The Porter Triplex: A LEED-for-Homes Demonstration Project
Woodlands Development Group (Woodlands) is always striving to incorporate green building practices into the design and construction of our homes. The benefits of green construction are well aligned with our mission of building sustainable and affordable housing and maintaining healthy and viable communities. In 2008, Woodlands began collaborating with partners to develop a demonstration project that would feature the latest green building technologies, materials, and techniques for the region. The project team chose to follow the LEED for Homes rating system.
LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is a program developed according to guidelines set forth by the US Green Building Council. The particular guidelines were developed by a consensus of building professionals. The process uses third-party verification of its voluntary rating system for efficient and sustainable building practices. All facets of the building process are measured and guided by the rating system. This extends from the earliest phases, like selecting a proper building location, to well beyond completion.
Click here to learn more about LEED for Homes.
The location on Martin and Central Street was selected for a number of reasons that fit our mission and aligned with the LEED for Homes program:
- the former structure was dilapidated and detrimental to the neighborhood;
- the property was centrally located near existing infrastructure and community resources; and
- the placement would allow for the public to observe the new building’s sustainable features and reflect on the important features.
Woodlands worked closely throughout the design process with building partners including, Community Design Studios, Everyday Green, and Davis & Elkins College. The design included a full range of features that would maximize the building’s efficiency and ensure long term durability.
Features incorporated into the building include:
- A solar water heating system;
- Use of structural foam board for exterior sheathing;
- A rain garden and stormwater management system;
- Extensive caulking and sealing around all seams, joints and ductwork.
The construction staff worked with local suppliers to find environmentally preferable products. Many of the products contained recycled content, including the flooring, gypsum board, and cabinets. All construction products contained little to no volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOC are gases that are emitted from products like paints, sealants, furniture, and flooring. They can lead to short or long term adverse health effects. Many of the materials used for the construction were local products, including the entire framing package, the block and cement used for the foundation, and many of the interior finish products. All suppliers, construction crew members, and subcontractors came from Elkins and the immediate region.
Funding for the project was provided by multiple sources. The WV Housing Development Fund provided the bulk of the construction funding, the Housing Assistance Council provided critical support for staffing and initial research and design, Davis and Elkins College supported some of the green building elements through their Center for Sustainability Studies, and the WV Department of Environmental Protection’s Non-Point Source Program funded the stormwater management system.
The project was completed in August 2012. The triplex will provide affordable rental housing to Randolph County residents.