In our last article, we introduced you to a program where Habitat affiliates can team up with local professionals looking at becoming LEED AP’s and also obtaining LEED Certifications on their buildings (at no cost to them). In this series we are going to take you through the EverBuildPRO process & the actual construction of a LEED Platinum project in Athens, Alabama. While this is the Athens / Limestone Counties (ALC) first project with the EverBuildPRO, it is not their first LEED home as they have already completed at least 5 other ones; 3 Gold & 2 Platinum so some of the typical steps one would do for a LEED project have already been completed.
Dec. 11th: The kickoff meeting was held at ALC’s main office around 6 PM if memory serves me correctly. The kickoff meeting is open to anyone wanting to learn about the project & see if they wish to partake. After introductions it was mainly a high level overview of the process, who & what USGBC is, the LEED Certifications, who & what Habitat is, and the family they are building for. At this time we scheduled our next meeting which is to determine the preliminary rating. (Scheduled Time: 2 – 3 hours)
Jan. 3rd: As mentioned above this is not ALC’s first rodeo, and they basically already know what points they are going to go for & should be able to achieve. For most commercial & custom home LEED projects this meeting would be considered a design charrette and would not be completed as fast, & generally not after the foundation was already poured. During this meeting we went over some of the basics like what climate zone we are in, what is a HERS score, and then the entire LEED for Homes checklist.
A few interesting things I picked up is that LEED actually has their own McMansion penalty, but better yet a credit for homes under a certain Square Footage which gives this project an easy 10 points reduction. I was slightly surprised that they opted out for an easy 13 points with the EPA Indoor airPLUS certification on their house when all the specs say they have it. As we were going through the checklist and listening to Debra Miller go through everything, I had a flashback to an article I read from Carl Seville about this which is a lot easier to read than my notes… How to Cheat* at LEED for Homes followed up by Part 2 – Tougher & Double Secret Points.
Jan 9th & 10th – ICF walls:
The project officially kicked off on the 9th and I managed to stop by on the 10th (& as I still hadn’t gotten a copy of the schedule yet) stopped by to see how things were going and what the plan was. When I first arrived I felt sorry for all the volunteers (this week- Ohio Notre Dame College Students) because the red clay in this area & the rain can make a real mess. Not only was this an issue but instead of being able to work to keep warm, almost everyone was forced to stand around, while the skid steer operator cleared up some excess gravel that was in the way (far left of picture shows what had to be removed).
The first course was already cut & laid out, but because the gravel was in the way they couldn’t get it all squared up. After this was taken care of some of the volunteers started helping get everything squared up as I helped unload all the braces they required before I had to split.
While waiting for the skid steer operator to clear up the area, I got to talk to a few volunteers, the son, and the ICF contractor. It’s nice talking to people whose spirits are not dampened even by the weather (While it was in the 50’s it was cloudy, wet, windy with a nice chance of severe storms heading in). As for the schedule – they were planning on getting the walls all up & braced on Wednesday (severe storms were supposed to be over with by the morning), while they cut in all the doors & windows on Thursday (today). By tomorrow night, all the walls should be poured & they can start the framing. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t playing nice yesterday (lots of rain) and I think they are in for a long day today. On the fortunate side, with the temps dropping down into the low 20’s we won’t be sinking into the mud for the first part of the day as the walls get poured.
The top picture is of the official job sign & the second one was taken as I was leaving and they were working on getting things squared up. Tomorrow I plan on being there for the full day & assuming the volunteers that are there this week don’t mind hopefully getting a picture of them. Besides getting shots of the ICF walls, we will hopefully be able to do a quick interview the ICF contractor which I recall not only donated all his time but managed to get quite a few discounts on much of the material.
For more on this series as the Athens Limestone County Habitat group goes for LEED Platinum, the project, & how we came to be involved in it…