Prefab Home Earns LEED-Platinum

January 01, 2007
January/February 2007
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2007 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
Click here to read more articles about LEED

Prefab housing, which was once primarily associated with low-quality manufactured dwellings, is gaining popularity with innovative new modern designs, affordable prices, and green features. One of the companies that specializes in greener prefab houses, LivingHomes, just received a LEED for Homes (LEED-H) Platinum rating for one of its model homes. LivingHomes’ model home, designed by Southern California architect Ray Kappe, FAIA,  is the first residential project in the country to attain a Platinum rating.

“While the residential market is a new area for LEED and USGBC, the LEED for Homes pilot program moves us closer towards our ultimate goal of transforming the built environment on all levels,” says Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC President, CEO & Founding Chair.  “The LivingHomes’ model home is expected to demonstrate that incorporating sustainable design into the construction process will help to lower operating costs, increase home value, reduce maintenance issues, and improve indoor environmental quality in the long-term.”

LEED-H’s main purpose is to provide a national standard for defining green homes’ features. The program is based on a four-tiered rating system (Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) that awards points to projects based on their efficient use of energy resources, water resources, building construction resources, land resources, and indoor environmental quality.  The LivingHomes model home was awarded a total of 91 points out of a possible 108 points.

LivingHomes is the first company to make LEED certified, prefab homes available to consumers nationwide. Each home’s anticipated energy use is 80% more efficient than a conventional residence of similar size, which qualifies the home as an Energy Star home.  The majority of the home’s energy will be produced by on-site photovoltaics. Water for irrigation will be reclaimed.  Most of the materials in the home are re-used or sustainably created.  The home was produced with 75% less construction waste compared to traditional home construction.  Sustainable features include a photovoltaic system from Permacity/Gridpoint to produce the home’s energy; solar water heating and radiant floors from ACME Environmental and Creative Climate; a native landscape and rooftop garden designed by Richard Grigsby of The Great Outdoors to divert stormwater; Energy Star appliances from Bosch; LED lights from Permlight; an integrated stormwater management which includes sub- surface irrigation, a 3500-gallon cistern and grey water recycling system designed by Bill Wilson Environmental Planning to divert sink and shower water for irrigation; Panasonic fans that exhaust moisture from the bathrooms; and a whole-house fan from Tamarack that automatically vents hot air.  A 175 CFM fan from Tamarack in the garage tied into the garage door automatically exhausts carbon monoxide from the garage. 

LivingHomes also uses low-e Solarban60 glazing on the Fleetwood doors and windows and Polygal polycarbonate glazing.
The home also features low-emitting finish materials, low-Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) paints and stains from AFM Safecoat, a steel structure that does not support mold growth, and radiant heating. Forest Stewardship Certified (FSC) wood was chosen for the millwork, ceiling, siding, and framing, along with a variety of recycled materials including 100% post-consumer recycled paper based countertops from Paperstone.; recycled glass tiles from Oceanside Glasstile, recycled porcelain tiles from Coverings Etc; and Green Fiber 100% recycled denim insulation.

—Elka Karl
Elka Karl is an associate editor at Home Energy.

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