LEED is changing. Are you ready?

So here we are, October 2016.

Those of us in the green building world know this is a big month.

The universe’s largest green building certification program is about to do an upgrade. You knew it was coming for a long time, similar to a Windows upgrade; you know you need to do it, but you just have been so busy and pushing the “upgrade later” button. In 2014 you collectively pushed it for the last time and instead opted for a small upgrade that didn’t require a restart. But now, here we are in 2016 and the upgrade is coming and it has to come and so you might be scrambling the last min to make the preparations and make sure you are ready even though you don’t feel like you are!

The construction market is back up; green building is trending as a 80 billion dollar industry (soon), and now there is 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere with no end in sight. Asthma and poor indoor air quality are on the rise and some cities Like Grand Rapids, MI where I am from, construction waste is reported to make up the largest portion of landfill waste.

LEED cannot solve all our environmental problems but can serve as a guide and standard when the time to act is now. Buildings and homes account for a majority of energy sources; their location can influence driving, and they have a big impact on our health.

The new version of LEED is going to be more difficult in many ways, more energy efficiency requirements (especially for rural or less connected projects), more thought will need to go into where you source materials from, where they are going at the end of their life and if your no VOC paint is certified to be so. For multifamily buildings we need to make sure apt units are communicating less to ensure occupant health and comfort, water pressure is being tested to reduce leaks and ensure flow rates work.

These changes are different, but they are good. The good news is for Homes projects; you will see a reduction in paperwork, no more chasing subs for signatures, no more durability plans required as it is all done in energy stare and just 1 signed workbook plus a few photos and energy reports. Another bonus is water performance calculations that allow the client to decide what is more important to them, similar to energy modeling and reduce in those areas (outside, kitchen etc)

If you aren’t ready yet that is ok, we are here to help you clear off your desktop before the upgrade restarts you construction process on 10/31.

Submit your project inquiry now, and we can help you get registered asap under v2008/2009. You won’t have to pay for 90 days, giving you time to secure funds or back out in Mid January if you cannot. No commitment.

Ready to take the plunge?

On November 2nd we are hosting 2 back to two back free CEU (APH) webinars on this topic.

The first webinar is a basic understanding of LEED for Homes and how it works(updated for V4) and the 2nd session 30 minutes after is a comparison on the differences of V2008 VS V4 for homes Home, multifamily and Mid to high rise mixed use buildings.

Sign up now as space is limited!

Finally, if you want to get the full education, check out our recently launched understanding LEED for Homes V4 on demand series where we take a deep dive in each of the categories (energy, EQ etc) and compare the differences of 2008 vs. v4

Thank you for your commitment in marking homes healthier and more sustainable! 

GreenStar Homes Certification Program Update

July 2016 GreenStar Homes Certification Program Update 
Ext

Summary of changes 

  1. New construction home size adjuster removed
  2. Home size credited expanded
  3. No changes to square feet credit removed
  4. Numbering is fixed!
  5. Updates made to drought tolerant / adaptive or native plants
  6. WaterSense water budget tool for outdoor water performance added.
  7. GreenStar Qualification requirement education opportunity.

These changes may have impacted your existing project workbook, if your project was registered or you plan to register it soon, AND you were impacted negatively, please let us know so we can just adjust your points. You must register by the end of July.

Catch the 30 min webinar here 
Download the slide handouts 

New Construction Home Size Adjuster removed 

We have removed the new construction home size adjuster and instead created a New Construction credit. Now, just like when selecting the project (remodel, addition, etc. Project cert project level, you can simply select new construction and desired certification level. This remains in section 1 but has been moved to the over prerequisite category.

Home size credit moved and updated. New added square feet credit removed

The Home Size credit has been updated to rewarded smaller homes all the way down to “tiny home” size starting 750. We also removed all health and water credits associated with this since those have little to do with home size.  This credit now also applies to new homes since the home size adjuster was removed. Note this credit had its category along with with the credit that rewarded for not increasing square feet in a remodel.  It has now been moved right into the 2.2 Design section.   Also, we have updated the language to reflect how to measure a home which now under ANSI Standard Z765-2003.  Multifamily projects will use average unit size for this credit.

Numbering is fixed!

It has been a long time but yes, the numbering is finally all matched up. Also, several sections have now changed what their numbers use to be. If you create alternative documents, it always best to name the credits too, just so that you can reference it if the number changes. Section 1 is now overall prerequisites (use to be section 2) and section 2 is now preconstruction design strategies (formally Section 3) and so on.  Also, Air leakage reduction has been moved in section 2 and some sections in finishes and materials have been moved to lower numbers, properly ordering that section.

