Brett Robinson, President of Terra Building Group, whose company built the first Green “LEED certified” home in Pittsburgh last year, explains the differences between traditional home construction and building LEED certified. And why this building process means a healthier home that saves the homeowner on utility and maintenance costs.
How is it made Affordable?
Affordability is made possible because Terra uses state-of-the-art modern building techniques that enable them to complete a home in 4-6 months versus 9-12 months for traditional construction without sacrificing on quality or design. Shorter build time also means labor and loan interest costs are cut almost in half.
Why is “LEED Certified” important?
To put it simply, anyone can build a “Green” home but to achieve “LEED certification” a builder must pass rigorous inspection. With each added LEED checklist item the building is awarded points. The higher number of points, the higher the rating. The levels start at LEED Certified and go on up to Silver, Gold, and Platinum. LEED points are awarded for qualities such as lot location, water saving plumbing fixtures, improved indoor air quality, to insulation which all work to reduce the home’s carbon footprint.
Why is it more Healthy?
Did you know that according to the EPA the indoor air quality in a home or office building can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air?
Traditional home building techniques use materials that contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOCs create “off-gasses” or airborne toxins. VOCs can be found in paints, glues, caulking, cabinets, and carpets.
To gain LEED points, Terra stays away from building products that can pollute indoor air quality.
And they provide a system for clean, healthy air in each home by installing a fresh air exchanger. The exchanger brings in fresh outdoor air which is sent through a filter system while exhausting unclean indoor air which can contain toxins. The heating and cooling system also cleans the air with a hospital grade MERV 13 filter that removes allergens and dust.
How does a LEED home Save Money?
A LEED home is much more energy efficient than a traditional home.
In order to comply with LEED requirements, Terra uses a much higher grade insulation, top quality heating and cooling equipment, superior doors and windows which all work together to keep indoor temperatures constant and comfortable. Also included are ENERGY STAR appliances, tankless hot water heaters, low-flow faucets and plumbing fixtures, and LED light bulbs installed throughout the home. Just to give you an idea of how much you can save, the January 2016 utility bill for an 1850 square foot, 3 story home was $29.00.
Additionally, since Terra is held to a much higher standard in achieving LEED certified status, the result is a stronger, better quality home that will need minimal maintenance and repairs, and will last for generations.
So now that you know it really doesn’t cost more to build a healthy, energy efficient, Green home, and that a LEED home is built to much higher building standards, which would you choose? If you have any questions, or would like to view one of our model homes, call 412-533-3004.
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