Posts Tagged ‘LEED Certified Projects’

Teran Residence – the history

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In April 2009, Rookwood Building Group was approached by a client interested in purchasing a residential building site in the historic Cincinnati hillside community of Mt. Adams. Formerly known as Mt. Ida, its name changed to Mt. Adams in 1843, after John Quincy Adams visited the area to dedicate the world’s most powerful observatory. Mt. Adams sits on one of Cincinnatis seven hills, with commanding views of Cincinnati and the Ohio River. The area was once a working-class neighborhood, populated with blue-collar employers such as an iron foundry, wooden shoe and fireworks factories, the Rookwood Pottery Company, a vineyard and limestone quarries. Mt. Adams once sat 100 feet higher before having its topography changed by mining activities.

Today, given the enchanting diversity of architecture, the steep, narrow streets and the scenic views of Cincinnati and the riverfront, Mt. Adams is highly prized by professionals working in the city and creative individuals such as writers and artists. Other than the commute to work, which for most is a short drive down the hill into the city, everyone walks. Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – the approval processes

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Having prepared the conceptual plans for this residence, it was requested that I make a presentation to the client explaining the merits of a LEED for Homes green construction policy. This perhaps was the easiest sell I had ever been involved in during the all the years working in the residential sector. The City of Cincinnati offers tax incentives to commercial and residential projects that achieve LEED certification. A 15 year tax abatement up to $500,000 for any level of certification. Five minutes and it was a done deal. The client agrees to go for the Certified level at an estimated additional construction cost of $5,000 – $8,000. Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – the design

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Note: This rendering was created from the original project scope 

The site is approximately 23 feet in width at the front and 126 feet in depth with 25 feet of fall toward the rear, with approved side yard setbacks of 0 feet on the west (left) and 18 inches on the east (right). However, the foundation of the residence to the west is on the property line and poses a concern with the new construction jeopardizing the integrity of the old foundation. We get a bit of a break on the right side due to the fact that the Art Academy has a 2 foot wide x 20 foot high stone wall running parallel to the common property line, but 6 foot inside the property line, creating a no-man zone. The builder had been advised by his soils testing engineer that he should maintain a 5 foot wide zone where no heavy equipment Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – the green design

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There was no direction offered by the client with regard to their green perceptions or expectations. In fact, there was little green discussion whatsoever, other than leaving it up to the project team to design and incorporate responsible green strategies into their new home. As we inform all clients, in the end, local building codes, prerequisites and durability items addressed by the LEED for Homes Green Building Rating System and quality construction practices take care of the vast majority of what is needed to deliver an entry level green home. Toss in a few optional sustainable credits and the builder will deliver to their client a LEED Certified home. However, this only turns the keys over to the client for a high performance green home. The new homeowner must understand, as with a new car, they have to learn how to drive and maintain it in order to achieve the performance over time they expected when they made their purchase decision. Drive irresponsibly without performing maintenance on that new car, and the owner will likely be disappointed and blame the car for not performing to the level of their expectations. A high performance green home is no different. It is essential that the builder provide sufficient education to the new homeowner as to their responsibilities. Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – the LEED process overview

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Another reason this project is probably not a typical model for illustrating the LEED for Homes process is due to the fact the builder, being both a design and build company, interfaced directly with the client, providing project design, construction documents and construction activities. This circumvents the usual role of the architect and eliminates the initial disconnect between client and builder, making the process more transparent and fluid. This is not meant to diminish the role of an architect. Quite the contrary, the architect can provide value and needed professional services to their clients. It’s just a fact there are many capable and talented design/build companies available. However, one advantage a design/build company may have over the traditional architectural firm is that the designer is the builder, and the builder is the designer – they readily know what does and doesn’t work, removing conflicts between architect and builder. The custom residential design/build firm offers respectable levels of equity to both parties.  Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – the LEED project checklist

