What is a LEED Certified Home?

Is a LEED home right for you? Image Source: Jeffers Design Group

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program for green building. There are numerous levels and ratings within this certification program that recognize best-in-class building strategies for homes, offices, new construction, schools, hospitals, retail and much more.

LEED is designed to be flexible and far-reaching, opening the doors to ALL development projects and allowing them to become more environmentally friendly and lessen their carbon footprint. The US Green Building Council developed this classification system in order to promote green building practices, and the response seems favorable. Without even realizing it, you may have already step foot into one of the famous LEED buildings. If you have been to Chicago’s Sears Tower, New York’s Empire State Building, Olympic Villages in Beijing/Vancouver, or the Boston Logan Airport (to name a few), then you have been in a LEED building.

Would you like to save money, make your home more valuable, and make the world a better place for your children? Of course you would, so let’s read why LEED certification is a route you should consider for your home:

Save the world and your pocket book with a LEED home. Image Source: Zero Energy

Why Would You Want A LEED Certified Home?

Selfishly, why wouldn’t you want a LEED certified home? Forget about the environment for a minute and let’s discuss all the personal benefits that you can acquire from a LEED home:

  • Every part of a LEED home is sealed and insulated, saving you a ton of money on home heating and cooling.
  • Low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets in LEED homes means lower water bills and less energy to heat the water.
  • The air you breathe is better thanks to LEED’s dedication to not use toxic chemicals in your home.
  • Allergens are brought to a minimum with indoor moisture controls that prohibit the growth of common molds.
  • Air quality is also improved with use of ventilation that brings outdoor air in.
  • LEED homes are built in close proximity to walking and bike paths
  • LEED homes have a much higher resale value and sell more quickly
  • Overall, LEED homes are less expensive to live in.

We are convinced, how about you? Let’s look at the rating system to learn more about LEED certification for your home:

There are so many reasons to love in a LEED home. Image Source: Niche Interiors

LEED Rating System For Homes

In an attempt to reach all possible projects, LEED certification has 5 rating systems—Building and Design, Interior Design and Construction, Building Operations and Maintenance, Neighborhood Development, and Homes.

Then there are 4 certification levels— Silver, Gold, Platinum and Certified. You earn credits for specific items, projects or additions that are included in your home,  and the number of credits/points that you get equals the certification level your home achieves.

Essentially, it is up to you as to how far you would like to go. If you want a fully Certified home, then implement the tools within your home to earn the credits needed. But here’s something to remember, every LEED home is green no matter where it sits on the rating system— it is up to you to weigh the cost benefit of how far up the ranks you wish to go.

There are many levels of LEED homes. It is up to you how far you would like to go. Image Source: New Theme

How is LEED Different From a Green Home?

A green home may have low-flush toilets or solar panels on the roof , thereby dubbing it, Green, while a LEED home is all-encompassing. A LEED home is one that is green from top to bottom and inside and out.

Rather than focusing on one aspect such as heating and cooling, a LEED home is exemplary in energy efficiency, water use, air quality, building materials, land placement and use—essentially everything!  LEED certification is also rigorously tested and hard to achieve, unlike other green certification programs.

In fact, every LEED home is throughly inspected and tested to ensure it meets the tough standards. Essentially, reaching a LEED status brings your home to the pinnacle of green certification—it’s the best there is.

LEED homes are different that normal Green homes, as they are all-encompassing when it comes to green technologies and products–inside and out. Image Source: DNM Architect

How to Get Started

With all this information, you may feel overwhelmed and left asking, how do I achieve this superlative status? Here is the great thing— you don’t have to do it on your own, there are certified LEED professionals that have the in-depth knowledge and training to help you acquire LEED certification for your home.

It’s best to search the directory to find a properly certified LEED consultant.  There are a lot of people attempting to become certified as LEED architects, builders etc…so do your research and find the one that has the most experience in your type of project. You wouldn’t want to make any costly mistakes.

Also, as knowledge increases and technology advances, new building characteristics and installments appear, therefore be sure to hire someone who stays abreast of all advancements in green technologies.

If you plan to remodel your existing home into a LEED certified home, be aware that it can be extensive and messy. Green Compliance Plus, warns that LEED for home remodels may involve a total gutting of the home—walls, ceiling, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) and water systems— so be prepared and willing to live through these intrusive steps of the program.

Look to a LEED certified professional for advice. Image Source: Hill Construction Company

Is a LEED home for you? There are a lot of things to weigh before deciding. Do you want a home with cleaner air, better efficiency, and lower living costs? Do you want to lessen your imprint on the world? If you said yes to these questions, then maybe you should look into getting your home LEED certified.

Remember, getting an existing home LEED certified is a long, messy and arduous  task. Maybe it is best to look into building one from the ground up? Do your research and look for professionals with LEED certification to guide you in your decision making process, and consider looking to other Green homes for inspiration.

Would you go through these steps to get your home LEED certified? Does it seem worth it to you?