Herman Miller has always led the charge in environmental stewardship for corporations. In fact, in 1995 Herman Miller’s Greenhouse helped develop the U. S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) first LEED standards. Now, achieving LEED certification for a commercial building has become a mark of distinction and achievement.
But what about residential buildings? What about your home? Private houses vastly outnumber commercial buildings, and they consume the biggest single chunk of energy (22 percent).
Well, houses can indeed achieve LEED certification, just like commercial buildings; however, seeking residential LEED certification is the decidedly less-traveled road. At this point, only a handful of residential construction firms nationally have on-the-ground experience in the many options for building green homes. “There’s a lot of information available,” says Doug Selby, president and co-founder of Meadowlark Builders in Ann Arbor, one of the few construction companies that specialize in green building. “But it’s hard to put it all together and create an action plan.” Selby’s customers tend to be highly motivated, willing to experiment, and eager to get involved in their construction project.
In the end, economic stewardship is reason enough to build green, but as Herman Miller and other companies have discovered, there are some potent economic motivators as well. Meadowlark Builders recently renovated an 1837 historic home that achieved LEED Platinum certification The monthly bill for heating and cooling this 1,850-square-foot home? $42 per month on average, and it uses 70 percent less water than conventional homes.
Straw bale house, anyone?