Project planners kept overall costs low—about $78 per square foot—and achieved LEED certification without any whiz-bang technologies, verifier Joe Cooper says. For starters, they relied on superior framing, a tight building envelope, and meticulous air sealing for a HERS rating of 60.
“Inexpensive items like caulk, spray foam, and mastic go a long way in improving energy efficiency,” he says.
For heating and cooling—both equally important in this region, says Cooper—LG high-efficiency mini-split heat pumps were a logical choice. They negated the need for ductwork, and their built-in programmable thermostats allow for efficient zoned operation.
Because they had to balance the need for common outdoor spaces with density considerations on a small lot, the project team had few options for the Cottages’ orientation. To control heat gain, Nequette speced deep roof overhangs and low-E windows with argon gas. Small trees also were strategically placed in order to eventually offer some shade, but not too much, says Cooper. “It’s surprising that in our climate we have roughly equal heating and cooling degree days,” he says.
Participants and their families are amazed at the level of comfort and sustainability achieved by the project. “The vets get a real sense of pride in seeing that not only did somebody care enough to build a facility for the injured and their families, but, on top of that, they made sure that it meets the highest standard of energy efficiency and environmental design—it’s an amazing sort of reaction,” says Underwood.
Wounded warriors leave Lakeshore with a renewed sense of hope, he says, and family members—especially spouses—enjoy some much-needed pampering, too. One recent visitor sent Underwood a text about how he and his wife had grown closer during their stay. “Thanks for saving my marriage,” it read.