 WaterSense water budget tool & drought tolerant plants 

Drought tolerant / Native plantings have been moved out of Irrigation and moved to Plantings/trees section.  Also, this section was updated to award Land (place) points for these categories, and the section was expanded to rewarded for 30% of the landscape incorporating these plant types.   – 3.3.6 Plantings have been removed because of this Water sense water budget tool has been incorporated into the program.We have been altered to the fact that in some cases greenstar rewards more for irrigation system vs having a landscape plan that does not require irrigation. This is one of the efforts to fix that issue.  You can now collect more points for achieving 60% or more of a reduction below the baseline of your project type. This already rewards for Land (place) points at higher levels since those will require native/adaptive plantings.

 Greenstar Qualification opportunity update

We have updated the online on-demand education to become Greenstar qualified. The idea is that anyone looking to certify a project should have a very basic understanding of the residential green building. The course you need to take is called The Basics of Residential Green (Re) Building & introduction to GreenStar Homes certification. These two courses total 4 hours of education and two open note quizzes that you can take at your own speed. Use coupon code GSHqualified to get 75% of the course(s) costs. Both of these courses can count toward your GreenHome Associates, which can get you more credit in the system. Remember this is just of the four ways to get qualified.

PS: Radon only needs to be tested on homes without systems. Currently, you do not need to test homes with passive systems but it is highly recommended. Here is a very neat resource on Radon for your clients. 

Learn more about GreenStar Here

Grand Teton Eco-Smart Home goes LEED Platinum & Zero Energy Capable in IL

7 Free Tools from the Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) Program

Sustainable building is changing. Green Home Institute is proud to announce along with Earth Advantage, BuildingGreen, HeatSpring, NESEA, and many of the industry’s top thinkers, that we are teaming up to relaunch the Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) Program . The course launches in Fall 2015 with room for just 30 professionals. (click to learn more about becoming an SBA). GreenHome Institute will be serving as your feet on the street, in person project mentors to help you build greener and better and complete your SBA.

Here are 7 powerful free tools and lectures you can start on right now:

  1. Free Tool: Sustainable Building Advisor Student Guide
  2. Free Tool: Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) Practice Test
  3. Free Lecture: “Integrative Design Process” with Bill Reed
  4. Free Lecture: “Life-Centered Design” with Carol Venolia
  5. Free Lecture: “Electrical Loads in High Performance Buildings” with Chris Calwell
  6. Free Lecture: “Low Carbon Building” with Bruce King
  7. Free Lecture: “High Performance Building Assemblies” with Peter Yost

Sustainable Building Advisor Program Starts October 19th!

You’ll meet great people, master new skills, and learn to see buildings in a new way. The course culminates with a capstone that offers real-world project experience.

Sustainable Building Advisors are architects, planners, builders, engineers, consultants, and building operators who value resilience, whole system thinking, and sustainable practices.

Becoming a Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) is a three step process:

  1. Core Curriculum, including full membership at BuildingGreen.com and instruction from some of the world’s top sustainability experts.
  2. Project Experience, delivered within your local community by an approved field provider. – View a List of Current Providers
  3. Exam, which can be taken any time, at your own computer.

Continuing Education – CEUS – 10+ hours in 

  • GreenHome Professional (GHP)
  • Pending
    • GBCI
    • AIA (HSW)
    • NARI Green
    • NGBS
    • AIBD
    • State design or contractor liscences may apply

Registration includes full 1-year membership at BuildingGreen.com. You’ll use BuildingGreen’s tools, research, and data as part of your core SBA learning experience. Read more about each SBA program component.

Intro to LEED for Homes V4 – What is the difference? Webinar

LEED Building Design and Construction for Homes version 4 (V4) is in many ways different than the previous 2008 version. Come learn about the changes LEED4Hversion4-01that will take place and be ready for the October 31 2016 release before it comes. LEED for Homes v4 applies to new construction and major rehabs single family homes, neighborhoods, multifamily low, mid, high rise and mixed use buildings. Learn how you can use the program and now and be ahead of the game before the launch date.  We will discuss what’s new, what stayed the same and answer questions to help you understand V4 better.

Who?

Builders, Designers, Architect, Developers, Remodelers, Researches and Policy Makers who have past LEED for Homes experience and understanding.

Lessons Learned

  • Know  the basics of the new credits or credit changes in V4 vs 2008
  • Understand what credits remained the same
  • Know where to find more resources on LEED v4
  • Know who can help you in your market achieve V4 LEED

CEUS – 1 hour

  • AIA (HSW)
  • GBCI – LEED H Specific
  • NARI Green
  • CGP
  • AIBD
  • State design & contractor licence may apply

Presenter & Developer – Jay Hall, Ph.D, LEED APH “Jay has 30 years experience in market transformation, sustainable design of buildings, and energy efficiency. He is an expert in building energy modeling, and green building verification. Jay earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University. In 1989, he began with ICF International as a consultant working on EPA’s Jay HallENERGY STAR market transformation programs. Since 2004, Jay has provided independent consulting services to the US Green Building Council in developing the LEED for Homes program. Jay was Acting Director for LEED for Homes for two years. He is also the lead programmatic and verification consultant for the Green Communities Offset Fund. Jay has served on the Home Depot Foundation Awards of Excellence Selection Committee; the Habitat for Humanity International Partnership for Sustainable Buildings Advisory Committee; and, The Healthy House Institute Advisory Board. Jay is also a LEED Faculty member.  Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, for the past 25 years, Jay and his wife, Kim, have resided with their two sons in Annapolis, Maryland. Jay Hall & Associates.

