the building of a leed green home
This modern-style LEED Green Home was built in Alden, NY in 2015. The home is a one-story, single family, 3,200 sq. ft. home. This was a passionate project as well as a great learning experience for architect Mark Dean who put great effort into trying for a platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. This home goes beyond the usual Energy Star appliances and LED light bulbs that most people use to save money. To reach the platinum level of LEED Green that he is hoping for, you have to build not only for energy efficiency, but you have to build in a way that uses less lumber, and less waste overall. LEED calls for a dumpster from a company who will find a way to reuse nearly all of the waste from the build so it doesn't end up in a landfill. We used Triad/ Guard Contracting out of Tonawanda, who kept track of the amount of waste for us. For this home, it should be less than 2lbs. per sq. ft.
The home was built slab on grade (no basement) with heated floors. There is also no attic, so all the plumbing and electrical had to be integrated through the roof joists. The studs are 24" on center, rather than the usual 16". This was done to save lumber. The walls were insulated with spray foam and then covered with batt insulation and sealed tight before the drywall went up. The home is very "tight" to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Because of the tightness of the home, the HVAC includes an air transfer unit to bring in fresh air.
The home is very "tight" to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Because of the tightness of the home, the HVAC includes an air transfer unit to bring in fresh air. The windows for this home were made by Marvin Windows and are double paned energy rated windows. Solar panels were installed on a pole barn near the home, and were installed by Collegiate Builders (the electric bill for the summer totaled less than $3 total for all three months) Mr. Dean is hoping with the amount of solar power being sold back to NYSEG this summer, that the bill will stay near this amount even throughout the cold winter months.
The home has LED light fixtures and bulbs throughout, energy efficient fans, appliances and low water use toilets. The showerheads also have a water restrictive valve to conserve water.
We don't know just yet if the home is gold or platinum LEED green. Paperwork is being filed and an air blow test has yet to be conducted to show how air tight the home is. Representatives from the Green Building Council were at the home periodically as it was being built, to make sure things were being done correctly and to give suggestions or help when needed.
This home did not come without its challenges though. LEED Green homes are still few and far between in this area, which means that most contractors and tradesmen are unfamiliar with the standards that need to be met and the ways in which they have to do things to meet them. There were many hours of frustrating conversations on how to accomplish things that posed difficult and seemed impossible, but they always found a way.
We hope this home opens doors in this area to others looking to be more Earth friendly. It is definitely proof that you can help save the world and still have your dream home.