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Brian in Dexter, MI's Journal Entries

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Posted by Brian in Dexter, MI on 9/1/2008

Progress has definitely slowed in the last 6 months. Once you move in, it's a lot harder to work at the same pace. Here's what we have done

  • Built several boulder retaining walls
  • planted all front yard landscaping and trees
  • installed irrigation system
  • installed underground gutter drainage
  • installed 3,000 sq ft blacktop circle drive
  • installed sidewalk
  • finished small deck and railing
  • finished large glassed in second-floor sunroom
  • finished all main floor living areas

I am still finishing up interior trim. I ran out and have more ordered. I also have doors to adjust, cracked grout to fix, touch-up paint, and drywall pops. We are also hydroseeding the lawn next weekend. I also hope to fire up the radiant heat in the basement over the next month, and get the final Energy Star and LEED inspections done.

In October I'll be starting on the basement. I plan to finish off about 2,500 sq ft of living space down there.

I'm happy to report a $79 average electric bill through summer with the AC on! I am still adjusting my IAQ thermostat and sealing air leaks, so I know we can do better!


master bed
master bed fireplace, no mantel or stone yet
master ceiling
master king bed
Installing windows in the off-master kitchen.
Don't fall!
10' drop off the deck, then 100' drop down the hill
More deck windows going in.
guest bathroom floor
guest bath shower
guest bath shower
guest bath vanity
deck almost done
master tub w/slate
See how thick the walls are!!! (12")
master slate floor
solid core doors
front living room, Brazilian cherry 5'x3/4" flooring
recessed lighting
lots of crown molding
maple inlay
master bath vanity one of two
master bath HRV vent and exhaust system
vent timer
master bath
master bath
master bedroom
dual flush toilets
guest bedroom
guest bed w/private deck
circle drive going in
stone wall finished
more retaining walls
excavating for walls
excavating for walls
Lots of stone. 40 tons.
buried rainwater drains

My Construction Website

Posted by Grant in Blacksburg, VA on 9/1/2008
2008, 2009 Merit Award Winner

Grant's Forum Posts: 363
Journal Entries: 20
Interview Answers: 164

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Image from Grant's blog

I'd love to hear the details about your Energy Star and LEED certification processes. How much extra did/will this cost you? What needs to be considered at each phase of your project to ensure a good LEED score? Did you miss out on any potential LEED points that you could have gotten with advanced planning? 

I'd like to get my home LEED certified to draw attention within my community to energy efficient and green building practices, but is it worth the additional costs???



Posted by Brian in Dexter, MI on 9/3/2008

Brian's Forum Posts: 23
Journal Entries: 29
Interview Answers: 50

Private Message

My Construction Website

Image from Brian's blog


The overall process won't cost any extra, except for some time. The LEED certification was $650 and combined testing for Energy Star and LEED was $800 ($1,450 total) but I will receive a $2,000 tax credit for my construction company and additional personal tax credits as the homeowner for 2008. The construction company was primarily formed to build this house, and I recommend everyone incorporate their building project if possible.

I don't think I would get any more points the next time around. I did all of the practical things that I planned to do anyway. I skipped the LEED credits that were impractical or didn't return a bang for the buck. Most of it just forces the builder to follow good building practices. I also started when LEED was in a pilot program, which was more complicated than the finalized building program they have now. All you have to do is register, and the registration agent helps connect you and get you set up with an Energy Star inspector (Energy Star is required for LEED certification).

I did get penalized for my house size by LEED, which is the main reason I can't get their highest rating. I have about 7,000 sq ft of interior heated/cooled living space and plumbing for 7 bathrooms. As your house size increases, LEED increases the amount of points you have to get at each level.

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