size of the home. We are using a preliminary HERS rating of 50 on the home which is no easy task and basically says that our home would be half way to a zero energy home and 50% more efficient than code we are confident that we will be lower than that based on the scores of our past homes.  Some type of photovoltaic would almost certainly be necessary to help us reach a Platinum rating and we are still not sure the budget will allow this. Keep a eye on future post to see if we can score some more points with Landscaping, Materials and our final HERs score.

River's Edge is a LEED for Home Project

The "River's Edge" project is going to be the first LEED for Homes project in Oscoda County and in this part of the State. Below is a brief overview of the LEED for Homes rating system.

LEED for Homes Overview

LEED stands for Leadership in Environmental and Energy-Efficient Design. It is a rating system for sustainable buildings developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). There are other LEED standards for commercial construction, interiors, schools, retail and healthcare as well. We will only be focusing on the LEED for Homes Rating System here.

While there are other local or regional green building programs as well as new national programs, LEED for Homes is the most recognized in the national and international marketplace. Another key element that sets LEED apart from other green building programs is that LEED must be certified by a third party. Most of the other programs are self-certifying by the builder, developer or homeowner.

LEED for Homes measures the overall performance of a home in eight categories:

  1. Innovation & Design Process (ID) – Special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
  2. Location & Linkages (LL) – The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
  3. Sustainable Sites (SS) – The use of the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
  4. Water Efficiency (WE) – Water-efficient practice, both indoor and outdoor.
  5. Energy & Atmosphere (EA) – Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
  6. Materials & Resources (MR) – Efficient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materials, and minimization of waste during construction.
  7. Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) – Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.
  8. Awareness & Education (AE) – The education of homeowner, tenant, and/or building manager about the operation and maintenance of the green features of a LEED home.

A home can achieve one of four certification levels in the LEED for Homes System – Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The point levels required for each certification level are shown in the diagram below.

Achieving a total amount points is not all that is needed to successfully achieve a LEED rating. There are certain aspects of the rating system that are mandatory prerequisites in addition to there being a minimum amount of points needed in each category. The chart below shows these requirements for each category as well as the total amount of points available for each of the eight categories.

We are really excited to bring the USGBC's LEED for Homes Green Building Certification to Mio, Osconda County and want to thank the Homeowner's for being Pioneer's in Green building in this part of the State.