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Jan Moore - Building 'green' is not easy
Jan Moore Mug Web
Jan Moore

, to the sustainability of the lifestyle we now enjoy in this country, it looks as if we are headed for a different place, and there isn't any turning back.

            One couple among us has decided to embrace the new reality of conservation setting an example that has not yet been set in this county. Don and LuAnn Harris have recently constructed a new home in the Brannen Lake area, and have built it according to the stipulations of the United States Green Building Council's LEED program.

            The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

            The Harrises chose local contractor William Powell to build their home. Renowned for the quality of home that he builds, Powell has been constructing homes in this area for the last five decades. He has seen builders and styles come and go, but according to Powell, building to LEED certification is a whole "nother" story.

            "There were so many things that had to be taken into consideration," Powell said. "The lumber and brick in the home had to come from less than 500 miles away. Every appliance and light fixture had to have a certain energy conservation rating. We even had to weigh the waste from the construction site to make sure that we weren't exceeding limits. It is a very complex process."

            LuAnn Harris said she and her husband had lived on Tybee Island for a number of years and were afraid of losing their home to a hurricane, so they decided to move to Statesboro and build the home of their dreams. They planned the home for a year and a half, and Powell began construction in March 2007.

            "We knew we wanted to build as conscientiously as possible, and after interviewing a number of builders, we just felt like Pete was the right one," LuAnn Harris said. "

            Powell said the Harris's architect provided him with the guidelines and he took it from there.

            "I have to be honest, there was so much involved, and it wasn't easy," Powell said. "But, it was very worthwhile project, and the Harrises seem very happy with the results."

            LuAnn Harris said she really isn't sure what advantages being LEED certified will provide.

            "We should have our certification in the next few weeks," she said. "You can be certified at different levels, up to a gold certification, but we live too far away from town to get that one. I am not even sure what kind of tax breaks, if any, that we will get. For us, it was the right thing to do."

            The Harrises are in the process of constructing a web site that does have some pictures in addition to information about what they have done to comply with the Georgia/National LEED program.  The website address is www.lochhaven.us.

            "I read everything I can get my hands on about the building industry," Powell said. "I really believe this is where our industry is going."