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LEED for homes is a national, voluntary certification system, developed by experts and experienced builders, that promotes the design and construction of high performance green homes and encourages the adoption of sustainable practices by the homebuilding industry.
LEED for Homes
The LEED (or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes Rating System is part of the suite of nationally recognized LEED Green Building Rating Systems administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is the market’s leading rating system, targeting the top 25% of home building practices in terms of environmental responsibility. LEED provides industry resources and tools on how to “green” any new home.
With LEED, homebuilders can differentiate their structures by demonstrating that they meet the highest performance measures, and homebuyers can readily identify high-quality green homes. LEED provides national consistency in defining the features of a green home, enables builders anywhere in the country to obtain a green rating on their homes, and assures homebuyers of the quality of their purchases, all based on a recognized national brand.
Rating and Certification
The strength of the program is its system of third-party verification. LEED homes are rated by LEED for Homes Providers. These are local and regional organizations with demonstrated experience, expertise in their market, and a proven record of supporting builders in the construction of high-performance, sustainable homes. A LEED Provider manages a team of Green Raters and works under contract with the USGBC. USGBC reviews and completes certifications.
A Green Rater is an individual who conducts field inspections and performance testing, whether as part of the provider's in-house staff or as a subcontractor.
USGBC has expanded its network of providers throughout the country. Homebuilders may contact any LEED for Homes Provider to discuss participation. An updated list of Providers is maintained on the USGBC website. Smart Energy Solutions, a program of the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) in Philadelphia is a LEED for Homes Provider for the Southeastern Pennsylvania region.
LEED certification is based on 18 prerequisites and 67 credits. The prerequisites are basic performance standards: they are mandatory for every project, and no points are awarded for meeting them. To achieve certification, builders earn credit points by exceeding the minimum standards of the prerequisites. In total, 136 credit points are available. Please note that these are subject to change as different versions of the LEED certification program are introduced and updated. For more information, click here.
Prerequisites and points are classified in eight credit categories:
Innovation & Design Process. Special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System and exemplary performance levels.
Location & Linkages. The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
Sustainable Sites. The use of the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
Water Efficiency. Water conservation practices, both indoor and outdoor.
Energy & Atmosphere. Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
Materials & Resources. Efficient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materials, and minimization of waste during construction.
Indoor Environmental Quality. Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.
Awareness & Education. The education of homeowner, tenant, or multi-family building manager about the operations and maintenance of the green features of a LEED Home.
What Are MyOptions?
LEED for Homes addresses several types of new residential construction. Project types that are eligible for LEED certification are listed below, subject to the conditions described.
Single-Family Homes. Single-family homes include both attached and detached homes, and may be production, affordable, or custom. Townhomes that share a common vertical wall are considered single-family residences. Duplexes or other stacked housing units that share a common ceiling or floor are considered multi-family residences.
Low-Rise Multi-Family. Low-rise multi-family buildings are defined as one-, two-, or three-story buildings with at least two dwelling units. Townhomes that share a common vertical wall are considered single-family residences. Duplexes or other stacked housing units that share a common ceiling or floor are considered multi-family residences. Multi-family buildings are eligible to use the LEED for Homes Sampling Protocol to reduce verification costs if the builder is able to demonstrate consistency in construction practices.
Affordable Homes. LEED for Homes can be applied to both affordable single-family and affordable low-rise (one, two, or three stories) multi-family projects.
Manufactured and Modular Housing. Manufactured and modular homes are homes that are primarily constructed in a production plant, not on the home site. Certification of these projects requires the involvement of the plant manager or owner and may necessitate on-site plant inspections, particularly for assembly, air sealing, and energy performance.
Existing Homes. Major “gut” rehab projects can participate in LEED for Homes, but partial rehab or renovation projects cannot. To be considered a major rehab project, the home must be stripped to the studs on at least one side of all external walls and the exterior ceiling, to expose the itnerstitial space for insulation installation and inspection. The American Society of Interior Designers' Foundation and the USGBC have partnered on teh development of best practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential modeling projects. This program will increase understanding of sustainable renovation project practices and benefits among homeowners, residents, design professionals, product suppliers and service providers to build both demand and industry capacity.
- All LEED homes, regardless of type, must meet the prerequisites listed in the LEED for homes rating System. All LEED projects must establish a relationship with a LEED Provider before beginning construction, preferably early in the design stage.
For more information from the USGBC, please click here.
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Why is this important?
LEED provides an easy to use and follow rating system to standardize energy efficiency construction.
Gives a benchmark for designers to meet when designing energy efficieny structures