Wilmette home takes “leed” in energy efficiency
Paul Pasin's home at 687 Sheridan Road in Wilmette is in the process of becoming LEED certified.
Updated: June 13, 2012 4:08PM
Despite labeling himself as only a “7 or 8” as an environmentalist, Paul Pasin has a home that is a 10 in being environment-friendly.
Pasin’s home at 687 Sheridan Road in Wilmette is the first residence, and the third building overall, in the village to be in line for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S, Green Building Council. The other two buildings are the village Public Works facility and the Baha’i Temple Visitors Center.
LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality, according to the USGBC.
For Pasin, the extra steps needed to put the home in line for LEED certification were not a grand undertaking.
“A lot of this we were going to do anyway,” said Pasin, who is moving his family back to the Chicago area after eight years in Hong Kong. “We were going to insulate the home. The windows needed to be replaced. We just looked at the options.
“The home was built in the 1920s and was not energy efficient. Like a machine, we want the home to run efficiently. By using spray-in foam for insulation, we got more (LEED) points. By going with double-paned windows, we got more points. It was really basic stuff.”
The Pasins wanted a modern house and had intended to build, but when a Realtor took them around Wilmette, they were sold on the Sheridan Road home.
“It was well-built, it had a nice layout and it was a pretty home,” Pasin said of the residence at 687 Sheridan, which right now is LEED registered, awaiting a final report to make it LEED certified.
When Pasin and architect William Massey of Massey Hoffman Architects in Chicago began working on improvements to the residence, the amount of high-efficiency projects being implemented got them talking about LEED certification.
“We had not done a LEED certification before, but we wanted to be involved in one,” Massey said, “and I thought we could achieve at least the number of points to be certified silver.”
LEED certification starts with comparing a home’s total square footage to the number of bedrooms. Because the bungalow has a finished basement, that basement space counted against the LEED number and actually had the project start at a 26-point deficit.
“We needed 68 points to get to certification – and we knew we could do that” Massey said.
While the certification process may sound expensive due to the high-efficiency improvements, Massey estimated that getting the home from the already planned improvements to the LEED level may have only added 10-15 percent onto the project costs.
“There is some additional upfront costs,” Massey said, but the homeowner is able to make that money back over time through energy efficiency.
Environmentally conscience moves like using local products instead of more regional products with increased transportation added to the LEED point total. Other point-getters were: using native plants, the placement of irrigation, common-sense designs with the interior, low-flush toilets and restrictive flow faucets. (Even publication of this article gets the project a LEED point for increasing public awareness.)
“We really didn’t impact the way they live (with the LEED improvements),” Massey said.
“There were old flagstones in the back yard that appeared to be pond filler. We salvaged them and used them for a walkway,” Pasin said. “I probably would have seen those and said ‘Get rid of them.’
They were old, dirty and buried on the property, but we cleaned them up and they worked nicely.”
John Adler, Wilmette director of community development, said as building codes force homeowners to be more green, more residential projects will be counting LEED points.
“I think regionally we are going to see more LEED-certified designations as homeowners learn about the LEED program and other green” steps for their residences, Adler said.
He said LEED designation shows a potential buyer the home is energy efficient. He noted the state has pushed energy efficiency in its codes so all major remodeling and new construction is getting more green.
“When you go to resell the home and you put it on the market, it is a selling point that the home is energy efficient,” Adler said.