LEED for Homes, What Is It? Part 1 of 2 series.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system designed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
LEED for Homes gives the architect, builder, homeowner a benchmark in to which they can implement practical and measurable green building design, construction, operation and maintenance in the residential sector.
There are numerous LEED certification programs for commercial building; New Construction, Schools, Retail, Core & Shell, Commercial Interiors, Building Operation & Maintenance and LEED for Neighborhood Development which we will not address in this article.
Why Green Homes?
Earth's population is growing, thus a demand for more natural resources which are in a finite amount. The EPA has done a study in the United States and building accounts for:
•Ø 39% of total energy consumption
•Ø 68% of electrical usage
•Ø 38% or carbon dioxide emissions (20.6% residential)
•Ø 12% water consumption (74% residential)
•Ø Building related construction and demolition approximately 160 million tons per year.
Green homebuilding promotes construction of homes that have higher performance levels, using sustainable building practices, renewable and recycled materials. The goal is to build a healthier non-toxic home, that last longer and cost less to maintain and operate.
LEED for Homes has five environmental categories, two specific categories for residential sector and an Innovation and Design category to address practices not covered in the five environmental categories.
•1. Sustainable Sites
•2. Water Efficiency
•3. Energy and Atmosphere
•4. Material & Resources
•5. Indoor Environmental Quality
Innovation & Design
•1. Location & Linkage
•2. Awareness &Education
Rating and Certification of LEED for Homes is done by a third party called the LEED for Home Certification Provider (LEED Provider). The LEED Provider and as team of LEED Raters who conduct field inspections and performance testing and is independent from the construction of the project.
LEED certification is based on the scorecard of 18 prerequisites and 67 credits from the 8 categories above, in total 136 credit points are available. The certification levels are:
•· Certified 45 to 59 points
•· Silver 60 to 74 points
•· Gold 75 to 89 points
•· Platinum 90 to 136 points
How to start?
•1. Contact a LEED for Homes Provider
•2. Identify project team, architect, builder, landscaper, engineer, subcontractors before or at the beginning of design and location.
•3. Preliminary Project Checklist
•4. Decide on design and location
•5. Build to stated goals, verify with Green Rater and Provider
•6. Certify Home
•7. Post certification education and awareness to public, PR and marketing.
This is just a brief over view of the steps and amount of work it takes. There are adjustments, verification procedures, calculations and more to work through. Every project is different, applying to different credits following different prescriptive and/or performance paths. Contact your local LEED Provider for more information, local LEED AP for HOMEs builder/architect or go to USGBC website. (LEED AP for Homes are professional credentials that specialize in design and construction of green homes accredited by USGBC).
David is an accredited LEED Green Associate (LEED GA) by the United States Green Build Council (USGBC) and a Certified Green Professional (CGP) of National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) .
David has over twenty-five years experience in residential construction and over twenty commercial and retail interior outfit/renovations projects completed.
- Member of the Connecticut Association of Realtors, CAR.
- Member of the National Association of Realtors, NAR.
- Member of the Connecticut chapter (CTGBC).
- Associate member of the HBRA-Fairfield County, Ct. .
- Contact David Popoff for all your real estate needs in Darien, New Canaan, Rowayton and other parts of Connecticut.