LEED for Homes.
Buildings today can be designed to use less energy, consume less water, and interact with their natural environment. They can help recycle, are recyclable, incorporate renewable energies, and support a healthier indoor environment. All the while lessening their impact on the environment over the life of the building.
This design movement is known by many names, such as green design, sustainable design, or high performance design. Along with the environmental benefits, there are long term financial benefits such as lower operating costs and lower maintenance costs. Sustainable design is about building fiscally responsible buildings while limiting resource use.
Why? LEED homes are built to be healthy, providing clean indoor air and incorporating safe building materials to ensure a comfortable home. Using less energy and water means lower utility bills each month. The EPA estimates that indoor air is between two and ten times more polluted than outdoor air. LEED-certified homes are designed to maximize fresh air indoors and minimize exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. And in many markets certified green homes are now selling quicker and for more money than comparable non-green homes.
Overview of LEED for Homes
LEED for Homes is an initiative designed to promote the transformation of the mainstream homebuilding industry toward more sustainable practices. LEED for Homes is targeting the top 25% of new homes with best practice environmental features. LEED for Homes is a collaborative initiative that actively works with all sectors of the homebuilding industry.
By recognizing sustainable design and construction in homes nationwide, LEED for Homes helps home builders differentiate their homes as some of the best homes in their markets, using a recognized national brand. Furthermore, homebuyers can more readily identify third-party verified green homes.
While there are already a number of local or regional green homebuilding programs, LEED for Homes is attempting to provide national consistency in defining the features of a green home and to enable builders anywhere in the country to obtain a green rating on their homes. LEED for Homes represents a consensus standard for green homebuilding developed and refined by a diverse cadre of national experts and experienced green builders. The LEED for Homes Rating System is part of the comprehensive suite of LEED assessment tools offered by USGBC to promote sustainable design, construction, and operations practices in buildings nationwide.
The LEED for Homes Rating System measures the overall performance of a home in eight categories:
Innovation & Design Process (ID)
Special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
Location & Linkages (LL)
The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
Sustainable Sites (SS)
The use of the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
Water Efficiency (WE)
Water-efficient practices, both indoor and outdoor.
Energy & Atmosphere (EA)
Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
Materials & Resources (MR)
Efficient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materials, and minimization of waste during construction.
Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)
Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.
Awareness & Education (AE)
The education of homeowner, tenant, and/or building manager about the operation and maintenance of the green features of a LEED home.
The LEED for Homes Rating System works by requiring a minimum level of performance through prerequisites, and rewarding improved performance in each of the above categories. The level of performance is indicated by four performance tiers – Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum – according to the number of points earned (Exhibit 1).
|LEED for Homes Certification Levels|
|Number of LEED for Homes points Required|