Posts Tagged ‘LEED for Homes’

Green Home Revisited – The Shoe Storage Area

March 19, 2012

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.

Shoe Storage Area in Laundry Room

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.

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Certifications & Acknowledgments

April 16, 2010

Soon after the third-party performance testing was performed, all the required forms were submitted to the various agencies to review and approve our applications for certifications.  

  

Sponsored by the US Department of Energy, Builder’s Challenge recognizes exceptional attention to quality and energy performance. The program uses the EnergySmart Home scale to rate efficiency. To meet the challenge, a home must achieve a rating of 70 or lower, representing an improvement of 30% over a typical home. This home met the challenge on March 1st, 2010 with a rating of 55.  

  

The NAHB Green Building Program was initiated in 2005 by the National Association of Home Builders. The NAHB Green Building program is similar to LEED, but only applicable to residential construction. Green Building Program houses are awarded points within specific categories and can receive a rating of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Emerald. On March 24, 2010 this home was awarded a Gold rating from NAHB.  

  

The LEED for Homes® rating system is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED projects are awarded points within specific categories and can receive a rating of Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. We are proud to report that on April 6th, 2010 this home was awarded Gold certification.  It is the first home to achieve LEED certification in Wichita, Kansas.   

  

ENERGY STAR® was developed in 1992 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its mission is to promote clean and efficient energy technologies, enabling consumers to save money while protecting the environment. This home received the ENERGY STAR on April 8th, 2010.On Friday, April 9th, Teresa Burk, from the Wichita Committee of the USGBC Central Plains Chapter presented Adam Bauer with the LEED for Homes – Gold certificate. 

Teresa Burk and Adam Bauer.

We want to acknowledge everyone that helped Bauer & Son Construction achieve these awards. The following are sub-contractors and suppliers participated in the construction of this home.

Fremar Corporation L.L.C. 
Nies Foundations 
Lafarge North America, Kansas Office 
Contractors Waterproofing Systems 
Kelly Smith Construction 
Andale Lumber Company 
Pro Build 
Lowe’s of E. Wichita 
Wheeler Lumber, LLC 
Shawn Nelson Framing 
Douglas Fry Roofing 
J.F. Miller Masonry 
North Star Comfort Services 
Overhead Door Company 
Cheney Door Co., Inc 
B & B Drywall 
Garcia’s Painting 
The Countertop Place 
Quality Granite & Marble 
Designers Expo LLC 
Bob Smith Tile Company 
Bell Mirror & Glass Inc. 
Cranmer Grass Farm, Inc. 
Hogan Sprinkler Installation, Inc. 
Hojoca Corporation 
Fahnesctock Plumbing, HVAC & Electric 

Our third-party verifiers were Guaranteed Watt Saver Systems, Inc., and Fahnesctock Plumbing, HVAC & Electric 

We also want to acknowlege all the Bauer & Son Construction employees that participated in the construction including Drew Wyss – Project Supervisor, Michael Hansen, Ed Miller and Richard Ashford. 

Finally, we want to give special acknowlegment to Adam Bauer for his vision and determination to undertake this project, Greg Bauer for his support and expertise, Laura Heagler for her dilligence and persistance and Steve Houser for his expertise.

Third-party Performance Testing

April 15, 2010

While energy modeling was performed as part of the design process for this house, verification of the actual tightness of the home is required as part of the perfornance testing for LEED® for Homes Energy and Atmosphere, AE category. This test is performed by utilizing a diagnostic tool called a blower door which is designed to measure the airtightness of buildings and to help locate air leakage sites. A blower door consists of a calibrated fan for measuring an airflow rate, and a pressure-sensing device to measure the air pressure created by the fan flow. The combination of pressure and fan-flow measurements are used to determine the building airtightness.

The blower door being installed in the Maseter Bedroom door to the deck. The fan is on the floor, behind the technican.

The technican is recording readings from the pressure-sensing device connected to the blower door.

The data from this test will be used to determine the final HERS rating the house will receive.

Since we are not now going to qualify for Indoor airPLUS, we lost 13 points in the Indoor Environmental Quality category. In order to still be certified at the Gold level and achieve as many points as possible in this category, we now need to take the alternative Pathway 2 which is the Perscripitive Approach. This pathway includes 9 sub-categories that can be used to achieve points. Compliance with two of the sub-categories, EQ 5 Local Exhaust and EQ 6 Distrubution Systems will allow us to regain 3 points.

