Free New Online LEED Resource Helps Even Seasoned Professionals – LEEDuser.com

August 13, 2009

At EVstudio we are constantly keeping up with the latest information and tools available to help us work  in the most effective way possible. I’ve just had the opportunity to check out a brand new website called LEEDuser.com offering a comprehensive new tool which could be a valuable tool for even the most seasoned of professionals when working on a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification project. The site has been created by the same people who created BuildingGreen.com with the help of leading national and international green building experts such as YRG, Fore Solutions, Dan Ackerstein, Flack + Kurtz, AEC, EDAW, Viridian, & Geiler & Associates.

One of the best things about the web-site is that it is built around the recent 2009 changes to the LEED 3.0 Rating Systems creating a free opportunity for those of you who haven’t been able to attend a local seminar or haven’t wanted to dedicate the time or money yet to learn about the changes from LEED 2.2 to LEED 3.0.  Although they don’t yet have information on every pre-requisite and credit available through the LEED Rating Systems, they have started with some of the most difficult, tricky or misunderstood of the LEED credits and the information offered for each of these credits is phenomenal. The site is very user friendly and easy to navigate and includes information about the new Regional Credits, green building strategies such as Daylighting, Green Roofs and Porous Paving in addition to very in-depth information, tips from the experts and resources for each of the credits that are currently available on the site. It also acts as a very useful portal to finding the peripheral information necessary for navigating a LEED certification project such as links that lead you directly to where you can find the information for ASHRAE Standard 90.1 – 2007, for example. Interestingly enough, in addition to the nationally applicable information, there seems to be quite a bit of regionally specific information based on real world experience stemming from the collaboration with YRG and the other experts and the municipalities & jurisdictions that they are familiar with. For example, a link to the Denver Water Quality Management Plan is included in the resources available for the Sustainable Sites – Stormwater Quality Credits resources, in addition to a list of other such resources. There is an incredible opportunity to strengthen this type of regionally specific real-world knowledge through a built-in feature of the site which is a field for comments within the pages for each of the credits. This tool has the blog-like potential to become a very powerful resource for users that will allow them to ask questions of their peers and share real world information and experience on LEED projects specific to each region, LEED credit & sustainable strategy.


Evergreen Terraces and EVstudio Architecture Featured in National Real Estate Article for LEED Work

August 7, 2009

RCA Report Summer 2009 - Volume 10, Issue 3

RCA Report Summer 2009 – Volume 10, Issue 3

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Commercial Association (RCA) recently published their Report for the Summer of 2009 focused on green building and the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green rating system. The Report outlines the national real estate trends involving LEED certified and registered buildings, increased rent premiums associated with LEED certified buildings, and trends within the ranks of real estate professionals for becoming knowledgeable about green building and the LEED Rating Systems. In support of that information, the Evergreen Terraces Office Building located here in Evergreen, Colorado is featured in the report as a case study outlining the marketability and competitive advantages of building a green commercial building. EVstudio designed the building and headed up the sustainable design, research, consultation and CA including documentation & registration of the building under the LEED Rating System for Core & Shell projects. The building is currently still in the process of its LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is expecting to achieve a Silver Certification.


EVstudio Recognized by Rotary International for LEED Work on Evergreen Terraces

June 20, 2009

It was a great turnout this morning at the Historic El Rancho restaurant in Evergreen for a series of awards and recognitions bestowed by the Evergreen Rotary International for environmentally conscious work that people in the community are doing. The Evergreen Terraces Office Building was one of the projects recognized for it’s sustainable design and construction.

Terraces owner, Albert Challenger in the audience looking on

Terraces owner, Albert Challenger in the audience looking on

Elicia Ratajczyk, LEED AP also accepted an award on behlf of Cactus Jacks for the work they have been doing to promote green efforts in the community. It was great to see such support from the community’s business leaders for honoring the work that we are doing to promote sustainability in our local communities.

Elicia Ratajczyk, LEED AP, speaking about sustainable practice

Elicia Ratajczyk, LEED AP, speaking about sustainable practice


Rainwater Harvesting One Step Closer in Colorado

June 19, 2009

There’s good news for rural homeowners in the long battle for rainwater harvesting in Colorado! Senate Bill 09-080 recently passed in the General Assembly and was signed by the Governor. This bill allows limited collection and use of precipitation for landowners starting July 1, 2009 if all of the following requirements are met:

1. The property on which the collection takes place is residential property, and
2. The landowner uses a well, or is legally entitled to a well, for the water supply, and
3. The well is permitted for domestic uses according to Section 37-92-602, C.R.S., (generally, this means the permit number will be five or six digits with no “-F” suffix at the end), and
4. There is no water supply available in the area from a municipality or water district, and
5. The rainwater is collected only from the roof, and
6. The water is used only for those uses that are allowed by, and identified on, the well permit.

