Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but I’m sure you’d want to find out what is a LEED certified home. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – or LEED for short – is a certification program for green building.
This program has countless ratings and levels with which the best strategies for building homes, schools, offices, hospitals, new constructions and more are found and identified.
LEED is a cooperative wide-ranging program that works with all kinds of projects and helps them become more green and eco-friendly.
This ranking system was started by The US Green Building Council with a goal to encourage green building; so far it’s been widely approved and has gotten good feedback.
Image source: New Energy Works Timberframers
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 as LEED is a very popular and universal system used throughout the whole world.
LEED offers benchmarking in 5 categories:
- Building Design and Construction,
- Interior Design and Construction,
- Building Operations and Maintenance,
- Neighborhood Development, and
Leave it to LEED for Homes to plan, design and construct efficient and quality green homes which is affordable and massively produced. LEED for Homes also works with creating custom designs, single-family homes, townhouses, duplexes, apartments and lofts in historic buildings.
What’s Beneficial about a LEED Certified Home?
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What LEED certification means is not just something that makes you feel better about being friendly to the environment. Aside from the environmental friendliness, there are many personal benefits that one can enjoy in when having a LEED home:
- Heating and cooling is no longer a financial problem with a LEED home because every inch of it is sealed and insulated.
- You can also save money on water and heating it as LEED homes have low-flow faucets, toilets and shower heads.
- LEED is very committed to creating a space that doesn’t use any kinds of toxic chemicals that may jeopardize the air in the home and the homeowner’s health.
- Indoor moisture controls make the room mold-repellent and by doing so they minimize the number of allergens that can be found indoors.
- The air you breathe is better and fresher thanks to the high quality ventilation.
- You’ll have no trouble finding a walking or bike path as LEED homes are usually built quite close to them.
- If you ever change your mind, LEED homes do well on the market and they have a pretty high resale value.
- They are affordable and they reduce all of your bills.
Image source: Matt Gibson Architecture + Design
The Home Rating System
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The standards for creating green constructions were established in the mid 1990s by qualified architects, builders and engineers who created a point scale for energy efficient homes by 1998.
To get a standard LEED certification, a home needs to receive a minimum of 40-49% efficiency; silver certifications go to the houses that receive 50-60% efficiency, gold goes to homes that score 60-80%, while platinum awards go to the ones that score above 80%.
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Putting the right tools into effect in your home is sure to get you numbers for a LEED certification – but remember, your home has to be green in order to get be LEED certified, which means it has meet the standards of the USGBC.
How far you go and how much you’re willing to put in is your decision. If you do choose to try to get a LEED certification then your home shall be examined 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
- The use of sustainable and recycled materials
- Better water efficiency
- Less energy consumption
- A minimal amount of waste emitted into the atmosphere
- Using sustainable landscaping
Another thing about the LEED certification is whether your home is in close proximity to libraries, parks, banks, stores, medical centers, schools and post offices.
Image source: Core Development Group, Inc.
Most people don’t pay attention to these details, but when you think about it a lot of money can be saved 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 just parts of a green home, while a LEED home has all of the aspects covered and all of the elements are part of it.
A green house can have green parts, but a LEED home is all green. It’s not just the way you save on heating and cooling – it’s the way your whole home uses energy, water, air and materials efficiently. LEED homes watch for this and even where the land is placed.
Image source: Boor Bridges Architecture
A home is thoroughly checked before receiving a certification as they’re relatively difficult to get.
The LEED program is accurate and strict as it strives to recognize leaders and changers. LEED also has a support and process system with a goal to help builders make the right decisions for their projects by giving them the right information for success when it comes to green homebuilding.
Image source: Phinney Design Group
It may seem as a status that’s not at all easy to reach and you may ask yourself what exactly you need to do when you’re thinking about getting your home LEED certified.
You shouldn’t worry because you’ll have plenty of help from LEED professionals that can help you and your home with their abundance of knowledge, understanding and training.
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Finding a qualified LEED consultant is easy – you can do it just by skimming through a directory.
There are many that are trying to become certified by LEED as builders and architects, so make sure that the person you’re going to work with is experienced in the type of project you’re working on. Choosing carefully will not only save you time, but it will save you the money and effort too.
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When you’ve finished with the project your home will be evaluated by a LEED inspector. After the evaluation process is done the score will be determined, the home will receive its award and will soon be added to the national database of official LEED homes.
Costs of LEED Certification
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You can never surely deduce the exact growing of the percent in construction costs when building a LEED home. This difference depends on what you have to compare it to.
When you’re comparing this construction to a high-quality similar uncertified one, then there shouldn’t be a big change in the cost – it may be 2-5 percent higher.
Image source: Marcus Gleysteen Architects
When compared to the average home you can find on the market – one that goes with the minimum building codes – then you may have a bigger difference in the percentage of the costs: something like 20 percent.
Image source: Coates Design Architects Seattle
Depending on your decision to go through these processes in order to get certified, you may find yourself having many benefits in saving money and energy while following the guidelines set by LEED.
Not only does building or renovating a home leave you with a safer and healthier space, but it also helps your surrounding environment to better thrive.
Aside from all of these benefits, actually getting the LEED certification will boost your home’s resale value and any kinds of tax incentives.
You will have a home that is eco-friendly and modern – combined with all the benefits, you have a real good reason to try to become a LEED-er.