There is a LEED house being built in my area. What is the difference between a LEED home and a standard build?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system that measures the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to guide the building industry and provide standards for sustainability for a variety of building projects. Think green.
LEED certification is recognized across the globe as the premier mark of achievement in green building.
As humans, we spend 90% of our time indoors. Toward the movement of sustainability and protecting Mother Earth, LEED enables project teams, who may not have control over whole building operations, the opportunity to develop indoor spaces that are better for the planet and for people. The LEED green building certification program offers a rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. LEED provides building owners and operators a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.
An example of an environmental strategy under Water Efficiency would be to build a rainwater harvesting system in the home which is the accumulation and deposition of rainwater for reuse on-site, rather than allowing it to runoff. Uses include water for garden, water for livestock, water for irrigation, water for domestic use with proper treatment, and indoor heating for houses. Others may install concrete cisterns under homes to collect rainwater. Homeowners used the water collected in their cisterns to wash cars and water the lawn.
In LEED certification scoring, there are 136 possible base points distributed across five major credit categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, plus an additional 6 points for Innovation in Design and an additional 4 points for Regional Priority.
There are four levels of certification – the number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED certification that the project will receive. Buildings can qualify for four levels of certification:
Certified: 40–49 points
Silver: 50–59 points
Gold: 60–79 points
Platinum: 80 points and above
An example of a checklist of LEED points can be found here.
If you are interested in building an LEED home, you must first register where you’ll have access to a variety of tools and resources online necessary to apply for LEED certification. Next, you are ready to identify specific LEED credits to pursue, collect information and prepare documentation to include with an application for certification. Once reviewed, Certification is the final step in the LEED review process.
Do you have any LEED homes in your area? Or were you ever fortunate to be part of the building process? It is the future of home building. I found the subject interesting and hope you did also.
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