Posts Tagged ‘Why Green 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.

Why Green Homes?

September 25, 2009

Home construction is constantly evolving and green building is a logical step in that evolution, particularly when thinking about energy usage, a healthier living environment and environmental impact. The fact that all homes account for 22% of the total energy and 74% of the water consumed in the nation necessitates that we design and construct more sustainable homes. When our homes have indoor air pollutant levels often four to five times higher than outdoor levels, we have to make our homes a healthier place to live. When 21% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are coming from our homes, we have to construct our homes so they have less of an impact on the environment.

LEED and LEED for Homeslogo_color

LEED, is an internationally recognized green building certification program, initiated in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The LEED Green Building Rating System is voluntary and is based on existing, proven technology. It is applicable to all building types, commercial as well as residential.

LEED for Homes was created by the USGBC in November 2007 to promote green building techniques, energy saving strategies, and use of high performance materials, appliances, and mechanical and electrical equipment. With LEED certification, homebuyers can readily identify a high-quality green home that has been third-party inspected, performance tested, and certified to perform better than a conventional home. LEED provides national consis­tency in defining the features of a green home which assures homebuyers of the quality of their purchases.

LEED for Homes certification is based on a point system, with prereq­uisites and credits, within specific categories in the building process. The prerequisites are basic performance standards, which are mandatory for every home. No points are awarded for prerequisites. To achieve certification, builders must earn credit points by exceeding the minimum stan­dards of the prerequisites. In total: 136 credit points are available. Prerequisites and points are classified in following eight credit categories.

1. Innovation & Design Process: Special design methods, unique re­gional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplarity performance levels.

2.  Location & Linkages: The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.

3.  Sustainable Sites: The use of the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.

4.  Water Efficiency: Water conservation practices, both indoor and outdoor.

5.  Energy & Atmosphere: Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.

6.  Materials & Resources: Effi­cient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materi­als, and minimization of waste during construction.

7.  Indoor Environmental Quality: Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.

8.   Awareness & Education: The education of homeowner, tenant, or multifamily building manager about the operations and maintenance of the green features of a LEED Home.

LEED for Homes Certification Levels 

Required points

Certified

45-59

Silver

60-74

Gold

75-89

Platinum

90-136

Total available points

136

The number of points for each certifica­tion level is adjusted for smaller-than-average and larger-than-average homes using the Home Size Adjustment.

Based on the amount of points earned, a LEED-certified house will receive a rating of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.  For more information on the LEED process, please visit the USGBC website, www.usgbc.org.

The home that Bauer & Son Construction has under construction is designed to achieve a Gold level of certification. The home is located at 2534 N. Davin Cir, Wichita, KS. Please vist www.bscconstruction.com to lean more.