Monday, June 14, 2010

Size Matters

If the goal of LEED Canada for homes is to make the push towards more sustainable housing they have to account for size, and bigger isn't better.

If you build a sprawling 8,000 square foot home it is literally going to have a bigger ecological footprint than your standard size house. The home is going to take more material to build, more energy to sustain and generate more waste when it is ultimately demolished. LEED accounts for this by adjusting your target number of points needed for certification .

Certified LEED (what we are shooting for) is normally 45 points. Build a bigger than average home and that number will be adjusted up. Likewise if you build a more compact home, your required points goes down.

Our home is a roughly 1400 square foot bungalow. When we first started consulting the adjustment table we were laughing. A 3 bedroom, 1425 sq.ft home is a 10 point reduction... it would knock off over 20% of the total points! Unfortunately that excitement was short lived. The calculation requires that you include all "conditioned" or heated living space. We have a mammoth basement which is heated and potentially livable (not currently finished).

Counting the basement doubles the size of our house to 2850 sq.ft. Assuming our basement project adds one bedroom then our new adjustment -1 point. Nothing spectacular but every bit counts.

For anyone interested in the nitty gritty details of the program the Rating System can be found on the LEED Canada for Homes page on the Canadian Green Building Council's website:

And now back to work, we have been busy ripping out the kitchen...

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