By Neil Angus, LEED AP & USGBC MA Board of Directors
On September 6th 2014, the owners of 81 Brent Street Cynthia Loesch and Ivan Liriano opened up their 3-unit LEED Platinum home to the public to showcase all of the sustainable features of their house. From the modular construction that helped maintain quality control and minimize construction waste on the project to the insulated walls, windows, renewable and efficient energy systems, and sustainable landscaping, attendees saw first-hand how Cynthia and Ivan combined all these components to achieve the US Green Building Council’s highest level of certification – LEED Platinum.
Guided tours of the home and mini workshop presentations throughout the day kept attendees engaged and educated on the many green features of this home. Presentations covered indoor air quality, weatherization, sustainable landscaping, as well as solar electric and solar hot water. The day ended with an overview of the LEED green building rating system and a look at how 81 Brent Street achieved its Platinum rating. Photos of the open house and the home are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/81brent/
One of the great take-aways from this event was the fact that “green” does not have to cost more; this 3-unit home was built for a total cost of $450,000. This is a comparable price (maybe even a little less!) to a traditional 3-unit home constructed in the same area. Cynthia and Ivan were able to keep costs down by obtaining a number of federal and state tax incentives such as energy efficient property tax credits, clean energy tax credits, and rebates on items such as Energy Star, solar PV and hot water and high efficiency boilers. A full database of these and many more federal and state incentives that are available to most homeowners can be found at http://dsireusa.org.
Representatives from the City of Boston also attended the open house. ‘Greenovate Boston’ is a program that focuses on engaging community members to reduce Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions. Since the amount of energy we consume has a direct impact on our greenhouse gas emissions, the Greenovate Boston program put together a great case study outlining some of the basic steps Cynthia and Ivan took to build such an energy efficient home. The case study also includes basic steps anyone can take to build new or renovate existing homes in a more energy efficient manner. Take a look at: http://www.81brent.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BrentFinal.pdf
Cynthia and Ivan are passionate about bringing sustainability to their neighborhood and their new home is a shining example of how to go about doing so. For more details on their home and all the sustainability features, check out their website at: www.81brent.org. The USGBC MA Chapter was proud to be a part of this open house and extends its sincerest thanks to Cynthia and Ivan for not only opening up their home to us and the public, but also for their passion and drive to promote green buildings in Dorchester and the greater Boston area.
Congratulations Cynthia and Ivan and keep up the good work!