 Steps to access the program and get your completion certificate

1. Download the PPT Slide Handout Guide

2. Watch the recording here.

3. Complete the quiz below

4. Pay the non member ce submittal fee (Members get free submittal) – PAY HERE

JL Wageman Homes: New Home Bronze

MNGS New Home Bronze Logo

JL Wageman Homes

J.L. Wageman Homes, a true custom Builder, is now experienced in achieving the MN GreenStar standards with building of this certified home.  Planning from start to finish is the main key to incorporate the 5 elements of building green.  The energy efficiency of geothermal heating system, the resource efficiency of the reclaimed granite countertops in the kitchen and baths, indoor environmental quality of low voc paints and hard surface flooring, the water conservation using low flow toilets and faucets, rain gardens, and native plantings in the landscaping and the site and community impact of restored prairie lands and maintained excavated soil to reuse on site.  These are just a few of the highlights that makes this home energy efficient and durable now and being sustainable in the years to come.  Let J.L. Wageman Homes expertise work for you.

By Jerry Wageman, JL Wageman Homes

JL Wageman Homes - Fireplace  JL Wageman Homes - Kitchen

For more information on this project visit www.jlwagemanhomes.com.

Creek Hill Custom Homes: New Home Bronze

New Home Bronze
Creek Hill Custom Homes

When Rick and Adrienne Harrison contacted Michael Hillesheim of Creek Hill Custom Homes Inc. to build their new home according to MN GreenStar qualifications, Mike eagerly accepted the opportunity to learn more about “Green” building hands on.  Creek Hill Custom Homes has always built a great quality home for their buyer(s) but now the challenge was to build a home with respect to the future.

The building site/lot was formerly park land that had been used as a fill site.  Soil corrections were accomplished by using the soil on site.  The house was built with energy efficient walls.  A metal roof was used as well as other energy efficient fixtures and building materials.

Our subcontractors were made more aware of environmental impact and material conservation.  They have carried this awareness and conservation on into other new construction.  Our framers now use materials more efficiently and conservatively after building a MN GreenStar house.

The Harrison’s and Creek Hill Custom Homes Inc. are proud of the achievement of building a certified MN GreenStar home and contributing to a better future for everyone.

By Barb Fisher, Creek Hill Custom Homes

For more information on this project visit www.creekhillcustomhomes.com.

Lumber One Cold Spring: New Home Bronze

New Homes Bronze
Lumber One

I remember becoming very excited about the possibility of being included in the MN GreenStar pilot program.  Sustainability along with energy, water and resource conservation have always been a high priority for me and my family.  My background includes growing up on a farm in Southwestern Minnesota.  Learning how to best use natures resources was a high priority of my Dads.  I remember being proud of him when he was featured in a local farm paper for his soil conservation/preservation practices i.e. contour terraces to keep the soil from being washed into the local watershed.  Looking back he was well ahead of the EPA’s storm water programs.

My interest in science led me to St Cloud State University to study for a triple (comprehensive) major in biology, chemistry and physics.  Prior to working in the home building and remodeling business I taught chemistry, biology and physics.  While teaching I built my 2nd home utilizing advanced insulation techniques, one of the first 82% efficient furnaces along with one of the highest rated air conditioners being controlled by a set back thermos stat.

In 1982 I began my career as a new home salesperson with Lumber One Cold Spring.  Since then I have helped nearly 600 families build their dream homes.  From starter homes to executive homes to homes where families can age in place utilizing universal building techniques.

Working with everyone at MN GreenStar through out the planning, building and inspection and certification phases has been seamless.  I finished my home just in time for the Central Minnesota Spring Tour of Homes in the spring of 2008.  Since then I have had it open for the fall tour of 2008 and spring tour of 2009.  I have had approximately 3000 people thru the home.  When folks enter the home, I say welcome to my green built home.  I get two responses, that is why I am here or what do you mean?  A perfect opportunity to explain the complete process.  When asked how much the “green” features added, the universal response was wow, that is less than I expected.

Thanks again for the opportunity of working with MN GreenStar on my 3rd party certified home.  I look forward to utilizing as many of these concepts I can in all of my future custom built homes.

By Jim Green, Lumber One Cold Spring

For more information on this project visit www.lumber-one.com.