Shortly after the home was finished, we began holding open houses to promote the completion of the first LEED certified home in Wichita and “green” building. During one open house, the local Fox TV station made an impromptu appearance to prepare a segment for their 9 o’clock news program. They were most intrigued by and show-cased the shoe-storage area because it is not immediately obvious how such a space would contribute to sustainability.
But in fact, in the LEED rating system, this home did earn one (1) point for having a built-in shoe removal and storage space. Here’s the reasoning: Since Americans spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, LEED rewards homes that address issues related to “Indoor Environmental Quality”. According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), a majority of the dirt in homes is tracked in by the occupants on their shoes. This debris can contain lead, asbestos, pesticides and other hazardous material. Shoes will also track in moisture that could lead to mold growth on the carpet. A built-in bench and shoe storage area, right at the main entry into the home, will encourage the occupants to remove their shoes. Less dirt and contaminants equal better indoor air quality, less energy to run the vacuum and fewer chemicals to clean the floor.
We asked the homeowner if he was using the area. He replied that he was and that “it’s a very nice thing to be able to come in, sit right down and take your shoes off”. While we have no quantifiable measurements on the indoor air quality, nor on the vacuum usage, we can point to a homeowner who likes the convenience and is happy with this feature.