Originally published June 19, 2014.
After Kim Erle’s home was rendered uninhabitable from damage caused by hurricanes Irene and Sandy, she decided to rebuild. When she discovered the incentives that came with “going green” on demolition and construction projects offered by the state and town government, she vowed to take the project to the top of that ladder.
On Friday, Ms. Erle celebrated the groundbreaking of the Sunset Green Home, which, if all succeeds according to plan, will be the first in Southampton Town since a new tax incentive went into effect to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification.
Ms. Erle will save about $15,000 over the next 10 years in taxes from the state if she achieves platinum status in her home. LEED homes are rated as silver, gold and platinum and the tax credit is dependent upon that rating.
At the groundbreaking on Friday afternoon on Sunset Avenue in East Quogue, Ms. Erle expressed excitement for what the next year of construction will bring. She’s hoping the home will be completed by the beginning of next summer. “Knowing many of you personally, you know how truly excited I am to be at the groundbreaking stage of this project,” Ms. Erle, homeowner and LEED Green Associate (meaning she is certified to teach other people about the different products and options when building a LEED home), said to the dozen who were in attendance.
The LEED program offers incentives to homeowners for deconstructing and/or building homes in energy-efficient and environmentally friendly ways. Ms. Erle said 90 percent of the materials from her previous home were recycled or reused after it was demolished.
“The Hamptons, in my opinion, really has the potential to become a model for sustainable building and environmental mindfulness,” she said.
State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who spearheaded the incentive program with State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, said he hoped others would follow Ms. Erle’s lead.
“The way she has put together this project is inspirational,” Mr. Thiele said of Ms. Erle’s dedication to the project, demonstrated on her website, http://www.sunsetgreenhome.com, where she blogs about her decisions and tracks her LEED points. “As we look around, we know the issues that we’re facing in terms of climate change, global warming and the need to reduce our carbon footprint,” he continued. “This is a perfect example of how one person can provid
e leadership and really make a difference.”