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We’ve arranged the initial meeting with our selected Provider and reviewed the project history and construction documents. The LEED for Homes Project Checklist was reviewed, credit by credit. All prerequisites were checked off and the low hanging credits selected. This gave us an initial credit point total to compare with the required baseline points for the Certified level. Large homes get hammered by the Home Size Adjustment that is automatically calculated based on the number of bedrooms and total square footage of the home. Certified level requires achieving a minimum 36.5 credit points for a baseline 4 bedroom home and an allowable size of 2,600 sf. Our project has 4 bedrooms at 4,080 sf. The Home Size Adjustment calculator lifted the minimum credit points required for the Certified level from 36.5 to 56.5. Another OUCH! A crucial area addressed in the initial meeting was the Durability Inspection Checklist. Durability is a prominent and mandatory part of LEED for Homes in that it requires certain aspects of the home be detailed with sustainable strategies that address the durability and life of a home’s components – roof, walls, weatherproofing, etc. Additional measures may be required subject to regional issues such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, pests, soil conditions, climate, etc. After this initial review meeting, we’ve assessed the situation and all parties feel the project is in great shape for success. Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – the LEED guideline specs

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THE FOLLOWING HAD BEEN CREATED FOR, AND DISTRIBUTED TO, EACH PROJECT STAKEHOLDER. THE LIST INCLUDES ALL PREREQUISITES AND TARGETED CREDITS; THE PREREQUISITE/CREDIT NUMBER; THE PREREQUISITE/CREDIT INTENT; THE PREREQUISITE/CREDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPLIANCE (AND THE OPTIONAL PATH SELECTED); THE INTEGRATED PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS; THE VERIFICATION AND SUBMITTALS REQUIRED; THE CALCULATIONS REQUIRED  AND THE PROJECT TEAM MEMBER(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR VERIFICATION AND SUBMITTALS. IN ADDITION AN ADDITIONAL LIST WAS PREPARED THAT PROVIDED A CORRELATION BETWEEN THE LEED REQUIREMENTS AND THEIR APPROPRIATE CSI DIVISION NUMBER. The following prerequisites and credits have been preliminarily targeted for consideration on this project and are subject to final review and confirmation by the project team:

Innovation and Design Process (ID): Max: 11 points / Min: 0 points / Y: 3 points / M: 1 point

ID 1: Integrated Project Planning

ID 1.1 Preliminary Rating: prerequisite (0 points)

Conduct a preliminary LEED for Homes meeting with team members to create an action plan that establishes a targeted level of certification and select the team members accountable for each selected credit.

Integrated Project Team Members:

GBC, Rookwood

Project Team Member(s) Responsible for Verification and Submittals:

Rookwood Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – the Benefits of LEED Certification

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Innovation & Design Process (ID)

The Innovation in Design Process category is significant in the sense it 1) addresses issues that help keep costs down and ensures proper integration of green strategies, 2) assesses and mitigates long term durability risks and 3) rewards the project for overachieving credit requirements or implementing creative green strategies.

  1. Integrated Project Planning
    1. One of the unsung heroes of LEED certified homes is the implementation of an integrated project team with scheduled coordinated project team meetings. Not enough can be said about the importance of the project’s stakeholders convening to collectively coordinate the design and review process. With an integrated project team, most issues can be caught well before it’s too late. Continue Reading →



Teran Residence – the LEED verification process

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Due to the extreme amount of site work and structural piering required, construction contracts are awarded early to the contractors necessary to get this work underway. Construction began while the Project Checklist was being finalized.

LEED for Homes requires regularly scheduled integrated team meetings, so a second project team meeting was scheduled for a final review of the Project Checklist, Durability Inspection Checklist and construction documents. The next integrated project team meeting will take place after insulation and prior to drywall. This is also the time for the first of two required inspections from the Green Raters. The final Green Rater inspection will be after project completion, unless the builder requires an additional meeting sooner.

The Durability Inspection Checklist requires both the Green Rater and the responsible team member sign off on each of the selected strategies . Since many of these durability items will be covered up when the exterior cladding and interior drywall is installed, the builder can provide date stamped photographs to the verification team (Green Raters). This begins with photos taken of the foundation drainage system, under slab gravel, vapor barrier, foundation moisture proofing, etc. and continues until all items have been documented. Continue Reading →




Teran Residence – Durability Photos

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To view the current Teran Residence Durability Evaluation Inspection Checklist Photo file, follow me »