Thursday, June 4, 2009

Build those retaining walls already

Eric and I spent Sun-Tues in Duck, NC, our first vacation since buying the money pit. It was nice to get away for a bit and Stanley's crew screwed up the block order so we were waiting for the delivery most of the week anyway and they couldn't do any work (and in turn mess anything up!). It's been raining ever since we returned but Eric rigged up some plastic over the porch so the crew could work on the retaining wall despite the rain (pictured here). We're behind schedule but making progress.

We've also made progress on HVAC this week - we're leaning toward a ductless mini-split system that allows us to minimize duct size, add the 3rd floor with ease (i.e., no major equipment in the attic) and is also extremely efficient, but not LEED compliant, which was a credential I was exploring. It turns out that while building green is a good idea, LEED for Homes is a racket. There are only 38 "Providers" of the LEED for Homes certification, only 2 of which serve DC, and they want to charge $5500-$8500 in fees even before the cost of upgrades. The prerequisites are the larger challenges - we'd have no problem racking up points to achieve Silver or Gold certification. I wanted to do it because ours would be just the 3rd LEED house in DC, but it looks like our HVAC system choice will prevent it - more because the LEED requirement in this area is antiquated - our system is extremely efficient! We will still have lots of green features - dual flush toilets, energy-star appliances & fixtures, and I'm even exploring a central vacuum!

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