REBlog EverGreen Village: LEED by Example

Patrick Kitchens

EverGreen Village is a 12 unit subdivision nestled into the Rockport Hills neighborhood just off of Rockport Road on the south side of Bloomington. The project is being developed by the City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Department (HAND) as a green-built, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) pilot project. LEED is a branch off of the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED green building rating system is “the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings”. The homes at EverGreen will be built using LEED standards and requirements to insure sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

I recently spoke with the neighborhood compliance officer of HAND, John Hewett, to learn more about this renewable energy oasis of Bloomington. EverGreen Village received photovoltaic systems from Duke Energy that range from 2.6 kW to 3.3 kW capacities. Each house will have a system installed that should offset 30-40 percent of their energy needs. Third Sun Solar and Wind Power based out of Athens, Ohio has already installed on five homes with a completion date set for the end of 2008. These PV systems are grid-tied, meaning that they work together with the electrical grid without the use of batteries. When the PV system generates more electricity than the house requires, the house’s electric meter turns backwards crediting the customer’s next monthly bill. This is called net metering.

A permeable pavement walkway snakes through the neighborhood serving multiple purposes. The pavement allows water to pass through it into a three foot deep trench below. This trench is filled with crushed stone to act as a filtering system. Rain water then flows to the lowest point of the property. The rain garden holds water where native plants and natural bacteria can further clean the water before it is expelled into a stream. This state-of-the-art filtering system slows water flow and helps remove sediment and oils before they reach local water systems.

All appliances are Energy Star certified except for the electric range, which is unavailable. The home envelope is very efficient, equipped with Energy Star doors and windows as well as cellulose fiber insulation. This energy efficient insulation essentially is recycled newspaper and is blown in between the walls. All lighting in the house is achieved with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). CFL’s use about one-quarter of the electricity and last eight to ten times longer than incandescent lights. The exterior walls are made from cement board siding. Cement board siding is composed of recycled fiber material, cement, sand and other additional mixtures of products. The carpet is high recycled contact carpet. All of your recycling has paid off because this carpet is made from recycled soda and water bottles.

These are the main features, but there are more. Every component off these houses works efficiently together to pacify the stress on its natural environment. Hewett also stated that EverGreen Village was the only LEED program to offer to offer affordable housing. “We want to help people create affordability through efficiency and in that I believe we are ahead of the curve.” This is a LEED pilot project that is scheduled for completion in late 2008. After the houses are completed they will be appraised and put up for sale. Visit the web links below for more information.

Patrick Kitchens is the publisher of REBloom, a Bloomington monthly renewable energy newsletter advocating the benefits of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Pick one up at all Bloomingfoods locations, Soma Coffeehouse, Upland Brewery, and Roots restaurant, or email for a monthly e-newsletter.

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