Current LEED for Homes Projects

LaeLae Residence
Mirasol Residence

Mirasol Residence: Luxury Sustainability

The Mirasol residence is a new construction LEED for Homes Project Located on the Kona Kohala Coast.

The clients, mindful of the environmental implications of typical construction, wanted to strive for a more sustainable project, and a more sustainable and energy efficient product than what is typical.

With durability, water reduction, energy conservation, and protection of the surrounding fragile ecosystem in mind, the clients and the project team made key decisions to ensure that this house would be a departure from the norm.

It incorporates drought tolerant native landscaping for water reduction. Permeable surfaces including the driveway serve to manage and reduce runoff. A landscape architect designed on-site drainage system reintroduces rainwater back into the soil to recharge the aquifer without polluting the surrounding environment with runoff.

The builder elected to utilize pre-fabricated “smart framing” wall panels and trusses to reduce the lumber by 50% over what is typically used on conventionally framed houses. The Pre-framed panels meant zero job-site waste which is not only resource conscious, but it reduces job-site waste disposal fees and is thus also economical.

The house is also oriented to maximize roof exposure to the sun, where a 10kW solar photo-voltaic net metering system offsets the house’s entire electricity consumption, and the houses appliances are all Energy Star Qualified. The mechanical engineer ensures that the house was designed with the most sophisticated and energy efficient air conditioning, air filtration, and dehumidification systems.

The clients wanted to ensure that the house was capable of passive cooling as well. As a result, the house’s windows are all Low Emissivity (Low-E) glazed with smart sun coatings to reduce solar heat gain, and insulate. The roof sheathing incorporates a radiant reflective barrier to reject radiant heat.

The ceilings and walls are fully insulated. The walls are insulated with a full 6 inches of formaldehyde free fiberglass insulation, and the ceilings are insulated with 10 inches of formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation. Great care has been taken to seal the building envelope and “tighten up” the house while providing necessary mechanical ventilation in locations such the bathrooms, laundry room, and the kitchen.

The house has also been designed to reject heat from the tropical environment to keep it as comfortable as possible without air conditioning, but to also ensure that it is as efficient as possible while air conditioning is being used. The design also serves to maximize the benefits of the local trade winds for passive cooling.

The garage is detached to keep pollutants associated with automobiles separate from the living space. As well, the garage is fitted with a charging station for an electric vehicle.

Interior finishes including wall paints, are all low or no VOC products. All interior and exterior trim hardwoods are Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified products. The flooring and cabinetry are manufactured from bamboo, which is a rapidly renewable resource, and the kitchen and bath fixtures have been selected to be water saving devices that are EPA Watersense qualified.

LaeLae Residence Kamuela Hawaii

The LaeLae Residence project is a “gut-rehab” LEED for Homes project where the existing house is being substantially remodeled. The clients, mindful of indoor air quality, concerned about the environment, and motivated to become more energy efficient, elected to pursue LEED for Homes Certification through the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes program.

Project overview:

This residence is uniquely situated in the heart of Waimea town making it close enough to be walking distance to shops, restaurants, parks, an interurban trail, and many other businesses. Since the house is a remodel project, the existing property has already been developed and the project does not contribute to urban sprawl or habitat destruction.

The residence has been re-designed to be durable, healthy to live in, environmentally friendly, and to use energy and water efficiently.

To achieve this tall order, it incorporates passive heating and cooling strategies through improved building envelope performance (insulation, air sealing) Low E insulated glass windows and insulated glass doors, enhanced spray foam insulation, radiant heat rejecting roof sheathing, and an Energy Star qualified Metal roof.

Water usage reduction strategies include: A drought tolerant, climate specific native landscaping design, and a water efficient irrigation system incorporating drip irrigation, soil moisture sensors and specific zones for differing species demands. Rain water harvesting for landscaping reuse is incorporated using a cistern system and a retention pond, while Indoor water usage reduction strategies incorporate low flow faucets, fixtures and toilets as well as “on demand” hot water recirculation.

Energy efficiency strategies include: installation of Energy Star qualified appliances, and compact fluorescent light fixtures. Power co generation is achieved through a 4KW photo voltaic net metering system, and hot water is generated using a solar thermal hot water system.

Regionally produced or manufactured materials are used throughout the house, and where applicable components of the existing house have been reused.

High indoor environmental quality has been achieved through the use of low and no Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) products such as paints and finishes, as well as proper product selection such as hard floor surfaces, paperless sheet rock and stone/tile entry areas. Ventilation strategies are in place to provide fresh air while being careful to exhaust moist air from bathrooms, and combustion air from kitchen cooking appliances.

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