Monday, May 7, 2007


I am starting this blog because I am managing a project involving the construction of a LEED®-H building in Greenbush, Minnesota, a rural community of 793 people.

The building process alone is an arduous one and the green building aspect is an additional layer of potential chaos.

Or is it? Theoretically, green building should neither cost more nor be extremely difficult to do. The trick is to design everything upfront, with everything working together in an integrated system. For example, installing better windows will reduce your heating load requirements and minimize your heating system size. But how far do you go? How do you know if your building is “green”? What additional costs are there to get a building certified as green?

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System to create a benchmark for high-performance buildings. While it is by no means the only green building rating system out there, it has become the most recognized nationally, and many governments have specified LEED certification for future buildings. LEED-Homes, a newer program set to be officially released this summer, addresses the challenging aspects of the residential sector.

And while LEED-H is sure to create a high-performance building, can it be done in a rural community, for a price that justifies the means? Just how dubious will the process be and could a typical person understand it? How much better does it actually make the home and are there any obvious changes that need to be made?

And aside from LEED, what about green building in a rural community in general? Are contractors willing to learn new things and what challenges will we face? How can we utilize local vendors and materials and continue to stimulate their economy?

This blog should hopefully answer some of these questions along the way, and if not, hopefully it will generate some interesting discussions. At the very least it will be a complete record of the process of building a LEED-Home.

If you ever have any questions, please ask!

Remember, it’s not black or white, it’s green.

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