Teton Heritage Builders built the first NAHBGreen certified home in the state of Montana. It took some extra measures to ensure we achieved the criteria for the certification, but in the end we completed the home at no additional cost to our clients! How’s that for service? The end result is a highly energy efficient dream home in Bozeman, MT. I caught up with our staff LEED AP, Ben Jones, on his top five tips for achieving LEED certification in Montana. Here’s what he had to say:
1. Insulation: Super insulate your building envelope! Insulation is perhaps the best investment you can make for your home in this cold climate. Spray foam will decrease air infiltration to keep heating and cooling costs low.
2. Sourcing Materials: Don’t automatically think you can’t afford “green” materials. The price gap between conventional and green products is getting slimmer and often with a bit of searching around you can find sustainably sourced materials for the same cost.
3. Limit the Size: Large homes incur bigger penalties when calculating points for LEED certification. You will need to strike a balance between a grand house and an energy efficient home.
4. Lighting: Sit down with your architect and be sure to orient your home to maximize solar resources. Take advantage of solar for natural lighting and passive solar for heating and cooling. The Sun is critical for gaining LEED points as well as cutting down on utility costs.
5. Performance Testing: Be sure to perform a blower door test before you put up any drywall. It is a great indicator of where you need to improve the insulation around windows, at roof/rafter connections, etc. A house with low values of air changes per hour equates to more LEED points.
These are just a few key areas to target when designing and building a home in Montana. With a keen eye towards the details you, too, can have a NAHBGreen home without breaking the bank.