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Sustainable Home Design and Interiors - Where to Start? (Part 1)

12April13

A friend asked for advice recently. She wanted to know what “sustainable” home design and interiors meant to us. For many, discussing the word leads to thinking about natural systems in equilibrium, of regeneration and renewal generation after generation. How can sustainable interiors and home design align with this, and how do you achieve it, practically speaking, on a typical home design project?

The credit and category framework around which the U.S. Green Build Council’s (USGBC) LEED for Homes program revolves, offers a way to help. Using it as starting point, you and your design and building team define interrelated values, goals, objectives, and implementation strategies to help you align your project with sustainable aspirations. Built upon and extending the energy efficiency and building performance of the DOE’s ENERGY STAR program (It’s a prerequisite in LEED for Homes), the program offers a more holistic framework, a road map if you will, with its eight broad categories enriching the design process.

Homeowners earn points when design requirements are satisfied towards earning increasingly higher performance levels. When the team acquaints themselves with the “why” behind each category, the “how” to achieve them, and “what” specifically can be done becomes more clear. Using the program project checklist helps the team assess potential points to achieve, the benefits and costs and what level of certification to reach if desired. Key LEED for Homes criteria can be included in project specifications creating clearer performance benchmarks and accountability into construction. Through the Home Size Adjuster or HSA, home size, whether compact or grandiose, affects overall point totals required to reach performance benchmarks. Smaller sizes lower the amount needed; larger ones’ raise the point required to attain higher certification levels incentivizing smaller home, lighter impact living.

Check back for more info!


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