The Conservation Seeding and Restoration company in Rifle, Colorado became our landscape design partner.
LEED’s approach seems to be to connect people to their living spaces and communities by thinking in terms of people working together and interacting both locally and globally. Kind of a next step towards Utopia, not so much living with one common purpose but being part of a world community in a sustainable, globally responsible but rich in health and energy way. Well, rich in $$ too since the team to help build each individual LEED component is all composed of professionals with expensive educations and the need to survive in this economy.
Being do it yourself owner builders means that we have little to no experience in finding and using building experts. We still want to maintain a lot of builder owner responsibility in the project but there are many areas of LEED that require outside certified expertise. After being educated by EnergyLogic on the USGBC Green Rater requirements, I have a better overall idea of the point system and the requirements for expertise.
We really want to have a small research oriented sustainable urban homestead when we are ready to move in. That includes a garden, small woodlot, orchard, room for small animals like chickens and other food producing mammals. We lived this way in our younger years starting as subscribers to Mother Earth News in the early 70’s and moving to the country in 1978.
As part of this integrated homestead, LEED encourages us to think in terms of native plantings, wildlife habitat, invasive species elimination, reduced heat island effect, less area of expensive grass and more permeable paving and drought resistant turf/plantings. To do this well, and to have an irrigation specialist on the team, I started looking for a landscape company. There were NO companies that seemed to advertise creating such an outside sustainable homestead environment as we had in mind. Although some used native plants, they mostly created little circles of turf and circuitous planting beds with water features, etc. That was not at all what we had in mind.
Carissa Sawyer at Energy Logic suggested that I look at the Water Sense irrigation providers on the Energy Star website. This was not the easiest research since each listing requires that the link open to a small popup window with the company’s information. Terrible design. Why not just let me download a filtered list with all the info into a spreadsheet? Just the provider name and state is useless, the only way to get the detailed info is to open each company link. BUT I was successful in finding just the right company to request for the integrated design team.