Home 2.0 Blog Archive

Friday, December 16, 2016


LEED for Homes Kick-Off Meeting Recap

Last week the Oakley Home 2.0 'Green Team', which includes myself as the architect-developer, Mike Brown Construction as the builder, and Green Building Consulting as the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes Green Rater, gathered for the first time to formally discuss the LEED for Homes process as it relates to the Oakley Home 2.0 project set to start construction in the Spring of 2017. 
As a LEED Accredited Professional since 2007, and having worked on several LEED school buildings for my job as an Architect at SHP Leading Design, I went into the meeting somewhat familiar with what the certification was like for commercial projects, but the residential component of LEED was something I had no practical experience with. That said, the kick-off meeting made for a fantastic learning experience with 3 key takeaways I thought I would share below. 
  • (Takeaway #1) Be Mindful of the Pre-Requisites: The LEED for Homes Checklist is broken down into two categories: Pre-requisites that are required for all LEED projects, and Credits that add up to determine what Certification level a home will receive (i.e. Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum). Most projects that fail to achieve LEED are not due to lack of credits, but are a result of failing to comply with the pre-requisites like conducting all required LEED inspections and installing a Radon mitigation system, for example. To ensure nothing like this is missed, the 'Green Team' will continue with regular check-ins throughout construction to confirm all the pre-requisites are being tracked and executed properly.
  • (Takeaway #2) Increase Documentation: For young architects like myself who were trained to always incorporate sustainable design strategies into their projects regardless of LEED, the challenge with LEED is not so much about changing the building design, but about changing the way the building design and construction process is documented. LEED projects require significantly more documentation than what is required to bid, permit and build a building. This documentation includes everything from energy modeling, to photos of construction waste, to material sourcing information, all of which needs to be submitted for USGBC review and approval.
  • (Takeaway #3) Spread the Word: One of the major points of emphasis for the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in its LEED for Homes program is raising the general public's awareness of green building through its projects. To promote this idea, credits can be earned by hanging up LEED banners on construction sites, publishing articles about the LEED features of buildings in local newspapers, developing websites with educational content related to a projects sustainable design strategies, and hosting LEED focused open houses for the general public. While I probably won't go through with the specific requirements involved in hosting the LEED open houses for the Oakley Home 2.0, I do plan on promoting the project in the other ways mentioned and have already set aside a tab on the Oakley Home 2.0 Website, specifically dedicated to all things LEED related and plan to start adding to that in the near future.