WAILUKU (KHNL) -- It's as green as you can get - a home so environmentally-friendly, it is the very first one in Hawaii to get national, award-winning attention.
Tucked away on the slopes of Wailuku Heights is a home that, in the green-building world, is taking the 'LEED' - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Among the green features: walls that open for natural ventilation so you don't have to run the air conditioning, recycled building materials, low flow shower heads that use less water without affecting pressure, and dual flush toilets featuring a small flush and a large flush.
"There's a little button on the side so you can choose #1 or #2. The idea behind it is you don't need to use the large flush when you don't need to," said project manager Shane Jackson with Towne Island Homes Ltd.
Step outside, and you'll find drought-resistant landscaping where 90% of the plants are drought-tolerant. The ground is also permeable to control runoff.
"There's no bed of concrete underneath. It's all porous so all the rainwater goes back into the ground water," said Jackson.
There's also a photo-voltaic system to convert sunlight into electricity. The average home consumes 18 kilowatts per day. With this system?
"On a good day, we produce 21 kilowatts," said Jackson.
The home, called the Good Home, is the very first in Hawaii to receive the prestigious LEED Gold Certification. Unlike other green ratings systems, a LEED certification requires third party performance testing, such as a blower door test which detects holes in the house. The less leaks the better.
"You improve energy efficiency that way. You're not paying to cool air and then have it leak out of your house," said John Bendon of Green Building LLC, one of only two LEED-certified energy raters in Hawaii.
Yes, this is a $2.4 million home but Bendon says it's not that costly for an average home to go just as green.
He says to get a solar water heater, use energy efficient appliances and lighting and reduce your need for air conditioning.
"You can plant trees in the proper place. You can put a radiant barrier on your roof and reduce the heat gain in the attic," said Bendon.
Project leaders say they are simple concepts that, like the Good Home, can show what can be done today, and what may be done tomorrow.
There are two other green ratings systems in Hawaii - Energy Star and Hawaii BuiltGreen. LEED is the most stringent and is affiliated with the United States Green Building Council.
To find out how to make your home LEED-certified, click on the links on this page.
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