by DAN VOS
Vos Energy Concepts
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a process that has to be started at the design stage of a buildings construction. There are meetings held with all people involved in the design and building of the structure so that everyone knows their assignments and works together to smoothly complete the project. The green building council is involved in confirming and registering the project, and a LEED-certified inspector is involved in the process throughout.
Recycling of the waste materials is done as much as possible and has to be certified and counted on a weight or volume basis. We must reach a certain percentage of recycled material to trash material in order to even qualify for certification, and this has to be well documented. Some of the things that I’ve found to be recyclable are drywall, roofing material and wood scraps, along with the normal: cardboard, metals, foam, etc.
LEED certification is a point-based system. You get points for energy conservation, renewable energy, and environmental concerns. Water conservation is important. I know we live in the Great Lakes state and take fresh clean water for granted until we get our water bill, then conservation starts to make sense. Some of the things considered are a dual flush toilet—one button for “number one” (liquids) and a second button for “number two” (solids)—low flow showers and faucets, rainwater collection and use, and a high-efficiency irrigation system.
The other areas that are addressed are framing efficiency, wheelchair access, environmentally preferred products, heating efficiencies and installation, ventilation, mold and radon protection, windows, water heating, lighting, appliances and durability reports.
I know you’re probably bored stiff by now with all of my fact listing and no gabbing, but I’m not good at telling jokes, so you’ll have to go back to the editor’s page for relief.
Other things considered are regional design, community resources, landscaping, homeowner education, and on we go. I’m sorry, I’ve even bored myself now.
As you can see, there is a lot of extra work involved in building a LEED home. It does cost more to build and it does cost more to have it certified. Now you know why. Is it worth it? Some people like to have written proof of the qualifications of their home, and others will pay more for a LEED-certified home, knowing exactly what they are buying. To these people, yes, it is worth it.