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INTEGRATED PROJECT TEAM   In our approach we used an integrated project team that met weekly to discuss all aspect of the design and construction. We (the developer) met with the homeowner and the architect, engineer and general contractor throughout the design process working through many different design ideas. As construction began weekly meetings involved many different sub contractors depending on the weekly schedule. This integrated project team process was critical in identifying potential problems and meet those challenges with creative solutions prior to any major issues.

SOLAR ORIENTATION  In addition the orientation of the home was designed to maximize the solar exposure. Windows were strategically placed to allow for the passive solar design to maximize benefits while minimizing pit falls. By preventing summer sun from heating the home but ensuring the winter sun can penetrate into windows and allow warming for example southern windows were outfitted with awnings to shade in summer and are removable so windows are not shaded in the winter. Also glazing area on the East-West walls is 46% less than glazing on the North-South walls minimizing the negative effects of early morning warming from the east and preventing the harsh afternoon sun from impacting the west wall. This approach maximizes the solar design benefits.

SITE SELECTION  In this case we developed on an infill lot that was a previously developed which eliminated the need to clear any natural land or do any mass grading. The installation of curb, gutter, sidewalk and paving was not necessary and utility hook ups were already available onsite, therefore, there was no need to spend excessive amounts of money or use additional resources to add the infrastructure to provide access, power, water and sewer to the site.

There were two existing structures initially located on site. They were meticulously removed piece by piece to be used on different projects. 90% of the material was diverted from the landfill and recycled or reused. This was done even though there is no traditional LEED credit awarded for this effort. There are several situations were this was the case. If necessary we will apply for a Credit Interpretation Request (CIR) to introduce a new innovative credit, this would have to be evaluated by the board. The site was selected nearby urban amenities and services, within 1/4 mile to 2 parks of at least 5 acres in area and 1/2 mile to 14+ basic community resources including schools, coffee shops, banks, cleaners, convenient stores and restaurants. 

Protected site from erosion 

  • Silt fencing around 100% of perimeter

  • Reused all topsoil

  • Permanent erosion controls with vegetation and berms

Protect onsite vegetation with no-disturbance zones incorporated into final design

  • Additionally an ash tree and a pecan tree that had to be removed were milled and used in the construction of the front door and the bar. Again, this effort was above and beyond the LEED checklist and no credits were awarded.


Total Lot Area: 16,761 s.f. (0.385 acres)

                    Required       Provided

Trees                34                 53
Shrubs             135                64
Groundcover  1,676 s.f.     5,356 s.f.
Dichondra                         3,659 s.f.
Tiff                                    1,697 s.f.

50 s.f. of groundcover per 500 s.f. of total lot area

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No invasive plants were used and the design incorporated many drought tolerant plants (45% reduction in irrigation).

EPA WaterSense designed with rainwater harvest and grey water systems. The design harvests 100% of Rainwater storing over 7,000 gallons in an underground cistern. The water is then used for irrigation and indoor aquaponics system. 
Heat Island Effect reduced via s
haded, permeable hardscape and the use of high albedo pure white stucco.

Surface Water Managed

  • Permeable lot paving utilizes permeable grout system that allows all water to trickle through quickly. 

Non-toxic Pest Control

  • No wood within 12” of soil

  • All external cracks and joints sealed with caulking

  • No wood to concrete connections 

  • All concrete walls/foundations​

LEED promotes the installation of water efficiency measures in new homes, which can reduce water usage by at least 30%. This can be done through water reuse, attention to irrigation systems, and the use of low flow, high efficiency fixtures.
Rainwater Harvest system

  • Captures 100% water runoff from roof area storing over 7,000 gallons in an underground cistern. The water is then used for outdoor irrigation and indoor aquaponics system. 

High-Efficiency Irrigation System

  • Water demand was reduced at least 45% - actual demand reduced 60%

  • Rainwater captured and stored in the 6,000 gallon underground cistern provides a large amount of the irrigation for plants.

  • Flood irrigation is strategically diverted to zones and extra water is funneled into the cistern to add to drip irrigation system.

  • Grey Water system incorporated all sink and laundry water diverted to a 700 gallon tank. This water is used to irrigate specific zones in the system.

  • City water is used when the tanks run dry. 

  • John Deer “Green Tech” automation and pumping systems operate the complex irrigation system for maximum energy efficiency and water savings. 

