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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lawns and LEED

We are now at the stage where we need to plant grass seed not only for a lawn, but also for stabilization of certain areas of the property. After some research, Flip chose Pearl's Premium Ultra Low Maintenance Lawn Seed (see Pearl's Premium website). In essence, this grass, developed by Jackson Madnick, needs no fertilizer or chemicals, less water and a quarter of the mowing of other lawns. Although higher in initial cost, it should cost less to maintain and will require no outside fertilizers or frequent mowings.

Mr. Madnick's remark on pricing is "although Pearl's Premium is more expensive than some seed mixes, it uses all premium, more expensive seeds that are harder and slower to grow. However, it has a one week pay back in the cost of the seed from water, fertilizer and grass cutting prevented and dramatically saves water, time and money compared to other lawn seed mixes."

You should note that Pearl's gives you LEED points.

The following is a quotation from Mr. Madnick's website.

"From my research, it turns out that up to 80% of lawn care chemicals run off lawns, down the street, into the storm drain and ends up in the watershed or local ponds only to feed the invasive weeds. Use of pesticides and fertilizer in urban and suburban communities contributes significantly to contamination of our drinking water and other water supplies.

"What ends up in our homes effects children, animals and others: Lawn care chemicals and pesticides get carried indoors into homes on shoes, paws and air currents. Once inside, pesticides linger in carpets, dust, on toys and in the air we breathe. These chemicals normally break down out side over time with sun light. However, away from sunlight and water, pesticides persist for many months, resulting in longer exposure to these chemicals in doors.

"Chemical lawns are depleting our water supplies: Additionally, lawn care irrigation uses 3 to 5 times the amount of water compared to what is used during the winter. This is causing water shortages and the need for water bans and conservation to make up for the water greedy lawns require. This is due to the fact that many of the non-native lawn seeds from Europe or Kentucky, with very shallow roots are native to environments that are more humid. In New England, this means we need to water this type of seed more frequently. Chemical fertilizer makes it grow faster and be even more water hungry and labor intensive to need to cut more often."

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