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, February 26, 2009

Size matters

One of the things that impacts your points to achieve for a LEED rating is the size of your house. If you build a larger house, you have a higher number of points to achieve to meet the rating. With a smaller house, your point threshold is smaller. We were penalized 3 points for building a house of some 2900 square feet as a 4 bedroom; the neutral level being 2600 per LEED. If you build smaller than that, you are credited points.

Anyone who has built can tell you that the size of your new home fluctuates in perception throughout the process. When we just had a foundation, it looked tiny. Right now, from the exterior, it looks frankly enormous. Part of this is the fact that it's still standing high on the foundation; the ground level will come up after we put in the septic field. Go inside, and it shrinks again (the blue board darkens things and makes it seem smaller). Put in a wall, though, and suddenly it grows again. And when the plaster whitens the walls, once again it grows. It's one of the tricky things about designing a house, to know how big of a house you actually have.

Our house is a 30x40 foot two story section, with an 18x24 foot one story ell. True, we won't have a 30' living room with separate den, or a bedroom suite that measures 18' or larger, but in our view it is 'way more than enough for our family and guests, Erin's office, a laundry room and mudroom, which were on our "must have" list.



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