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Raimondi Horticultural Group—Landscaper for Near Zero Home (As mentioned on Good Morning America)
Raimondi Horticultural Group (RHG) provided the interior and exterior landscaping designs for the Near Zero Energy Home in Paterson, N.J. The BASF Better Home, Better Planet Showcase Initiative has constructed a home that has met LEED-H (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for residential design and Energy Star certifications. The home is a part of the BASF efforts to promote high performance, energy efficiency and ecological benefits in new housing.

"The idea is to incorporate evergreen plants to offer fuel efficiency and the feel of nature," said Chris Raimondi, president of RHG.

The home will be donated to the St. Michael's Housing Corporation, a local non-profit organization that will turn the home over to Richard Sosa, a 17-year-old quadriplegic, and his family.

Case Study Specifications by Raimondi Horticultural Group
Below are the requirements Raimondi exceeded for the case study project as mentioned above.

LEED-H Credit 3 - Shading of Hardscapes - 1 LEED point

Raimondi designed and installed trees and shrubs that will shade at least 50% of sidewalks, patios and driveways within 50 feet of the house at five years growth.

Installed light-colored, high albedo (reflectance of at least 0.3) for at least 50% of site's non-roof impervious surfaces.

Plants were kept in containers lined with metal or other material impervious to dampness.

All plants were placed on suitable supports having a minimum height of 2" above the surface. Suitable weep holes in the planting containers for water drainage.

Southern exposure. Plants are exposed to bright light all day.

All Case Study Plants Were Drought Resistant
Types of drought-tolerant plants used in this case study included:

Succulents - thick, fleshy stems and leaves that are coated with a
                  waxy substance.
Grasses - these plants go dormant during hot, dry summers.
Legumes - tap root for survival.
Poppy family ?tap root and divided leaves.

Physical characteristics of drought-tolerant plants:

?Long, deep root system
?Thick, fleshy roots that store water
?Tap root
?Small or divided leaves
?Gray, silver or white foliage
?Hairy leaves
?Aromatic oils
?Thick cuticles

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The LEED rater visually inspected and affirmed that all requirements were met by Raimondi and affirmed that all plant lists were obtained from appropriate sources.

1. Mandatory Measure (credit 2.1)
Raimondi’s landscape design fully met these requirements:

   ?Install drought-tolerant turf in sunny areas only - no turf in
     dense shade.

   ?Areas planted with turf should not exceed a slope of 25%
     (i.e., a 4-to-1 slope).

   ?Use no invasive or exotic plant species as identified by local
      Agriculture Coop Extension Service.

2. Minimize Landscape Water Demand (credit 2.4) - 1 point

   ?90% of plants from drought-tolerant group, for water budget
     of 5 Gal./SF/Yr.

3. Raimondi helped the Near Zero Home obtain the next credits by obtaining and installing the following measures:

   ?Credit 2.2 - Apply mulch 3?to 4?deep around plants (1 point).
   ?Credit 2.3 - Limit turf to 20% of landscape (1 point).

Raimondi also installed one tree or four 5-gal. shrubs per 500 square feet of "disturbed" construction area (including home site).


Consider the Seven Principles of Successful Xeriscaping:

1. Effective Planning and Design
Cluster the gardens for efficient watering.
Increase decking and/or patios.
Terrace steep slopes to catch runoff.

2. Soil Improvement
Add organic matter to the soil.
Consider wetting agents (polyacrylamides).

3. Appropriate Use of Turf
Use water-saving varieties ?fescues.
Irrigate more efficiently.
Decrease the area of turf.

4. Efficient Irrigation
Automation versus “when needed.?br> Test the soil for moisture.
Measure the rainfall.

5. Use of Mulches
Organic, inorganic and man-made.

6. Have a Good Maintenance Program
Mow the lawn at a taller height, fertilize less, aerate the turf.
Remove weeds.
Try anti-transpirants.

7. Select Plants that Require Little Water
Use native plants.
Replace water-guzzling plants, or rearrange or reorganize a small area.
Use windbreaks (fences are best).
Contour or shape the land.
Have a saucer of soil around trees.
Use perforated pipe in the soil to percolate water out to tree roots.

ADDITIONAL Drought-Tolerant Plants
Euphorbia, Eschscholzia, Helianthus, Petunia, Callihoe, Monarda, Polygonum, Opuntia, Sedum, Aegopodium, Artemesia, Thermopsis, Solidago, Achillea, Coreopsis, Oenothera, Helichrysum, Rudbeckia, Gaillardia, Ascepias, Penstemon, Echinacea, Armeria, Centaurea, Liatris, Linum Gaura, Portulaca, Santolina, Lantana, Delosperma, Cerastium, Eryngium, Rosa rugosa, Myrica, Geum, Kniphofia, Dianthus, Gyposophila, Cosmos, Baptisia, Cytisus, Rhus glabra, Viburnum lantana, Prunus besseyi, Koelreuteria, Gymnocladus, Prunus americana, Pinus ponderosa, Crataegus crus-galli, Quercus macrocarpa, Pinus mugo, Juniperus horizontalis, J. virginiana.

Taylor’s Guide to Water-Saving Gardening, Houghton-Mifflin, NY. 1990.

Burpee’s Waterwise Gardening, Prentice Hall, NY. 1994.

Xeriscape Handbook, Gayle Weinstein, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 1999.

Xeriscape Plant Guide, Denver Water and American Water Works Association, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 1996.


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