More and more, Maui is “going green” as homeowners and commercial property owners alike seek out options. Solar systems and other alternative forms of energy creation are ideal for a place like Maui. There are multiple possibilities for making a Maui home or business more eco-friendly. Small steps with things like rainwater collection and alternative energy are a great way to start.
It’s important for architects to be engaged with a client who expresses an interest in a more eco-friendly home. Whether it’s a small retrofit or remodeling job, or building from the ground up, a LEED architect can work with a client to achieve a more eco-friendly place.
Using The LEED System
It’s the certification system for “green buildings” that is internationally recognized and created by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). This certification indicates that a specific building has decreased its individual environmental impact.
Buildings are rated by their environmental performance, and given a score depending on what elements are incorporated. Each individual aspect of “green construction” is rewarded with points, which are added up to give a LEED score towards certification.
Architects who subscribe to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) System understand what it takes to reduce a home or building’s environmental impact. It’s the most popular green rating system in the world, and training and certification are available online.
LEED Architect Facts
“Green construction” is about more than solar panels and recycling. LEED construction is also about creating and living in structures that are not only more eco-friendly but also healthier for both the people who live and work in them as well as the environment. The process covers the entire lifespan of the home or structure, including the process of construction.
- A LEED Architect Certification can be one of four levels. The total number of points earned for each attribute determines the level of certification:
- Certified, 40-49 point
- Silver, 50-59 points
- Gold, 60-79 points
- Platinum, 80+ points
- A home or other building must first meet Energy Star standards. This is a prerequisite to becoming LEED certified. Energy Star is a baseline determined by the US Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star certification requires that a structure have an energy efficiency rating that is 20% to 30% better than the average home. This can be accomplished with many different methods, such as improved insulation and/or energy-efficient replacement windows. Using products that are Energy Star certified, such as light bulbs and appliances that need less energy, can also help with a LEED rating.
- Building material conservation helps. It’s one thing to recycle building materials or use them in construction. But conservative use of building materials is also a part of the certification. The idea is to reduce waste by making the most out of the required building materials. If you’re considering LEED certification for new construction, it’s important to work with a builder who understands why conserving materials is a good idea.
- Water recycling and usage. It’s not only important to recycle water, such as using greywater for watering plants, but to reduce the home’s water usage as well. One way is to reduce the amount of grass on a lawn area and using drought-tolerant varieties. LEED points are awarded for those areas that have less than 20% of “conventional turf,” or grass. Mulch and other plants are suggested for the remainder of the areas.
- Indoor air quality is also included. Unhealthy air quality inside of a home can eventually lead to health problems just like with environmental air pollution. Efficient HVAC systems, moisture control, and air filtration components to control mold and other allergens, and exhaust vents in kitchen areas are just some of the ways indoor air quality can be improved.
For the architect, these are things that have to be considered and included when drawing up plans for a client. Including LEED in plans will not only mean a better home for the client but help protect the delicate Maui environment.
Interested In Building Green? Pro Draft Can Help
We understand your desire for a greener, more sustainable space, and we can help you achieve it. Whether you want to start small or go all-in, we have the resources and experience to do it for you. Pro Draft can help design your new “green” Hawaiian home or building with LEED certification.