On the heels of our participation in the 2011 Solar Decathlon, DC Habitat has made further accomplishments in our design and construction of efficient, sustainable housing. Not only are we taking what we learned through the ‘Empowerhouse’ Solar Decathlon project into the building of passive homes in Ivy City, we’ve also been awarded LEED status on our first eight homes in that neighborhood.
The eight homes on Providence Street NE, completed in June of 2011, are now officially certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver by the U.S. Green Building Council.
So what exactly does that certification mean?
LEED certification provides independent, internationally recognized, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings use 39 percent of the energy and 74 percent of the electricity produced each year in the United States. By adhering to LEED standards, DC Habitat has built new homes that use significantly less energy and water than those built to standard code.
A few of the ways we work to adhere to LEED’s rigorous standards are:
— Implementing a compact home design that minimizes the house’s footprint on its local environment and is situated in a location that is connected to the surrounding community via public transportation, bike paths and parks.
— Using recycled and environmentally friendly materials whenever possible
— Improved framing and insulation techniques to create a tight house envelope for greater energy efficiency
— Implementing storm water runoff prevention measures such as rain gardens and other low impact landscape designs
And those are just a few.
By earning LEED certification on these Ivy City houses, DC Habitat has ensured that the homes are healthy places to live and even more affordable over time for the partner families who live in them.