By Marcelo Fernandes
You may have noticed—we’re pretty passionate about going green here at Grove Properties/Oxford Design Build. Not only is it great for the environment, but making a home more efficient also reduces costs for homeowners over time. We believe that every home should be more efficient and sustainable, which is why all of our Oxford homes are now LEED certified.
The next 3 new LEED projects available in Coconut Grove and Coral Gables ready for deliver in early 2016 are:
What it means to be LEED certified
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website, “LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.” Our homes must meet certain LEED requirements and pass a testing process in order to be LEED certified.
Walking through the LEED certification process
We recently partnered with RunBrook, a green building consulting company located in West Palm Beach, Florida. I’ve been working closely with the president of RunBrook, Matthew Zirkelbach, to direct and advise each step of the building process. As a third-party partner, Matthew makes sure each home we build will be qualified for LEED certification—from the initial design to the very last coat of paint.
The design process
In order to meet the LEED certification requirements, our homes need to adhere to certain sustainable and energy efficient design plans. RunBrook reviews every aspect of our building design in order to meet LEED criteria. Some of these aspects include:
High efficiency appliances and systems
The HVAC, water, and lighting systems installed into our homes must be energy efficient. This means installing systems like low-energy light fixtures, low-flow toilets and shower heads, tankless water heaters, and high SEER air conditioning. Everything we plan to install, must, in some way, increase the efficiency of the home.
Location & Linkages
The location of a new home will impact its LEED score. RunBrook assesses how close the new home will be to community resources like public transportation, grocery stores, and/or parks. The more “walkable” a location is, the better the LEED score.
Indoor air quality
Having good indoor air quality is very important in LEED qualification. RunBrook helps us to reduce emissions associated with construction by encouraging the use of low VOC flooring and paint. They also make sure each one of our homes has high filtration media installed with efficient ventilation systems.
Recycled Content & Local Production
RunBrook also helps us source building materials that contain recycled content and sourced locally.
The construction of the home
RunBrook partners with our designers, architects, electricians, plumbers, and anyone involved in construction. They coordinate with every person on the project to make sure the LEED building plans are being carried out correctly.
The final testing phase
When the home is built, RunBrook will provide a thorough series of tests and site inspections. Some of the things they check include the insulation, duct leakage, and envelope tightness to see if the new home meets LEED standards.
When the tests are complete, RunBrook will send our home’s application to the USGBC for the official certification.
Why LEED is so important
With the economy stable and growing, real-estate building activity has increased. As this trend continues, it’s important to know who built your home. There are, unfortunately, many ways builders can cut corners in construction that are not easily seen by the consumer.
There are a majority of builders out there trying to pass final inspection by minimally meeting the local building code. They have no interest in building a green structure to reduce waste or increase the efficiency of the home. The reason why is simple—it takes extra effort and money from their pocket to do so.
Building practices that comply with LEED standards, however, go above and beyond the current city and county building codes—and are verified by a third party. Oxford invests in building LEED certified homes so we can always produce quality products without being priced above the competition. This has been part of our mission statement and it’s resulted in a solid reputation for quality work since we opened the company in 1980. Grove Properties and Oxford Universal are committed to preserving our neighborhoods and making them better for future generations. Our current luxury residences, which are available for purchase, span from Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and South Miami. Contact us if you are looking to be one of the privileged to own an Oxford home.
If you have any questions on what it takes to create a LEED certified home, contact us today.