TELLURIDE – Sante Architects has designed Telluride’s first gold-rated LEED home, a modern, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom house located at 629 East Colorado. In June the house was awarded 89 points on the 100-point Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system, just points away from the highest platinum rating.
LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council as an eco-home pilot program to encourage green building techniques that incorporate energy and water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor air quality, and minimal use of resources.
Working closely with his clients beginning in 2005, architect Peter Sante designed a home that embraces the highest standards for green living. Some features include triple-glazed casement windows, reclaimed Douglas fir details, a Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) roof, bamboo and concrete flooring, low-flow fixtures, regionally sourced slate, stone, and concrete, Trex decking, a Heat Recovery Ventilator unit with HEPA filter, jute carpet padding, low VOC paint, and compact fluorescent light fixtures.
The project also garnered points for innovation in design by finding an alternative to demolishing the original home, which was moved to Mountain Village and now shelters a new family. The clients realized they needed to design an entirely new house to best utilize their lot and allow for environmentally conscious choices for construction. The new structure received points in areas such as external water management, water flow efficiency, high levels of insulation, indoor air quality, and the use of sustainable materials. Telluride’s BONE Construction built the home and Sante also worked closely with structural engineer Joe Crilly, as well as several LEED experts.
Not too far into the project, Sante realized that achieving gold LEED status was probably a “slam dunk” and platinum certification was a definite possibility, although difficult without an energy source designed into the building, such as solar panels. According to Sante, because the home’s gable runs north-south and its garage sits in the shadow of the main building, there was not an adequate place to integrate solar panels. “We would have simply been chasing points,” he said.
“Going for LEED certification in a high desert environment that borders a National Historic District is not without its challenges, but we proved that it can be done.”
Of his first LEED project, Sante called the process “a lot more work than we’d imagined. But it was a process of education for us and we set a high bar going in… We’re in a better position to talk to clients about doing LEED now,” he continued, noting that his firm is now using BIM based software to create virtual models of a building, so “we can now do energy modeling more efficiently.”
Deciding to pursue LEED certification does not come without a financial investment (Sante estimates about $4,000 in ratings and inspections alone for this project), but the upfront cost is offset by noticeably lower utilities “forever,” he said, not to mention the “peace of mind” that you’re doing the right thing.
“While demand for traditional residential construction is slowing, the green housing market continues to grow and 629 East Colorado in Telluride is a great example of why this is,” said U.S. Green Building Council’s Nate Kredich, vice president of residential market development. “LEED certified homes are healthier places to live, produce lower utility bills, have better air quality, and leave a smaller environmental footprint behind.”
Sante encourages anyone interested in LEED to call him with questions. Sante Architects can be reached at 728-6102 or visit its website, santearchitects.com.