It is all about keeping it simple, small and boxy, and as partner Nic Darling put so eloquently, by not "polishing a turd."
OK, so it's a bit harsh. Turd is, maybe, an unnecessarily rude word to use to describe what are often pretty nice homes, but the concept is sound. Most of the builders and developers reporting high premiums for pursuing LEED are still trying to build the exact same home they have always built. They are simply adding features to make that same house energy efficient, healthy and sustainable. This addition gets expensive....
So, they polish the turd. Rather than redesign the house that has been successful for them in the past, they add solar panels, geothermal systems, high end interior fixtures, extra insulation and other green features. The house gets greener. It gets certified, but it also increases significantly in cost. Since the features are add-ons and extras, the price rises as each one is tacked on.
They do polish the building, however; the Skinny Project project has colourful silk screen printing on the exterior.
Next: Beta 2.5 House