Aquaponics system designed and installed in the basement.

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  • 90% of existing structure was repurposed

  • Insulation exceeded standard practices R-42

  • Windows U-0.26, SHG-0.19, very high efficiency ratings

  • Passive cooling tower designed to cool and supplement the HVAC system

  • Fireplaces are all high efficiency units

  • Tulikivi pizza oven/fireplace cutting edge zero emission product.

  • Most wood is sourced from local wood and/or FSC certified

  • Front door and bar top sourced from an Ash tree removed from site

  • LEED Certified™: 45-59 points earned

  • LEED Silver®: 60-74 points earned

  • LEED Gold®: 75-89 points earned

  • LEED Platinum®: 90+ points earned

  • Casona de Pappas: 119.5 points earned

    • Highest Rated LEED Platinum Home Ever!

Optimize Energy Performance

  • ENERGY STAR standards exceeded

  • Exceptional Energy Performance 

    • HERS rating of 5 achieved! (Home Energy Standards index)

    • ENERGY STAR requires an index of 85 or lower in this climate zone

    • Requires at least one ENERGY STAR piece, we have over 15. 

  • 17KW of solar panels with full battery backup system

  • Efficient hot water equipment and distribution with pipe insulation

  • State of the art HVAC system


  • Insulated CMU wall system, 12” thick “Omni Block” R-30

  • R-42 (3 foam inserts R-12+ R-30) 

  • Less than 1% waste

  • Indigenous aggregates, thermal lag, exposed thermal mass, air tight and a high R-Value @ R-30

  • Expanded polystyrene

    • R-4 per inch at 1 lb. density

    • Recyclable

    • Non-toxic

    • CFC free

    • No “out gassing”

    • No formaldehyde

    • Fluted for moisture migration

    • Strategically notched so that when inserted into a block course there is no interference with mortar

Materials – Local product, environmentally preferred, low emission

  • CMU block local

  • Hard tile flooring and grout low VOC

  • Cement foundation, all locally-sourced aggregate 

  • Gypsum board local

Waste Management

  • 88% of waste diverted from landfill

Utilized the EPA Indoor airPLUS regulations to control the indoor air quality of the home by minimizing the exposure to airborne pollutants and contaminants. 

  • Construction specifications include careful selection and installation of 

    • Moisture control systems

      • Specific draining systems (i.e. perforated pipe at foundation base, drains to sump pump in basement and pumps into cistern for irrigation) were used to keep water off exterior foundation, CMU walls have fluted foam inserts to direct moisture to these drainage systems. 

    • Damp proof coating on concrete below grade

    • Crawl spaces unvented and insulated 8” foam

  • Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems

    • State of the art variable speed condensing unit provides necessary power for the 15 individually controlled air handlers throughout the home. Each zone can be set to varying temperatures and the systems adjust the energy required as necessary. 

    • The home uses Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) units that provide fresh outdoor air to meet ASHRAE 62.2 while recovering energy from the exhaust air stream. Improved indoor humidity and reduced energy costs. 

  • Combustion-venting systems

    • Home Heating unit does not use combustion, electric

    • Carbon monoxide sensors in all sleeping areas

    • All cooking areas are vented directly outside. The only gas appliance is the Brewmaster (beer brewing station) located in the basement and the system has an ENERGY STAR inline ventilation fan located directly above. 

  • Radon resistant construction

    • We are located in a low risk area for radon, the only requirement was to furnish the owner with a radon test kit and have the owner conduct the test 

  • Low-emitting building materials

    • No carpet in the home, all wood details were coated with low VOC stain, and the wood flooring was installed with low VOC adhesive.

Innovation and Design
Location and Linkages
Sustainable Sites
Energy and Atmosphere

Green construction training of homebuyers, building managers, tenants, and the public body is a necessary component to ensure that the full benefits of LEED measures are achieved.

  • Enhanced training

    • Provide homeowner with a manual of house operations and maintenance.

    • Walkthrough with homeowner to train on how to operate and maintain house.

  • Public Awareness

    • LEED banner posted onsite throughout construction

    • Article published in local publication

    • Two webpages published detailing the LEED credentials for the residential project

Materials and Resources
Indoor Environmental Quality
Awareness and Education
Water Efficiency
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