Home's energy-saving design is first of its kind in Augusta

LEED-ing the way

Building a house is a process chock-full of decisions, but Jim and Heidi Mayfield took it one step further when they decided to build the Augusta area’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified home with Ivey Residential home builders.

The Mayfields have been working on their home plans for the past 20 years, Jim said. The major ice storm that hit Augusta a few years back convinced them to look into building an energy-efficient home. Their family was without power for a week. They realized their dependence on electricity could be a handicap in bad times, and an energy-efficient home could mitigate those effects. Their LEED journey began.

“This comes out of a need to be sustainable and have a good, durable home,” Jim said.

LEED is a rating system that awards points for certain “green” building criteria in sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design.

Enterprise Mill and the Kroc Center are among commercial properties in Augusta that are LEED certified, but the residential sector has been slower to take to the energy-efficient model. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, there are more than 10,000 LEED homes in the U.S. so far.

The Mayfields’ house has high-quality caulk and foam insulation and low-flow faucets and toilets to conserve energy and water. The Mayfields also put a lot of thought into details including what direction the house faces and ceiling height.

“It’s a lot of fun when you get homeowners who are as enthused about the project as you are,” said Mark Ivey, a co-owner of Ivey Residential with his brother Matt. “Jim and Heidi have thought through every part of the process.”

Vaulted ceilings throughout the six-bedroom house on Old Stevens Creek Road keep cool air low and hot air up high above people, and the 3.5-acre lot will be landscaped with drought-resistant plants in order to conserve on irrigation water.

Abe Kruger, the president of Kruger Sustainability Group, is the one who will give the final LEED stamp of approval on the home. Taking a little more care and expense in the building process will save utility expenses and will also improve the air quality and toxicity of their home.

“It’s a sound business investment,” Kruger said.

Mark Ivey estimates that the Mayfields’ home will be up to 40 percent more energy efficient than the average new home, saving that much in energy costs every month.

They are also planning on installing solar panels on the southern-facing side of the roof, which will provide up to 40 percent of the energy they will use in a normal day.

“We put a little extra up front for a lot more in the long run,” Jim said. “And it makes the livability so much better.”

Both the Mayfields’ enthusiasm and Ivey Residential’s energy consciousness has impressed Kruger. Ivey Residential was already building all of its homes with Energy Star approval, so the jump to LEED certification was not a major one.

“Some markets are very homeowner-driven, and some builders are the ones who really carry the flag,” Kruger said. “Ivey is a leader in energy-conscious building, and this was kind of a logical progression for them.”

Mark Ivey said as they looked over the LEED checklist, Ivey already enacted many of the suggested policies.

“When we looked through, it was amazing how many things we already do,” he said.

Jim Mayfield said he interviewed several builders before settling on the Ivey brothers, and it’s a decision he hasn’t regretted.

“It’s a lot easier when you have good builders,” he said.

They broke ground in November and expect to move in with their three children in June or July, just in time to see the effects of LEED design in their air conditioning bill.

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