Holliston LEED House

This is the story of a family who built the first LEED "green" house in Holliston, Massachusetts. We were trying to spend no more than it would take to build an ordinary house,and maybe even succeeded. The dust is still settling.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

LEED and the process

In case you didn't figure this out from yesterday's rant, Flip and I have filed the final plans with the LEED rater (Conservation Services Group of Westborough, MA). Although we had planned to do this much earlier, the plans kept getting tweaked until now so they weren't "done." We filed with the HERS rater for an Energy Star rating a couple of weeks ago, and the preliminary report shows an as planned HERS rating of 53, a good 11 points under the high benchmark (this is a good thing). Moving though LEED, therefore, should be somewhat easier with ES under our belt.

For LEED neophytes, first thing to do is Get The Book. USGBC will send it to you (for a scant $125 or so), and if you have insomnia, it's a great solution. However, if you read it carefully, and plan for the items during design phase it will not be terribly hairy. It's easier for us as we are building with SIPs as it eliminates an inspection step. Planning should be done during site work. In New England, for instance, we need a radon abatement system preinstalled (which is good to do anyway in case you find you have radon later) during your foundation design.

If you have a LEED-anal-retentive on your team, please note that none of these agencies likes a nice, old fashioned fireplace. However, you can work around it by installing doors over the hearth, something I've never liked but will have to suck it up. Also, you do not have to do EVERYTHING in the book. Just the "mandatory" items and as many of the others as you can.

After months of reading and research, few changes had to be made to our design. Our target level is "silver," which is second out of four stages of LEED certification. With proper landscaping, we should easily reach that with current projected points at 71. More info will follow as we get further into the process.



At January 8, 2009 at 9:38 PM , Blogger Dave said...

I'm very excited to hear you are going to go through the process of LEED. Congrats.


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