As the popularity of green home building continues to spread, more people are asking “What is LEED®?”
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) is, in simple terms, a rating system for measuring how green a building is. It is an internationally recognized, voluntary certification program formed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that provides third-party verification of a building’s green design, construction and operation. The program encourages sustainable building practices, including ones that help to improve indoor air quality and reduce energy and water usage as well as lessen the environmental impact of building. LEED has become the standard for green buildings including offices, hospitals, schools, stores, restaurants and homes.
Any Home Can be Called Green
Add a few environmentally-friendly features and you can call your home green. But with a LEED certified home, you know it is green. The USGBC administers the LEED certification program and ensures your home receives third-party inspection and testing. With LEED certification, you can feel confident your new home will perform as you expect it to.
History of the US Green Building Council & LEED
The USGBC established in 1993 with the mission of promoting sustainability in the building industry. During its founding meeting, held in the American Institute of Architects’ boardroom, discussions began about forming a green building rating system. The USGBC unveiled the LEED for Homes program in 2000, launched a pilot program in 2005, and began an official national roll-out of the LEED program in 2008. The LEED for Homes program continues to evolve.
How LEED Certification Works
To achieve certification a LEED project must meet 18 prerequisites in eight main categories and earn a minimum number of optional points. Main categories include innovation in design, site selection, indoor environmental quality, energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, materials and resources, location and linkages, and awareness and education. For instance, LEED requires that a home’s energy efficiency exceeds the minimum code requirements by at least 15 percent. The home must have a minimum number of water efficiency measures and must have proper ventilation with high efficiency air filters and measures to help eliminate mold and mildew. Builders must also use sustainable products in construction and minimize construction waste. The home must undergo onsite inspection and performance testing.
Meeting LEED requirements is not easy, but doing so results in many benefits for the homeowner and the environment. Read about the benefits of a LEED home and why Frankel made the decision to become green home builders in Houston.
Images source: US Green Building Council