Monday, July 7, 2014

Residential Committee Presentation on LEED v4 Changes from Will D'Arrigo

By Peter Sun, Residential Green Building Committee

During June 9th USGBC meeting Will D’Arrigo from Conservation Services Group gave members a comprehensive review of LEED for Homes v4. Many changes were made to the latest version of LEED for Homes and members had an opportunity to discuss these changes.

The effects of the adjustments to the LEED rating system has yet to be seen but overall LEED seems to be raising the bar on sustainable development compared to code driven development. For example, the Location and Transportation credit category now includes a prerequisite on floodplain avoidance; presumably, to address flooding and sea level rise. In category Location and Transportation (LP), prerequisite 1: prohibits building on FEMA 100 year flood plain unless the building is elevated. If the building is outside the United States then you must use a local equivalent program. The 100 year flood does not mean the frequency is every 100 years, rather it means that in any given year there is 1% chance of it occurring. According to FEMA, flooding is the most destructive natural disaster type in America. More recently, Hurricane Arthur not only delayed July 4th fireworks celebration but also caused flash flooding in Westport, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Freetown, Wareham, and Plymouth. Below is a flood map displaying flood zones in Boston.    

Another change to the LEED rating system was the Energy and Atmosphere category prerequisite: Minimum Energy Performance. The new prerequisite required newly built homes to meet Energy Star V.3. for Homes, have at least one Energy Star qualified appliance installed in each unit, and to thermally insulate ducts. The discussion on Energy Star Homes was lively, as member Caitriona Cooke from Conservation Services Group highlighted the fact that there has been a drop in Energy Star for Homes certification since it upgraded from v2.5 to v3 due to more stringent requirements. This is of importance to LEED because in LEED for Homes v4 Energy and Atmosphere credit category it requires Energy Star for Homes v3 & a HERS rating of 70. The discussion mentioned how builders reacted to the step up in requirements for Energy Star for Homes v3. Other changes mentioned include rating system selection and point floor structure.

Other changes to the rating systems were introduced and each member got an opportunity to express their views and opinions.  

The next Residential Green Building Committee meeting will be July 14th at 5:45pm at 281 Summer Street in Boston. See you there!

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