: Bend's Abacus GC takes lead on LEED-H green home certification
Bend's Abacus GC takes lead on LEED-H green home certification
by Bend Weekly News Sources
Homebuilder, designer and developer Abacus GC is the first Central Oregon company to participate in the U.S. Green Building Council's new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for homes. LEED-H is the most rigorous residential green building standard in U.S.
Now in the final phase of construction, the Newport District Modern House Project is on course to become the area's first LEED-H rated homes. According to LEED-H certifier Bruce Sullivan of Earth Advantage, the homes are projected to save about 54% in energy consumption over standard code-built homes. Features such as ductless heating, blown-in insulation, rooftop solar panels, wheatboard cabinets, Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood framing, airtight construction, indoor ventilation systems and high energy efficiency will contribute to the project's final LEED-H rating.
"LEED-H requires enormous ongoing scrutiny and lots of documentation and record keeping," Sullivan says. "Participating in this program takes substantial commitment on the part of builder, and Abacus has made that commitment."
Sullivan says the occupants of LEED-H rated homes benefit from a healthier, more efficient living space. The community benefits because new development is properly scaled, fits within the community and uses fewer resources, such as water and electricity. And builders benefit because, as surveys spanning the last 20 years indicate, consumers want the option of buying "green" homes.
Abacus recently sponsored Central Oregon's first LEED-H workshop, which was attended by some 40 participants, representing 15 local and Portland-based companies.
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- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes now being pilot tested by the US Green Building Council is a good start, however it still requires a lot of work. In particular it is weak in the area of implementing renewable energy systems in buildings, in particular "passive solar" which is almost never mentioned except as an afterthought.
Also solar in general is restricted largely to PV electric panel systems that are not yet cost effective without subsidies, compared to solar water heating which is, but is well buried in the guide.
Until these and other errors and omissions are fixed LEED for Homes will permit builders to blow off important potential energy savings while grand-fathering in traditional measures; insulation, expensive windows, air-tightness...so much for an innovative approach to green building.
Just because a consultant has "LEED AP" after their name does not mean they actually know anything substantial about building science, materials properties, indoor environment, site development, water conservation and other important practicum of the art. Insist on seeing other references to training they have obtained, BESIDES just the LEED exam prep workshops.
Good luck on finding that truly green builder. Fortunately for Oregonians they are out there since OR has historically been ahead of the curve on energy efficiency, passive solar, and IEQ. Final note: getting true green is about a holistic team approach - ask the builder who was on their environmental building team and you might be surprised at the answer.
(Find some excellent info at: www.oikos.com)
(Posted on February 3, 2007, 10:42 am B D H)