LEED Certification is the Most Recognized Green Building Standard
LEED is an acronym that most associate with energy efficient construction. The LEED certification is part of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The LEED acronym stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is the most recognized “green building” standard in the United States. Starting in 2000, the USGBC set out to create a standard to improve human health, protect natural resources, reduce the effects of climate change, and to promote sustainability and a better quality of life.
LEED certification for a building is a testament to its smart design and energy efficiency. It also comes with some notable perks! LEED certification can help commercial and residential owners qualify for tax credits, discounted insurance, and other incentives for energy efficient homes.
How Do You Become a LEED Certified Home?
LEED using a scoring system wherein buildings earn points by adhering to building and structural guidelines that address carbon emissions, energy usage, waste, material construction, and indoor environmental quality. While LEED Certification is most common with new construction, you can earn a LEED score for an existing building under Existing Building – Operation and Management (EBOM) for buildings that are at least 2 years old. Whether new construction or an existing home, the following rankings are available for the associated points:
- Platinum: 80+ Points
- Gold: 60-79 Points
- Silver: 50-59 Points
- LEED Certified: 40-49 Points
For residential homes, homeowners and builders will use the LEED v4.1 Guide for Residential BD+C (Building Design and Construction) to determine which credits they wish to pursue. This flexibility allows projects to set priorities. For example, you may focus on health or energy and water efficiency for your new home using the LEED guide. Or, you may choose to follow the guidelines for construction that is resilient in adverse weather. The USGBC LEED website and online resources will help you determine a plan for meeting the requirements for credits you set as a priority. There’s even a helpful “Credit Library” so you can track your progress.
Part of your journey to a LEED certified home must include a LEED Green Rater. This is a required part of your residential project team. A network of LEED Green Raters in the U.S. is listed on the USGBC website. A preliminary search shows many available Green Raters in South Carolina.
Residential project teams must complete a registration for certification, and projects must be at least 60% complete at the time of certification. Pay the required fees and complete the guide to certification in order to register your home.
LEED Certification: Is It Worth It?
It’s difficult to answer this question because individuals and businesses pursue LEED certification for many reasons. Although USGBC asserts that LEED-standard construction costs the same as traditional construction, that is debatable. However, one source found that even though construction costs were more, LEED certified buildings command higher market sales.
In addition to the tax breaks and other incentives, there is value to LEED construction. According to the USGBC, “LEED homes are designed to maximize indoor fresh air and minimize exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants.” Additionally, homes designed to LEED standards save energy and water, lowering monthly bills. Certified homes use 20 to 30 percent less energy than non-green homes, with some homes saving up to 60 percent.”
Whether you pursue the LEED certificate or not, smart design can save money and improve your health.
Interested in a LEED Certified Home in the Myrtle Beach Area?
Are interested in LEED certification for a residential building, don’t get overwhelmed about the volume of information on the USGBC website. Use this simplified resource, and meet with one of the Odom Design team to start planning your green building dream home!