Saturday, February 12, 2011

LEED the way to ‘green’

Home builders help LEED the way to ‘green’

11 February 2011 - Tim Simons appeared at the entrance to the Gens’ eight-bedroom home in the Van Ness Extension area, his contractor’s pickup in the driveway.

Behind a security fence, massive steel front doors led to a marble-floored entryway whose tiles could count toward LEED certification if they were quarried within 300 miles of the energy-efficient Fresno home.

“This was originally an adobe house,” said Simons, president and owner of Fresno-based construction firm Northstar General Inc., who is checking where the marble originated. “You’d hardly know it now.”

He characterized the expensive and detailed renovation of the home, bought for $830,000 in 2004 but expanded from its original 3,800 square feet to add another 6,000, as postmodern.

Trailblazing home

The makeover retains elements of the past, including a couple of adobe wall and Douglas fir ceiling sections, but transforms the overall abode with a steel beam-reinforced and “opened up” center, argon-gas-infused commercial windows that deflect heat, “reclaimed” wood, a rooftop solar electricity system and a laundry list of other elements that add up to long-term energy savings — and points toward green-building prestige.

“You pretty much design as you go,” Simons said. “I had this in the back of my mind.”

There are several Habitat for Humanity homes in Sacramento that attained gold and platinum LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, status. But beyond that, there appear to be no other LEED-certified houses in the Central Valley. {continued}

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