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The Lawrence Street House – LEED for Homes

We have officially registered our home with the US Green Building Council. This is the first step in pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification.

In addition to this registration, we hire a LEED rater — Earth Advantage from P-Town. Our local rater is Eli and he worked with us on theSAGE.
He is starting some preliminary calculations for the building shell (walls, floors, roof insulation and windows) so we can establish a baseline of where we’ll be for energy efficiency.
One concept we’ll be incorporating throughout is the idea that the most efficient heater, the most efficient light, the most efficient (insert item here) is the one you don’t have to use in the first place. This saves on many levels: initial cost (you don’t buy it), operating costs (you don’t use it) and maintenance costs (if it ain’t there, you don’t have to fix it).
I do have to insert here that there are some up front costs associated with some efficiency measures (extra insulation to reduce heating and cooling needs). But in the overall life-cycle cost of a home, only about 10-15% is the initial cost; virtually all of the rest (about 85%) is the operating and maintenance costs: paying for the energy to run the furnace or turn on the lights.
So we will be looking at efficiency measures up front. The house is already designed to take advantage of natural lighting and we’re looking at every other component with these efficiency measures in mind.
As an aside, I think we’re going to love our new neighborhood. Brenda and I went down last week to mow the weeds (trying to be a good neighbor), and met our soon-to-be neighbor, Jim. We had a very pleasant conversation with him and I’m sure we’ll enjoy living on Lawrence.
Stay tuned.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. This is my first time to your blog, and it seems like you are not building your home from scratch but are revamping it to fit LEED standards. Which rating system would this fall under? LEED Homes or LEED Existing Buildings? I'm a little confused…I thought LEED certified homes had to be built from scratch, but I'm beginning to see that that doesn't quite make sense…existing homes should have the opportunity to upgrade! Thanks

  2. Actually, we are building our home from scratch. The lot had a home on it from about 1902 until about 1995, when it was removed. The original home we have photos of was the home of a friend of ours from church, who lived there when she was in high school.That has been an interesting "small world" thing since she had some old photos her daughter scanned for us. I believe LEED for Homes does make some provision for existing homes (David Gottfried's home was a renovation). One of the keys is taking the exterior walls down to the stud cavity on one side or another. I believe then it is treated much the same as a new LEED for Homes project.If you go to your LEED for Homes Reference Guide, Page 3, Item 6 talks about existing homes and "major gut rehab".