You may never have thought about it, but I’m sure you want to find out what a LEED certified home is. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – LEED for short – is a certification program for environmentally friendly building.
This program has a myriad of ratings and levels that are used to find and identify the best strategies for building homes, schools, offices, hospitals, new builds, and more.
LEED is a collaborative, comprehensive program that works with all types of projects and helps them become greener and greener.
Image source: Natural Balance Home Builders
This ranking system was launched by the US Green Building Council with the aim of promoting environmentally friendly building. So far it has been widely recognized and has received good feedback.
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The Empire State Building in New York, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Olympic Villages in Beijing and Vancouver, and even the Boston Logan Airport are LEED buildings because LEED is a very popular and universal system that is used all over the world.
LEED offers benchmarking in 5 categories:
- Building planning and construction,
- Interior design and construction,
- Building operation and maintenance,
- Neighborhood development and
Let LEED for Homes plan, design and build efficient, high quality green homes that are affordable and massively produced. LEED for Homes also works with the creation of custom-made, single-family homes, townhouses, maisonettes, apartments and lofts in historic buildings.
What are the advantages of a LEED-certified house?
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What LEED certification means isn’t just something that makes you feel better about being environmentally friendly. Aside from being environmentally friendly, there are many personal benefits that one can enjoy in a LEED home:
- Heating and cooling is no longer a financial problem in a LEED house, as every inch of it is sealed and insulated.
- You can also save money on water and heating as LEED homes have low flow faucets, toilets and shower heads.
- LEED is very committed to creating a space that does not use toxic chemicals that could harm the air in the home and the health of the homeowner.
- Indoor humidity controls make the room mold-resistant, thereby minimizing the number of allergens that can be found indoors.
- The air you breathe is better and fresher thanks to the high quality ventilation.
- You will have no problem finding a hiking or biking trail as LEED homes are usually built very close by.
- If you ever change your mind, LEED homes are well positioned in the market and have pretty high resale values.
- They are affordable and reduce all of your bills.
Image source: Matt Gibson Architecture + Design
The Home Rating System
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The standards for creating environmentally friendly constructions were set in the mid-1990s by qualified architects, builders and engineers who, by 1998, had created a point scale for energy-efficient houses.
In order to receive standard LEED certification, a home must have an efficiency of at least 40-49%. Silver certifications go to homes with an efficiency of 50-60%, gold to homes with a score of 60-80%, and platinum awards to homes with an efficiency of over 80%.
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If you use the right tools in your home, you are sure to get numbers for LEED certification. Remember, however, that your home must be green to become LEED certified. This means that it complies with the standards of the USGBC.
How far you go and how much you are ready is your decision. When trying to get LEED certification, your home will be screened for the efficiency of many of its aspects. Some of the things your home will be examined for are:
- The quality of the indoor air
- Use of sustainable and recycled materials
- Better water efficiency
- Less energy consumption
- A minimal amount of waste that is released into the atmosphere
- Use sustainable landscaping
Another thing about LEED certification is whether your home is in close proximity to libraries, parks, banks, shops, medical centers, schools, and post offices.
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Most people don’t pay attention to these details, but if you think about it, you can save a lot of money by walking instead of driving to one of these places.
How is LEED different from a green home?
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Solar panels and low flush toilets are only parts of a green house, while a LEED house covers all aspects and all elements are part of it.
A greenhouse can have green parts, but a LEED house is all green. This not only saves you on heating and cooling, but also on the efficient use of energy, water, air and materials in your entire house. LEED houses pay attention to that and even where the land is.
Image source: Boor Bridges architecture
A home is thoroughly vetted before receiving certification as it is relatively difficult to come by.
The LEED program is accurate and rigorous as it seeks to identify leaders and changers. LEED also has a support and process system in place that aims to help builders make the right decisions for their projects by giving them the right information to succeed in green housing.
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It seems like a status that is not easy to attain at all, and you may be wondering what exactly to do when considering LEED certification for your home.
You shouldn’t worry as you will receive ample help from LEED professionals who can help you and your home with their knowledge, understanding and training.
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Finding a qualified LEED advisor is easy – you can do this simply by searching a directory.
There are many who are trying to get LEED certification as builders and architects. So make sure that the person you are working with has experience with the type of project you are working on. Careful selection saves you not only time, but money and effort.
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When you’re done with the project, your home will be assessed by a LEED inspector. After completion of the evaluation process, the number of points is determined, the house receives its award and will shortly be added to the national database of official LEED houses.
Cost of LEED certification
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You can never be sure of the exact increase in the percentage of construction costs involved in building a LEED home. This difference depends on what you need to compare it to.
If you compare this design to a good quality, similar, uncertified design, the cost shouldn’t change significantly – it can be 2 to 5 percent higher.
Image source: Marcus Gleysteen Architects
Compared to the average home you can find in the market – one that meets minimum building codes – you may have a bigger difference in the percentage of the cost: around 20 percent.
Image source: Coates Design Architects Seattle
Depending on your decision to go through these processes to get certified, there may be many benefits to saving money and energy while following the guidelines set out by LEED.
By building or renovating a home, you not only get a safer and healthier space, but also a better environment.
All of these benefits aside, actually getting LEED certification adds to your home’s resale value and all kinds of tax incentives.
You will have a home that is eco-friendly and modern – along with all of the benefits, you have good reason to try becoming a LEED er.