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We are Certifiable....well at least by the USGBC! So it is a wrap, done with the paper work, inspections, meetings with building scientists (for now), ect. So what did it all mean? Was it worth it? Why did you do it? And how much did it cost.....
We felt that it was important to meet the level of rigor required by the LEED process. We have noticed that many people & developers have said that their homes are “LEED-like” , because of all the things they did & the items purchased for their project. Understanding the building as a whole, as a system that performs better when the parts work together. For example our mechanical system works better because of the air sealing, insulation, high performance window package, and site design. It is the process of the project, less the products of the project.
We learned so much from the 3rd party inspections, to have that additional set of eyes reviewing the construction process- which you don’t have if your house is “LEED-like”. If you don’t want to pay the for the LEED certification process, at least hire a 3rd party inspector. They are beholden to you the client, and is not obligated to the contractor . Southface can offer that service. Simple air sealing, can be caught early and can save you so much $$$ in the future. Since we did all the LEED paperwork & Southface did the inspections ~it cost ½ what a typical $5k-$7k consultant fee.
Because we are participating in the Build for America program, we will have performance monitoring on the house for the next year. We’ve had several meetings with building scientists about the Geo-thermal system. The number of sensors on the house is pretty amazing. They have seen the pattern of our life~ when we wake, shower, eat, work, sleep, and do it all over again. We have learned that our pond pump, is the most costly device in the household.
Some issues with LEED drove me crazy. Our studio was designed so in the future it could be 2 bedrooms, which we lost points for~ we could have had a higher rating. Never mind the fact we have zero commute for 2 people, because our studio is in our home. Some materials could not earn points because they did not have verification, but we wanted to use what was made here in Atlanta ( the local economy earns points in our scale..). But we can always have them comeback to inspect the green roof when we can afford to install it, and the studio is turned into 2 bedrooms… get the Platinum rating we want.
We built the house& pool in 263 days. Everyday someone was working on the house. We were lucky with the weather, and the site was never shut down. This is the 2nd house we have built for ourselves, and we love it! That is pretty good.
Check-out new photos.