This is the first of many posts on the LEED for Homes Rating System as it pertains to our 100K House Case Study.
LEED for Homes Overview
LEED stands for Leadership in Environmental and Energy-Efficient Design. It is a rating system for sustainable buildings developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council). There are other LEED standards for commercial construction, interiors, schools, retail and healthcare as well. We will only be focusing on the LEED for Homes Rating System here.
While there are other local or regional green building programs as well as new national programs, LEED for Homes is the most recognized in the national and international marketplace. Another key element that sets LEED apart from other green building programs is that LEED must be certified by a third party. Most of the other programs are self-certifying by the builder, developer or homeowner.
LEED for Homes measures the overall performance of a home in eight categories:
- Innovation & Design Process (ID) – Special design methods, unique regional credits, measures not currently addressed in the Rating System, and exemplary performance levels.
- Location & Linkages (LL) – The placement of homes in socially and environmentally responsible ways in relation to the larger community.
- Sustainable Sites (SS) – The use of the entire property so as to minimize the project’s impact on the site.
- Water Efficiency (WE) – Water-efficient practice, both indoor and outdoor.
- Energy & Atmosphere (EA) – Energy efficiency, particularly in the building envelope and heating and cooling design.
- Materials & Resources (MR) – Efficient utilization of materials, selection of environmentally preferable materials, and minimization of waste during construction.
- Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) – Improvement of indoor air quality by reducing the creation of and exposure to pollutants.
- Awareness & Education (AE) – Theeducation of homeowner, tenant, and/or building manager about the operation and maintenance of the green features of a LEED home.
A home can achieve one of four certification levels in the LEED for Homes System – Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The point levels required for each certification level are shown in the diagram below.
Achieving a total amount points is not all that is needed to successfully achieve a LEED rating. There are certain aspects of the rating system that are mandatory prerequisites in addition to there being a minimum amount of points needed in each category. The chart below shows these requirements for each category as well as the total amount of points available for each of the eight categories.
This concludes out introduction. The next post will focus on the process and fees for obtaining a LEED for Homes certification.
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