While this makes rain (and snow) harvesting allowed only for certain limited cases, it is a huge step forward in Colorado water law, which has been entrenched in staunch resistance to rainwater harvesting. It is clear that sustainable  practices are becoming more readily accepted by the general public, and hopefully, in time, more of the limitations can be removed and the practices can be legalized for all property owners.

rain


Mountain Modern Project Core Sustainable Concepts

March 24, 2009

view-from-north-no-roof

interior-from-great-room

The Mountain Modern Residence is a proposed speculative residence designed for  Tomskin and demonstrating EVstudio’s full understanding of green systems, design and technologies. It is a prototype design that the client wishes to reproduce at a normal market price point. The client is currently looking for the first piece of vacant land. In order to reach the sustainability goals we created a list of core sustainable concepts that the design fulfills.

Core Sustainable Concepts Outline:
Smaller footprint with open floor plan & compact shape
Structural Insulated Panels construction above grade
Insulated Concrete Forms for foundation
Slab concrete floors with in-floor radiant
Spray in Foam insulation (wherever necessary)
Resource efficient structural elements
Passive solar design with southern exposure
Glass ratios LEED = North-South glazing 50% higher than East-West glazing
Winter (single) low-e windows on South exposures
Double low-e windows on North, East and West exposures
Well designed overhangs for shading
Thermal chimney for active or passive convection loop in chimney with duct controls
Compost capability and Built-in Recycle centers in kitchen and garage with convenient sorting space
Natural daylighting with windows in every room
Kalwall translucent insulating panel on select windows (R-20 at 2-3/4” thickness– Nanogel provides museum quality day-light transmission
Natural ventilation with operable windows
Natural cooling (air intake through or past vegetation)
Natural cooling (air intake from north side at mechanical mezzanine)
Airlock entry
Contamination control @ entry with permanent walk-off grates and bench and storage area for removal of shoes / coats
Detached garage (unconditioned) for contaminant control and energy efficiency
Southern exposure w/ 4:12 pitch roof  for PV systems with 600 – 700 s.f. would effectively create 800 kWh (avg. 1900 s.f. home/lifestyle)
Geothermal system on certain sites
High-efficiency boiler as primary heat source if geothermal ground source heat pump not available. Sidearm boiler for domestic and a zoned system
All high performing appliances
Low-flow fixtures including dual flush toilets
Ultra-high performance glazing
Air-Air heat exchanger for ventilation requirements with HRV system in mezzanine mechanical space
Heat recovery system on Domestic Hot Water
Energy efficient lighting system
Low VOC / Odors / Emissions for all interior materials & finishes
Durability planning


Reminder – Evergreen Terraces Open House This Evening

March 12, 2009

terraces-vertical

The Evergreen Terraces Open House is this Evening from 4-7. It is open to the public and we’d really enjoy showing you the first LEED building in Evergreen.

More about the Open House

More about the Green, Sustainable and LEED Features


Available Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Design

February 20, 2009

We’ve all been hearing about the economic stimulus package and how the global economy will improve as a result, but most of us want to know how it will directly affect our pocketbooks. Well, there’s good news for those of you who are planning for new or remodel projects in 2009…

There were $17 billion in energy tax incentives enacted last October that were largely associated with solar equipment for electricity and hot water. Congress also extended a credit for installing energy efficient windows and skylights. There are also now tax credits for home wind power, geothermal systems and more, creating a strong incentive to move forward with your next big project.

In 2008, there was a $2,000 cap on the installation of solar equipment for the home. For 2009, that cap is removed and now homeowners can claim up to 30% of the installation cost as a tax credit (not a deduction, but a dollar-for-dollar credit). Bear in mind that there are also state credits available, so check out http://www.dsireusa.org for a state-by-state listing of these available credits. The federal credit may apply only after deduction of state credits, so be aware and make sure to have your accountant file all applicable forms.

Congress has also added a new tax credit of up to $4,000 for home wind power systems and a $2,000 credit for new geothermal heating systems.

As of 2006, congress had brought back a law allowing a $500 per filer lifetime credit for energy efficient home improvements. This can be anything from upgraded insulation to improved doors and windows (but be aware that windows alone are limited to a $200 cap).

So, there is indeed good news for those of you embarking on new projects. I encourage anyone starting a new construction or remodel home improvement project to look into these programs and have your CPA involved early on so you can quantify how much you may get back at the end of the year for doing things you may very well already have been planning on doing.

As architects, it is ever important to keep an eye on these constantly evolving programs as well. We can help to practically integrate these systems into the design of any project. There are similar incentives for commercial projects as well. If you are thinking about starting a new project, give us a call and let’s see what may be available for you.