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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sweet home?

Home again now, but is it, home I mean? After so many months of work, so long of a wait. After building a quality house, with approved electric, plumbing, septic, clean well water, and in a fashion ready to be awarded a silver certificate in LEED, after having the federal government support our efforts with a tax credit for the geothermal, the state's permission to use our well to drive our heat, after taking care to be transparent every step of the way, we still do not have our occupancy permit. It kind of takes the party atmosphere right away.

Our permit is being held up due to one thing. The state's plumbing board has not ruled its approval of a mixed use well (potable water mixed with geothermal). It has been nodding at this lack of a ruling for years. There are a couple hundred approved systems in Massachusetts at this point that resemble ours. All the local plumbing inspector has to do is go ahead and sign, and no one will pursue him. But because Holliston has a very formal structure, our plumbing inspector will not sign until and unless the plumbing board speaks its approval out loud.

The board won't do that. The plumbing inspector will thus not sign. And we are caught; we have done everything, and there is nothing left for us to do. The building inspector will not let us move in. And we have nowhere else to go.

I will call a meeting this week with all the personalities in play and see if I can get somewhere. But the man at the DEP assured me, waiting for the plumbing board will result in "indefinite delays." In the meantime, we must go on with our lives. We have tried to follow all the rules, and our reward is delay, shuffling, and buck passing.


At August 16, 2009 at 11:44 AM , Blogger Claudia said...

Hannah's right: Take it to the press. Or threaten to.

At August 16, 2009 at 3:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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