The First LEED Green Home in Broward County, What It Means

By January 21, 2011PRESS

Zahn Development was recently featured in Saving Green Magazine. Read the article below

by Cindy Ragan, Saving Green Magazine, Oct/Nov 2010

A beautiful, waterfront home built in Lighthouse Point is the first LEED certified green home in the county. LEED means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the internationally recognized U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, D.C. Instead of building another mega-mansion, Zahn Development, who has been building homes in Lighthouse Point for three generations, chose to build a luxury sustainable home. Andrew Zahn, who is a LEED accredited
professional, spearheaded the project not only with the conviction that this was a savvy business decision, but also to demonstrate that sustainability benefits people, profits, and the planet (the triple bottom line).

Built on spec, this four bedroom, four bath home is built with green materials, renewable energy, water conservation, excellent air quality, native plants, and a salt-water pool. Yet it can go toe-to-toe with any other luxury residence with respect to style, living space, and elegance.

One of the main objectives of green construction is to have a smaller environmental footprint. While this 4800 square foot, one story home is not small, its carbon footprint is dramatically smaller than traditional homes of similar size.

Green Homes Save Green $$$$

The developer wanted to dispel the myth that green construction is more expensive, and therefore not as competitively priced. While the price per square foot is slightly higher (8 to 10%) than conventional building methods, sustainable construction saves homeowners lots of money in the long run, not to mention their health and the planet. Like any investment, it’s not just the cost; it’s also the return on your investment.

The goal of sustainable construction is to design homes so that both the construction phase and the finished phase use the least amount of energy, materials, resources, waste, water,
chemicals, and pollutants as possible. What many people don’t understand is that the benefits of this approach are far more numerous than saving the planet. (see Chart Below)

“The new homeowner will reap the rewards of dramatically lower energy and water bills in addition to better health, by using non-toxic materials and finishes. Specifically, the new home’s projected energy and water savings are $5,100 per year. That’s over $64,000 in savings in ten years with just a 5% per year cost increase” explains Roger Zahn, Sr.

What Goes Into a Green Home?

Zahn’s project began with a sustainable site selection. They chose ”an urban infill,” where an older home is knocked down to make way for a new one. This means not having to use new land and thereby conserves natural resources. They also designed the home to face north and south, placing most of the windows on the north side to minimize heat from the sun.

The next phase addressed energy conservation. While the up-front costs of solar energy remain steep,

Zahn’s solar system is equipped with a meter that runs backward so that when the
home produces more electricity than it needs, the homeowner will receive a credit
from FPL.

In addition to solar panels, the home is built with a “tight envelope,” explains Zahn. Minimizing gaps, cracks, and leaks prevents hot air from getting in and cool air from getting out. An important facet of this approach is insulation. A bio-based foam insulation was sprayed against the roof deck instead of on the attic floor, which keeps both the heat and humidity out of the attic. This strategy keeps the air conditioning duct work in the attic cooler and thereby more efficient.

Two other criteria for LEED certification are the use of recycled materials and buying products as close to home as possible to save energy wasted by long distance transportation. The drywall used was produced in central Florida, using a bi-product of coal and recycled paper. The concrete mix contains fly ash, which is a by-product of power plants from their smoke stacks. Instead of wood moldings, the builders used aluminum throughout the house, a readily recyclable product. The wood products that were used are certified by the non-profit Stewardship Council, which means they are sourced from a vendor that treats the world’s forests in a responsible way.

In order to maximize the home’s air quality, the paints, cabinets, and finishes contain low, or no, volatile organize compounds (VOCs). Sustainable construction addresses not only what goes into a home, but also what is thrown out. A huge portion of global waste is generated by the construction industry. Therefore, LEED requires that job sites recycle as much waste
as possible. In Zahn’s project, 85% of all waste was diverted from landfills. Southern Waste Systems, a local recycler, delivered monthly reports on exactly how much, and what type, of waste was recycled.

LEED construction also saves money and the environment with specifications for outdoor space. For example, native landscaping was used so that the plants require less water. In addition, the sprinkler system is specifically designed to minimize water usage with six zones, low flow heads, and rain sensors. Finally, the salt-water pool reduces costs and pollution by not having to use chemicals. Building green involves countless important design elements and features. This home has them all – tied up in a very pretty bow.

4.3 KW Photovoltaic Solar Panel System, Expandable to 10 KW Converts Solar Power into Electric Energy Saves 50% cost of monthly electric bill Less CO2 Emissions, Less fossil fuel, less dependent on grid (FPL)
Low E-Windows and DoorsHurricane Impact High Strength and tinted Reduces energy bills by notletting outside air in Less C02 emissions, Less fossil fuel
2 Gas Tankless Water Heaters Only uses gas to heat whenneeded Saves money by heating wateronly on demand Less CO2 Emissions, Less water
Bio-based Spray Insulation in the entire attic Keeps A/C ducts and unitscool in attic year round Saves money by preventingheat collecting in attic Less CO2 Emissions, Less Energy
Injected Spray Foam Exterior Block Walls Tight exterior envelope prevents heat transfer Saves money on heating andcooling Less CO2 Emissions, Less Energy
Dual Flush Toilets Small flush uses 1.2 gal, larger flush uses 2.3 gallons of water Saves on water bill Saves Water
Non-toxic Paints, Sealants, and Epoxies in Interior Prevents off gassing of toxicchemicals from being inhaled Promotes health, less irritation Reduces In-house Air Pollution
Eco-friendly Materials where ever Possible Using items from naturalresources that are renewable Saves money in manufacturing by using recycled materials Reduces Waste & Saves Resources
Native Landscaping Thrives in Hot Climate,Requires less water Reduces water bill, needs less pesticides & herbicides Saves Water
Chlorine-Free Pool Soft water & No Chemicals incontact w/ body or eyes Saves money on chemicals Reduces Pollution
85% of Construction WasteDiverted from Landfill Taken from site, sorted andrecycled properly Reduces landfill waste, reuses or recycles waste
Bamboo Floors Same elegance as wood floorswithout cutting down trees Quickly Renewable Resource
Energy Efficiency Lighting &Appliances Using flourcent blubs andenergy star appliances Reduces Energy Costs Reduces CO2 Emissions, Less Energy
Purchased Materials Locally Saves on Transportation Reduces Transportation Costs Reduces CO2 Emissions, Less Energy