Archive for June, 2009
LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Homes and building are certified as LEED based on a rating system. This rating system encompasses a broad spectrum of criteria. Everything is considered from the location and size of the building to materials and process used to install them. LEED is also the only green type of certification that requires third party verification.
One of the main advantages to LEED over other certifications is that it begins in the design phase. Before plans are drawn up the owners, architects, builder and key sub contractors like HVAC, plumbing and electrical, meet to discuss the design and ways to make the home more efficient and livable. The synergy created in this type of process produces a home that is very livable, healthy, sustainable, and has less impact on the environment.
The disadvantage is the cost. Third party verification requires hiring a LEED consultant to over see the process. LEED also requires a record keeping and inspections & testing through out the building process. All of this can add eight to ten thousand dollars to the cost of the home.
Although it is expensive LEED is clearly to most comprehensive certification process. With the third party verification, the record keeping and the testing done during the building process LEED far exceeds any other certification process available. Owners who buy or build a LEED certified homes defiantly know what they are getting.
On April 15, 2009, Laupen Homes LLC took over construction of the Cooper residence. This home is a very unique property. Located on the west side of Olympia, within walking distance of downtown, it features spectacular views of the downtown area, the state capitol building, Budd inlet and Mt. Rainier. This Mediterranean style home, designed by Tessa Smith is being built to achieve a LEED silver certification. This project should be only the fourteenth home in Washington state and the first in Olympia to be certified as LEED.
The home itself is being built using Amvic insulated concrete forms or ICF’s. ICF blocks, made of Styrofoam then filled with concrete, will give the house approximately an R31 insulation value in the walls. The interior walls and the roof will then be built from wood. The attic area will be insulated with spray foam. The end result will be an air-tight house that is very cost effective to heat and cool.
The lot for this home is very steep and has posed many difficulties and unexpected costs. Construction on the house had begun in September, but had been stalled for most of the winter. When we took over, the lower floor walls, main level sub floor, and two small retaining walls in front were all that was completed. In the first week we started by finishing the backfill, and excavating for more retaining walls.
We hope to finish the house by September in time for the Solar Tour sponsored by the Eco Builders Guild. Once complete this extremely energy efficient home will be a beautiful addition to the area and a very eco-friendly home.