Explanation, Resources, Guides, & Further Benefits of Getting LEED Certified
LEED is a cooperative wide-ranging program that works with all kinds of projects and helps them become more green and eco-friendly. In our first article about LEED certification we discussed the program definitions, the different types of LEED certifications, and a simple outline of how both businesses and residents can benefit from the sustainable LEED program. In this article we’ll dive a little deeper into the certification point system and how to best make the LEED system work for you.
LEED Home Vs Green Home
A ‘green’, eco-conscious, home may have solar panels installed, low-flush toilets, and other ‘green’ elements while a LEED home includes those aspects and many more, from top to bottom and inside out. A LEED home is all green, managing every aspect of energy, water, air, and materials efficiently. LEED homes even take into account where a project is built in the community, i.e. within walking or biking distance from basic supplies.
The LEED program is strict and strives to recognize leaders in the field. LEED also offers a broad support system to help participants make the right decisions for their projects by giving them the right information for success when it comes to green homebuilding.
LEED projects obtain credits in seven areas of concentration to achieve certification. After receiving a minimum of 40 credits from the USGBC, a building can become certified. The seven areas of concentration are:
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Innovation in Design Process
- Materials and Resources
- Regional Priority
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
LEED Certification Levels
|LEED Certified||40 – 49 points|
|Silver Level||50 – 59 points|
|Gold Level||60 – 79 points|
|Platinum Level||80 + points|
The point distribution in the seven categories are:
|Energy and Atmosphere||35|
|Indoor Environmental Quality||15|
|Innovation in Design||6|
|Materials and Resources||14|
Total Possible Points
On the USGBC’s website, the organization that oversees the LEED program, there is a WEALTH of materials available to help you every step of the way to achieve LEED status. Such as:
- Guidance papers- on building, design, construction, planning, best practices, water metering, etc., etc.
- Calculators- on energy performance, construction materials, weather events, acoustic performance, and many others topics.
- Rating system- for every aspect of a project, for example, “LEED v4.1 Building Design and Construction Rating System – January 2020”.
And the USGBC has made these files and resources available to everyone in the world by offering them in different formats and languages:
- French Italian
BENEFITS OF A LEED RESIDENCE
- LEED homes are green homes, and they are transforming the residential market and people’s lives around the world.
- LEED homes are built to be healthier, safer, and more comfortable.
- LEED homes are built to be energy-efficient, ensuring that they can be comfortably heated and cooled with minimal energy usage.
- They use less energy and water, improve indoor air quality and have a sale, or re-sale, premium.
- The average energy bill for a typical single-family home is more than $2,000 annually. On average, LEED-certified homes use 20-30% less energy with some reporting up to 60% less.
- LEED homes are also required to demonstrate 20% water savings, helping to put money back into owners’ pockets.
- The EPA estimates that indoor air is two to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. LEED-certified homes are designed to improve indoor air quality and minimize exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants connected to asthma, allergies, and other respiratory issues.
- Building green homes can be done for the same cost – and sometimes less – than non-green homes. For those who do see a cost increase, it’s usually about 2.4% upfront and is quickly recouped through energy, water, and maintenance savings.
- Green homes repeatedly sell and rent for higher premiums.
You can do it on your own, but hiring a LEED professional will cut down on the stress of this stringent certification process. These experts are tested to meet industry standards so you can trust their knowledge and experience. LEED Accredited Professionals are educated on the latest strategies for green building design, construction, and operations for all building types making them a great asset for a successful certification.
FUTURE of LEED
Sustainable living and home building is trending and there are enormous opportunities for those who wish to join in the movement. High energy consumption is creating huge environmental problems and everyone is aware that a shift in mindset towards sustainable living needs to happen. Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Dr. Fatih Birol said, “If we don’t make buildings more efficient, their rising energy use will impact us all, whether it be through access to affordable energy services, poor air quality or higher energy bills.” With over 1 million LEED projects in the U.S. alone, it’s clear that green building is here to stay and will thankfully only continue to grow.
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