LEED GOLD home in Mt. Adams features contemporary design and low maintenance, sustainable materials
This new construction home is attempting USGBC certification to become a LEED Gold home, which will achieve a tax abatement on $562,000 for 15 years on the structure (an additional five years is added to the ten-year tax abatement for building in Cincinnati). LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a U.S. Green Building Council certification program that recognizes best-in-class building practices for energy efficiency, sustainability, and occupant health.
The LEED for Homes Rating System provides a basis for quantifying the benefits of green homes, thereby facilitating the widespread construction of more sustainable homes. One of the first steps in planning a LEED Gold home or any other LEED home is to adjust the certification thresholds based on the material and energy impacts. All else being equal, a large home consumes more materials and energy than a small home over its life cycle. LEED compensates for these impacts by adjusting the thresholds for each award level. Thresholds for smaller-than-average homes are lowered, and thresholds for larger-than-average homes are raised. The 999 Parkside Place, Gavrilova Residence is a 2,378 sq. ft. floor area home with four bedrooms. One designed to be an office as well.
To maximize the opportunities for integrated, cost-effective adoption of green design and construction practices the builder/developer GreenBau, Tony Beck, assembled an integrated project team with the participation of Green Building Consultants (the local LEED for Homes Certification Provider) and all team members involved in various project phases. They held monthly meetings to review project status, introduce new team members to the project goals, discuss problems encountered, formulate solutions, review responsibilities and identify next steps.
Qualifying as a LEED Gold Home
The LEED Certification system is broadly categorized into five equally important parts that demonstrate measurable environmental benefits: Site, Water, Energy, Materials, and Indoor Environment Quality. The following is a review of the features of this home according to the LEED for Homes system, which also includes the design process.
The LEED Innovation and design process include a durability management section that promotes durability and high performance of the building enclosure, its components, and systems through appropriate design, materials selection and construction. The home’s plans include the following features: No paper backed backer board or carpet in the tub, shower and spa areas, no carpet within three ft. of the entryway, drain and drain pans for tank water heaters and clothes washers in or over living areas, exhaust conventional clothes dyers directly to outdoors. A third-party verified these durability conditions.
The home also achieved regional design recognition for the location being accessible to a bike network and public transit access.
LEED Gold home site selection
Site selection is a very important aspect of sustainable homes. This home isn’t in a floodplain or built within 100’ of water or wetlands. The infill site with existing infrastructure didn’t replace prime farmland or parkland and build on habitat for threatened or endangered species.
The Location and Linkages category credits include benefits for locating the home in a walkable neighborhood demonstrated by having at least seven basic community resources within ½ mile. This home received credit for having many basic community resources within 1.2 miles, such as arts and entertainment center, bank, convenient store, daycare, fire station, cleaner, library, pharmacy, place of worship and schools. The highly desired urban location encourages walking, physical activity, and time spent outdoors.
The Sustainable Sites category of credits includes prerequisites to prevent construction runoff from damaging sewers and preserve topsoil. The infill site minimized disturbed area of the site.
Other steps toward a LEED Gold home
The home integrated nontoxic pest control methods by sealing external cracks, joints, etc. with caulking and installed pest –proof screens. There are no wood-to-concrete connections. Tony treated all cellulosic (wood type) material with borate product to 3′ above foundation as an additional pest control measure.
Water efficiency measures include lavatory faucets 1.2 gpm (gallons per minute) for two points, toilets are dual flush and have an averaged flow rate of 1.04 gpf (gallons per flush) for two points, and all shower-heads and hand-faucets are 2.0 gpm, for one point.
Energy and Atmosphere benefits feature a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) analysis verification. No ozone damaging HCFC refrigerants are used in the air conditioning system. Hot water lines were insulated to a minimum of R4.
The choice of building materials is important for sustainable homebuilding because of the extraction, processing, and transportation they require. Activities to produce building materials may pollute the air and water, destroy natural habitats, and deplete natural resources. Construction and demolition waste constitutes about 40% of the total solid waste stream in the United States.
Indoor environmental quality included no unvented combustion appliances; all fireplaces have doors, and space, water-heating equipment is designed with closed combustion. Prerequisites included bathroom and kitchen exhausts meeting ASHRAE Standard 62.2 airflow requirements, air is exhausted to outdoors with an Energy Star labeled bathroom exhaust.
About the author and builder, Tony Beck,
Tony is second generation in the building industry. From working alongside his father as a young boy, building was a part of life. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati in Construction Management, staying in Cincinnati was a priority. As a result, he chose to work for Messer Construction Co. On projects from manufacturing buildings to preschools to parking garages to condominiums, Tony experienced a variety of construction types including LEED certified. From landscaping while in school, being green has been an important part of Tony’s life. As a member of the NAHB, he became a Certified Green Professional, to make Green Building a part of his professional life as well. Tony is also a member of the Cincy Blues Society and can be found at many UC Bearcat sporting events.