This test pictured below is for EQ5 and is performed for all the exhaust fans in the house. An exhaust fan flow meter measures the cubic feet/minute (cfm) at that particular fan and that data is compared to the fan manufacturer’s rating.

View of the test being performed in Bath 2.

The test pictured below is for EQ6 and is performed for all the supply air duct openings in the house. This device, a balometer capture hood, measures the cubic feet/minute (cfm) at a particular opeining and that data is compared to the original design criteria.

The hood being used on a supply duct opening in the basement Family Room.

Bathroom Fixtures

April 14, 2010

Water efficent toilets, faucets and shower heads qualify for points in LEED® for Homes and the NAHB Green Building Program. The toilets in all three bathrooms are rated at 1.28 gpf (galions per flush). The faucets in all three bathrooms are rated at 1.5 gpm (gallons per minute) and the shower heads are all rated at 1.7 gpm.  

The toilet and the lavatory installed in Bath 2.

The toilets selected for all the bath rooms are Wellworth® by Kohler. The pedestal lavatory selected for Bath 2 is a Devonshire® by Kohler and the faucet is a Pepetua by Luxart.  

The shower valve and shower head installed in the Bath 2 shower.

The shower valve and shower head selected are Perpetua by Luxart.  

The toilet installed in the Master Bath.

The bathtub valve and spout installed in the Master Bath.

Faucets installed on the lavatories in the Master Bath.

Shower valve and shower head installed in the Master Bath shower.

The toilet and shower valve installed in the basement bath.

Appliances

April 1, 2010

Installation of an ENERGY STAR® refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine qualified for 11 points in the NAHB Green Building Program. In the LEED® for HOMES program, ENERGY STAR appliances were used to increase the HERS rating, only 1 ½ points were directly attained in category of Energy & Atmosphere EA9.2 Exemplary Performance for a water-efficient clothes washer.

SAMSUNG ENERGRY STAR Refrigerator installed on the South wall of the Kitchen

Whirlpool Microwave Hood Combination unit installed on the South wall of the Kitchen.

Whirlpool ENERGRY STAR Dishwasher installed on the North wall of the Kitchen.

Whirlpool Electric Range installed on the South wall of the Kitchen.

SAMSUNG ENERGY STAR clothes washer installed on the South wall of the Laundry room.

Parade of Homes

March 25, 2010

While we participated in the Home Show, we decided to also participate in the Wichita Area Home Builders Association Spring Parade of Homes.

 

 

This years Parade of Homes is scheduled for April 10&11, 17&18, 24&25, with hours from Noon to 6:00 p.m. There will be 182 homes in price ranges from $100,000 to over 1.4 million and are located in Wichita and surrounding areas. Our home is listed as entry 41 in the Parade of Homes Magazine that can be viewed and downloaded from the Wichita Area Builders Association web site at www.wabahome.com.

By the opening day of the parade, we expect to have verification that we have in fact received LEED® for Homes – Gold certification, NAHB National Green Building Program – Gold certification, the ENERGY STAR® rating and the U.S. Department Of Energy’s – Builder’s Challenge award. 

No Indoor airPLUS

March 25, 2010

As the end of the construction process approaches, we began to look over each program we are attempting to qualify for. This process involved a detailed review of each program’s checklist and re-reading of the detailed explanations that accompany them. 

Each program has differing requirements for qualifying. LEED® for Homes has pre-requisites for various categories that must be achieved before any points can be attained in that category. The NAHB Green Building Program has a minimum number of points that are required to achieve a rating in each category and all categories must have the same rating to achieve that overall level of rating or certification. The ENERGY STAR® and Indoor airPLUS programs require that each item on their checklist be achieved in order to receive the rating, The Builder’s Challenge program is the least restrictive and has many items that are recommended as best practices but have exceptions based on local practices.  

