As we get closer and closer to finalizing our plans and trying to nail down construction costs, we will need to make a decision on whether or not to go after LEED for Homes certification for both homes. LEED is a very controversial topic right now and I don’t plan to debate the issue from a sustainability issue in this post. If a debate is sparked in the comments, that is fine…
The bottom line for this project is that getting LEED certification could possibly add to the construction cost and keep us from hitting out $100K target budget. The issue as I see it is not materials costs as the current design should meet LEED criteria without adding any expensive green components, systems or finishes. The issue is more of time, energy and excess labor costs that could be incurred by using new construction methods that subcontractors in Philly may not be familiar with. When subs are unfamiliar with something they can have a tendency to hike up their quotes even if it may not cost them any more in the end.
I am meeting with Level 5 Construction today to discuss this and other budget issues. In preperation I went ahead and filled out a preliminary estimate as to where we would most likely end up, points wise, in the LEED for Homes checklist. Check it out here.
Due to the size of our home, we will get to deduct at least 3 points right off the bat from the requirements. I filled out the checklist, trying to be very conservative with my estimates and ended up with 61.5 points which would put us 4.5 points into the Silver level and about 10 points from Gold. Basically, due to our urban location that is close to public transportation and densely populated, we only need to build an Energy Star Certified home and we should qualify for LEED Silver with minimal extra effort.
The cost of certification is another factor that postgreen will have to pay for outside of the $100K construction budget. This will cost roughly $6K-$8K for the total project depending on how similar the design of each house is and whether the inspections for both homes can be scheduled at the same time… This isn’t bad but will not be an insignificant portion of the final profit figure for the project so it needs to be taken into consideration. Having a LEED cert will help with publicity but everyone on the project agrees that these homes will be unique enough to easily sell without LEED.
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