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Meeting LEED® requires fresh thinking

As the days grow shorter and the temperatures start to dip, Matt Johnson and Grace Pontes are working hard to finish the exterior of their Glasswing project so they can focus on the interior. But their commitment to building to the LEED Gold standard has required them to accept some delays.

“Building a LEED home requires a different way of thinking,” stated Pontes. “We’ve spent many, many hours sourcing materials to ensure the home is as energy efficient as possible and fits within the materials and resources category of the LEED home rating system.”

There are eight categories the LEED Canada for Homes Rating System considers when measuring the overall performance of a home, including energy and atmosphere.

“We have to meet criteria and standards within each of these categories. Some are pretty straight-forward and others have been challenging,” she says.

LEEDing the way can cause a delay

Meeting LEED is also a challenge for manufacturers. As an example, their ENERGY STAR® aluminum windows are among the most energy efficient on the market but were delayed two months because their order exceeded what the manufacturer could supply.

Water conservation

Because the Okanagan is a semi-arid climate, water conservation is key. Pontes says they went to great efforts to protect the valuable resource. They installed an on demand hot water system and a Brac grey-water system, meaning water from the shower will be recycled and used in the toilet. All rainwater will be captured in rain barrels and will be used as garden water.

Heat recycling

They’re also recycling the secondary heat created by the electrical components in the theatre space and sending it through a heat recovery ventilator system (HRV).  Therefore the heat that will be generated by the electric components in the house won’t be wasted, but instead will be used to help heat the whole home in winter.

During the heating season, the HRV will also recover heat from outgoing, stale household air and use it to preheat incoming, fresh outdoor air. The HRV will then distribute the incoming air throughout the house.

“We thought it was a neat way of using additional heat being generated already and funnel it into the house,” added Pontes.

Worth the wait

Pontes says the delays with the windows have set the project back a few weeks. While they were hoping Glasswing would be completed for Christmas, the new target date is January 27, 2012.

“It’s all about energy efficiency and the environment and we’re working hard to achieve the Gold standard.”

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