Prior to starting construction on the house, each program checklist was used to develop specifications for each phase of the process. If an item on a checklist was unclear, we referred to the detailed explanation for clarification. Our initial reading of “Bituminous membrane installed at valleys & penetrations” which is item 1.9 in the Water-Managed Roof Assemblies on the Indoor airPLUS checklist, seemed to be satisfied by our standard practice of totally covering the entire roof of the house with UL 15# asphalt saturated felt and then installing metal flashings in the valleys. While conducting our review of this item, the term “self-sealing” was included in the detailed description. We considered reworking the roofing to comply, but decided not to because of cost and weather conditions. 

While we are still on track to quality for LEED for Homes – Gold certification, NAHB Green Building Program – Gold certification, ENERGY STAR, and the U.S. Department Of Energy’s – Builder’s Challenge programs, we regret the loss of not qualifying for the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s – Indoor airPLUS rating.

Bamboo Flooring

March 17, 2010

Bamboo is recognized as the fastest growing plant on earth. On average, bamboo is capable of reaching maturity and is ready to harvest in five to seven years, reaching heights well over 50 (fifty) feet tall. Moreover, since bamboo is a grass, it is harvested again and again from the same stalk. 

Growing bamboo is better for the environment than trees. It produces greater biomass and 30% more oxygen than a hardwood forest on the same area. Bamboo has a very high fiber density and is harder than many hardwoods such as red oak. 

A prerequisite for LEED® for Homes, Durability Management Process requies using a water-resistant flooring within 3’ of any entry door. This house has four entry doors on the Main Level and one entry door In the Basement. Instead of having patches of water-resistant flooring at each entry door on the Main Level, the owner selected Premium Green Bamboo™, Hand Scraped, Vintage Collection, Jacobean flooring to install in the Entry, Living Room, Kitchen, Laundry, Hall. Please visit www.simplefloors.com to learn more about this product. 

Bamboo floor in the Living Room.

Bamboo floor in the Dining area.

Bamboo floor in the Living Room around the fireplace.

Close up view of the bamboo flooring.

Light Fixtures, Ceiling Fan & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

March 17, 2010

Interior work continues as the landscaping is going on outside. The electrical contactor is installing the light fixtures, ceiling fans and the carbon monoxide detectors.

Recessed ceiling light fixtures with trim ring, baffel and CFL lamp installed.

CFL lamps used in the recessed ceiiing fixtures.

Bath vanity light fixture with CFL lamps.

Living Room ceiling fan.

LEED® for Homes, U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s – Indoor airPLUS, and the U.S. Department Of Energy’s – Builder’s Challenge programs all require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors.

Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed on both the Main Level and the Lower level of the house.

Lawn Sprinkler System & Landscaping

March 17, 2010

Large blocks of native limestone are used as a retaining wall at the South side of the Basement Walk-Out patio. This wall eliminates the steep slope at this location on the lot.  

Stone retaining wall, view from the rear yard looking West.

Stone retaining wall, view looking toward the North

The lot is graded and ready for the trees. View from the Southeast corner of the lot.

Removing dirt for a new tree.

The tree spade placing a new tree in the front yard.

The tree is in place.

Two trees are planted on the South slde of the lot. The one at the rear of the lot is a Oak tree. View from the Southeast.

The tree in the front yard is an Oak. View from the street looking East.

Once the trees are set, the installation of a lawn sprinkler system begins. A high efficency irrigation system will quality for 3 LEED points in the Water Efficiency category. 

Laying out the pipe for the irrigation system. View of the North side of the house, looking East.

The vibratory plow used to bury the pipe for the irrigation system.

Flaged locations of sprinkler heads in the rear yard for the lawn irrigation system.

The Rain Bird® ESP-SMT Smart Control System is selected as part of the irrigation system. The ESP-SMT maximizes water efficiency by factoring in everything from soil type to the slope of the lawn, to the amount of sun exposure different areas receive. To learn more about Rain Bird ESP-SMT please visit www.rainbird.com 

Irrigation control panel located in the Garage.

Rain sensor located on the North side of the Garage roof.

  Once the irrigation system is complete the landscaping begins. 

Plant stock stored in the Garage, ready to be installed.

Installing edging for the plant beds.

After the plant beds are layed out and plants are in place, the lawn is next. Since the season for seeding has past, sod is selected for the lawn.

Sod installed in front yard.

Sod not yet complete on the side yard, view looking East.

Sod on the rear yard. View from the Southeast.

Sod and plant bed at the front porch.

Sod and plant bed behind the house. The landscaping is complete.