LEED for Homes Basic Process
The LEED for Homes system follows five basic steps:
- Contact a LEED for Homes Provider and join the program.
- Identify a project team.
- Build the home to the stated goals.
- Certify the project as a LEED home.
- Market and sell the LEED home.
In our 100k project we chose Magrann Associates as our LEED provider. They are one of two local providers for our area that we could have chosen from. I also registered Postgreen as a USGBC member before registering each of the homes we are building for LEED certification. The registration and fee for each home must be sent in by mail and the projects are not officially registered until the USGBC has received their payment.
The next step is choosing the project team and we chose the following members for our team:
- Postgreen (Team Leader)
- Level 5 Construction (Builder)
- Interface Studio Architects, LLC (Architect)
- Ross Mechanical (HVAC Consultant & Contractor)
This makes a pretty well rounded team for our LEED process without being too big for easy decision making.
LEED for Homes Fees
There are two main fees that go along with every LEED for Homes project.
- USGBC fees for registering and certifying a project
- LEED for Homes Provider fees for consulting, inspections, documentation and Energy Star rating
These fees are what many builders complain about today. The USGBC fees are very reasonable and it is usually the Provider fees that really add to the budget. I can see how the average builder would not want to pay these fees, but for anyone whose top priority is to build an environmentally responsible home, the fees are reasonable and should not pose a significant barrier to adopting the LEED rating system.
USGBC LEED Fees
|Single-Family Housing||Multi-Family Housing||Volume Pilot|
As you can see the USGBC fees aren’t too bad at all. I think it’s a pretty easy argument that achieving LEED certification on any home will easily boost the sales value of the home by more than the USGBC fees alone.
LEED for Homes Cost Justification
The larger fees come from the local Providers and can easily run as high as $5,000 per home. If you look at this as just an extra fee then it can be hard to swallow. To make it more digestable I have broken it into the following three value added categories:
- Professional consultation that will result in a higher quality, energy efficient and green home.
- Third party inspections during construction to ensure the builder and his subcontractors are building every green and energy efficient feature as designed and intended.
- LEED Certification
So let’s say you pay $5,000 to your LEED Provider and split the fee into these three categories for roughly $1,700 each.
Is it worth $1,700 to receive professional consultation on your home design that will most likely increase the energy efficiency of your home by 10%, add a few very marketable green features and reduce the cost of a few line items on your construction estimate by using the latest and most cost effective measures in green building today? I would say, yes.
Is it worth $1,700 to have a third party inspect your builder’s construction of the home at three different points during the build, work with the builder to correct any mistakes and most importantly be the “bad guy” when necessary for you? Um, yes.
Is it worth $1,700 to get an official LEED certification and plaque that will dramatically increase the marketability of your home, set you apart in a competitive market and easily add $5,000 to the sale value? Heck yes!
These LEED Providers work hard for there fees. They may seem high at first glance until you really look at everything they are doing and the overall value they will bring to your project. There are no less than ten line items on our proposal from our LEED Provider and each one is well worth the cost.
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