It may seem as if LEED Platinum designations must always be awarded to the most ultra-modern, big-city projects with huge price tags and outlandish designs. Sometimes, however, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating recognizes the ingenuity used to make modest, rural homes as energy efficient as humanly possible.
Such is the case for a 3,500-square-foot residence located on Cape Charles, Va., on what is known as the Eastern Shore, a long, sparsely populated strip of land formed between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The home, which uses heat-pump technology, photovoltaic solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system and several other green features, is he first building on the Eastern Shore
Since he was a small boy, Luke Kellam has been swinging a hammer. But his building resumÃ©, up until a few years ago, only included some tree forts and a house that he helped a contractor construct in Wyoming, where he once lived and worked as a wilderness instructor.
After the West, and a stint teaching in Northern Virginia, Kellam found himself back on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where he grew up in Belle Haven, itching to – again – pick up that hammer and build.
This time, though, Kellam dove into his new career by working alongside a master builder in Virginia Beach for a few years until he was ready to start his own company.
That road – and opening L.J. Kellam Construction in 2005 – has led Kellam to build a single-family home that has earned the Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification by the United States Green Building Council.
Not only is this house the Virginia Eastern Shore’s first platinum-certified LEED single-family home, it’s where his father and step-mother live.
The Platinum rating is the highest LEED rating a project can achieve.
To be LEED-certified, a home must be "designed and constructed in accordance with the rigorous guidelines of the LEED for Homes green-building certification program," according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s website, USGBC.org. "LEED for Homes is a consensus-developed, third party-verified, voluntary rating system which promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes."
Participation demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility, plus, the certified buildings lower operating costs, reduce waste, conserve energy and water, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and provide a healthier environment for residents.
They also qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in many cities across the country.
L.J. Kellam Construction Co. was founded by Luke Kellam in 2005. The company provides residential building and general contracting services on the Eastern Shore. The headquarters is located in Belle Haven, Virginia. For more information, visit www.kellamconstruction.com.