Tuesday, March 31, 2009

LEED for Homes

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most well-known, visible rating system for energy efficient, high performance buildings today. A program of the US Green Building Council, LEED is taking the lead in educating professionals and consumers in the green building movement.

LEED for Homes was officially launched in February 2008, promoting the design and construction of high-performance green homes. As of March 2009, 1,504 homes had received LEED for Homes certification, and 8,993 had registered their intent to seek certification in one of its four progressive levels of green: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The LEED for Homes system awards certification based on point totals in eight categories. Categories include:

  • Innovation & Design Process
  • Location & Linkages
  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Awareness & Education
An important first step in building a LEED home is to interview and hire a LEED architect registered in your state to design your green home. After you have a home plan, your architect will help you find a qualified builder to construct the home and document certification points throughout the construction process. When the home is completed, a certified Rater inspects, tests, and certifies the home as Certified (45.0 points), Silver (60.0 points), Gold (75.0 points) and Platinum (90.0 points).

Energy savings is just one of the benefits of a LEED certified home. A green home that reaches a LEED Certified or LEED Silver status will enjoy a 30% reduction in energy usage over a conventional home. A LEED Gold home increases that savings significantly, using 48% less energy, while a LEED Platinum status home can see the biggest energy reduction - 50%-60%. (Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores compared with International Energy Conservation Code standards).


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