LEED for Homes Point by Point – Sustainable Sites

Normally today would be Abby’s Blog but we promised our point information daily for 7 days. Today we overview:

Sustainable Sites :: 14.5 points achieved out of 22 points available::

This was another area where there were a lot of points available and very achievable as long as you applied the thought and planning and site stewardship to your plan. We hired John Carter, a local licensed landscape architect who not only brought his talent but his expertise and guidance to our landscaping plan and overall site design. John’s plan took everything into account from protecting the site during construction to redeveloping the lot when we were done. The piece of property we purchased had sat neglected for nearly 30 years when we took ownership. The few plants on the lot were choked with invasive vines and overgrowth, and slowly dying of disease. The turf was nothing more than crabgrass, riddled with scrub and burdened by undernourished, compacted soil.

John’s landscape design plan was created to both beautify the property and accent the house while rehabilitating the lot back to a healthy, thriving condition. Taking into account the guidance of LEED-H, our plan mandated that our turf area was seeded with a blended grass mixture of native, drought-tolerant, disease resistant seed with a deep root system to ensure a hearty lawn that required minimum irrigation and no chemicals. Our goal included reducing our irrigation demand by at least 60% from our baseline water usage, we achieved 59%.

Our efforts included reducing local heat island affects which means that are hard surfaces (which were minimized to a 120 sq/ft permeable entry walk) were a light-colored, high-albedo natural stone that had a Mixed color of light gray, pale beige, white stone pavers and a Solar reflectance range of .35 – .45 based on variations in shade and color; the thermal emittance was .9 for a Solar Reflective Index range of 38-52 (we had to be higher than 29).

Our surface water management plan called for our lot to be 100% permeable. We accomplished this through extensive landscaping, stepping stone walkways and a really beautiful soft beige pea stone driveway.

We took numerous considerations for nontoxic pest control including sealing external cracks and joints, requiring no wood-to-concrete connections, and having a solid surface concrete foundation.

Our one acre lot afforded us zero points for compact development, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

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