LEED Team Meeting Number 3

We had our third LEED Integrated Team Meeting on Thursday. Since we’ve had multiple meetings with our landscape architecture team, they were the only ones not present today. We did however have our LEED-AP, our Green Rater, our architect, our builder, and our mechanical engineer (HVAC consultant).

We spent four hours breaking down the LEED-H application. Good times.

There were some incredibly valuable things I learned that I would like to share:

1.       In the ID point section, Innovation & Design Process, point 1.5 is incredibly hard to get if you have any other considerations. In our instance, though we did orient for solar design for our PV and solar hot water, because we prioritized our view, which was easterly, our glazing (window area) has significantly more area space on our east/west walls than on our north/south walls. So though we did achieve 1.5 b and c and can make a slight change to achieve 1.5d because of our ocean views we don’t get the point, we get nothing. This was a recurring theme for us during the meeting; there were a number of points where we were just falling short and getting nothing but in other categories we were maxed out even though we went way above and beyond.

2.       According to my LEED-AP, our Durability Checklist was the best he’d ever seen, so if you want to use it see my earlier blog entry. It will be more useful to those of you in the northeast because it does deal with numerous ice, water and wind issues. Check that point off!

3.       ID 1.3 is the Innovative and Regional Design point – This is actually my favorite point section on the entire application because it is about the things you did in your home that are not a guideline by the USGBC and LEED but about unique innovations you’ve implemented. We have maxed out our opportunities in this category. The points we are applying for are:

a.       1.3.1 Home Automation and Control – Home automation and lighting control saves energy, resources and money

b.       1.3.2 Energy Management Systems – Managing and monitoring renewable and utility energy for peak loads and whole house conservation

c.        1.3.3 Wiring for the Future – Using the CEA’s TecHome Rating System wiring for your home today and into the future to maximize connectivity and minimize waste

d.       1.3.4 Washing Machine – This is an easy point, ENERGY STAR, water conserving model but oddly not covered under the ENERGY STAR appliances section

                                                               i.      Other areas we could go for ID3 points includes SS2.1 – an extra point for landscape design and reduction in irrigation demand.

                                                             ii.      MR2.2 Environmentally Preferable Products – This ia big list of where you can get points worth ½ a point each for being an EPP, being low emission and or local production (Within 500 miles). It maxes out at 8 points here but you can overflow for up to another 4 in the 1.3 point category; we wont’ be taking these but we could have gotten another 4 points here.

4.       Under LL2.2 site selection, you have to track down the FEMA flood map to certify that you are above the 100-year plain; a letter from your insurance company is not documentation.

5.       Under SS (Sustainable Sites) you can accumulate a lot of points by paying attention to your landscaping. In addition to creating a lawn and plantings that require less water they actually need less chemicals, and create a better land environment for your family, your pets and in our cases, the bunnies, the deer, the woodchuck and other woodland animals that will also take up residence. My landscape architect told me that most people can easily install a drought tolerant lawn just by not overwatering it. The more water you give a lawn the more water it will ultimately need.

6.       The cheapest two points you can get on a LEED application is by installing $.50 aerator on your sink faucets. In fact, you can do this at home now too.

7.       EA sucks. I have worked so hard, spending months and months on preparing for Energy & Atmosphere. It has a maximum of 38 points in this category and we opted for the performance path. I have learned everything about GeoThermal heating and cooling, 15 SEER rated air conditioners, photovoltaic’s, air-to-air exchangers, solar thermal panels and evacuated tubes, super high efficiency gas burners and so on; and EVERYTHING is a trade off. We were pretty positive we were going to go with a ground source heat pump Geothermal system which would have cost in excess of $50k (blowing my budget number ), when we found out just how high our electric bill was going to go. So even though we would not be using oil or gas, our electric bill would more than double our current consumption patterns. Some people tried to convince me that I was lowering my carbon footprint by reducing the CO2 I was putting in the air but I had to research how much CO2 was produced to make the added electricity – shocker – just as much. I was kind of annoyed. Geothermal has more than a 15 year payback if you really start adding the numbers up and to be honest, neither LEED or ENERGY STAR were cheering for them. Now I’m starting from scratch again to run all the numbers and check all my bids for best renewable energy options and overall cost efficiencies.

8.       In the Materials & Resources section, under point 31, I am pretty disappointed with how non-efficient our framing was. This is another rare where we did a lot of the things we needed to do and had major improvement over traditional framing but we still feel short over and over, missing point after point, so out of a maximum of 16, we’re only getting 11 points instead of my original projection of 14. Some of this is due to our wind zone issues and requirements for zoning which had to take precedent, but I was still bummed. We are doing awesome in MR2 and our waste management system (MR3) is doing excellent.

9.       One of our priorities going into this process was to have a home that had incredibly healthy indoor air quality and we have been striving for that from the onset. And it looks like we will max out the points we can get in this category, losing points for the garage, having a traditional masonry fireplace and for simply being in area that has the potential to someday, in some homes with poor ventilation, to have radon…even thought we aren’t and don’t we pretty much lose a point here. Lame.

10.    Awareness & Education is an area we are doing so much and it is an area you can only get 3 points, except we can only get 2 because we don’t have a building manager. Super LAME.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

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