78 Main St, Enfield, NH is the address of my family’s future home as well as my store’s new home. We would like this to be a model of energy efficiency; a place for people to get ideas for things they could implement in their own homes or new construction; and general information for how technology and the environment can work well together to help us move away from our dependency on oil.
We set a goal early on in this project to design for a Zero Energy Building (ZEB). All energy being used over the course of a year is generated by renewable sources. As we got into deeper discussion of what kinds of things we would be doing to get to zero energy, it occurred to me that the LEED certification for homes might also be a good measurement tool for this renovation project. ZEB is a term that refers only to the energy consumption/production of the building. LEED is looking at many environmental factors that are affected by building construction.
The US Green Building Council’s website states: “LEED for Homes is a rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. Green homes use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and are more durable and comfortable for occupants.”
I get excited about measuring systems and performance. I’m a believer that the numbers don’t lie. For my home I want to know how much energy is used, how much water is used, how many BTUs are required to heat the house, how much waste is generated. In our utility room on the first floor — part of the store showroom — I am planning on installing meters that can show these numbers real time.
The LEED system provides another kind of measurement for things that can’t necessarily put a meter on. LEED-H (for homes) is broken into 8 major categories:
- Innovation & Design Process – points are awarded for using an integrated team looking at all aspects of the building process to ensure cost-effective, durable, and regionally appropriate green design and construction strategies.
- Location & Linkages – points are awarded for location of the building relative to water sources, other buildings, communities, infrastructure that already exists, local transit options, access to open spaces.
- Sustainable Sites – points are awarded for care during construction, erosion control, environmentally sound landscaping, shading, non-toxic pest control.
- Water Efficiency – points are awarded for using rainwater, greywater or town recycled water, minimizing irrigation needs, and water efficient fixtures indoors.
- Energy & Atmosphere – points are awarded for Energy Star home rating (ZEB is much better than Energy Star), proper insulation, window and door efficiencies, minimize energy for heating and hot water, lighting, appliances, and renewable resources.
- Materials & Resources – points are awarded for optimizing use of construction materials (minimizing waste), using locally manufactured products, renewable, non-toxic materials.
- Indoor Environmental Quality – points are awarded for installing air quality measures, minimizing leakage into the home from combustion gases, moisture control, air to air heat recovery ventilation system, good kitchen and bath ventilation, radon mitigation as necessary.
- Awareness & Education – points are awarded for educating the inhabitants as well as the public about the steps taken to get certified.
Taking on these goals isn’t free. Both ZEB and LEED in the NH area require $2500-3500 (each) to hire the experts who provide training/education as well as their formal reports and recommendations. I have decided to pay this money so I can speak intelligently about the many different methods, products, processes, and tradeoffs that go into green building today. It’s good for my business. I am also excited to pass on as much of this information as desired to customers who visit in the store and blog readers.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions along the way… and keep looking for the ’78 Main’ blog titles (you can search for 78 Main, or click on the ‘tag’ called 78 Main). I will keep blogging to document this project.