LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system created by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes, including affordable housing, mass-production homes, custom designs, stand-alone single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, suburban and urban apartments and condominiums and lofts in historic buildings.
What Is LEED?
It is “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED). A green home is designed to have a positive impact on energy efficiency, environmental performance and human well being. LEED is a point-based certification system that measures how well a home performs as a green home. Homes can achieve the following levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Amerisips projects have achieved Gold and we are pushing the bar higher to regularly achieve Platinum.
LEED is a Tool
For Amerisips, LEED is a tool used to set targets and track progress during the design and construction of a Free Energy Living home.
LEED is a Scorecard
For homebuyers, LEED is a Scorecard—like a nutrition label—that gives a clear, concise picture of all the ways a green home performs at a higher level.
LEED is a Seal of Quality
For residents, LEED is a seal of quality, providing peace of mind that they are living in a home designed to deliver fresh air indoors and improved water and energy efficiency.
What Does LEED Measure?
LEED recognizes performance in eight areas:
Indoor Environmental Quality The quality of the air indoors is often two to five times worse, and occasionally more than 100 times worse, than outdoor air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A LEED home is designed to maximize fresh air indoors and minimize exposure to toxins and pollutants.
Energy Efficiency The average American household spends around $1,500 every year on energy bills, according to the U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR program. Based on average ENERGY STAR scores of LEED homes built so far, they have the potential to use 20-30% less energy, and some up to 60% less energy, than a home built to the International Code Council’s standards for minimum energy efficiency. Less energy use means lower utility bills every month through the life of a house.
Water Efficiency Wasteful water use is both costly and risky, as population growth and a changing climate make clean, safe water an increasingly scarce resource. It is also directly tied to wasteful energy use: As much as 1/4-1/2 of the electricity used by most U.S. cities is consumed at municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities according to the U.S. Department of Energy. LEED homes use innovative strategies to reduce a home’s water use and to find creative ways to reuse water.
Site Selection The old truism about prime real estate – location, location, location – is especially true of green homes. LEED encourages homes that are close to schools, shopping, work and transit, maximizing your quality of life and reducing the amount of time you waste in traffic.
Site Development During construction and beyond, a home can cause erosion, interfere with natural habitats and pollute waterways through stormwater runoff. LEED homes avoid destructive construction practices and have landscaping and other elements that protect the land where the home sites.
Materials Selection The materials and resources that go into a home can be carefully selected from sustainably harvested, responsibly processed sources – or they can be wasteful and contribute to habitat destruction. LEED homes use recycled, reclaimed and responsibly obtained materials everywhere possible.
Residents’ Awareness LEED is proactive in educating homeowners and renters about a home’s green features and how to get the highest performance from them. A LEED home also stands as an example to the community of a well-built home and encourages others to live the same.
Innovation LEED encourages builders and designers to find innovative ways to increase a home’s performance, taking into account local and regional needs and promoting durability for a long-lasting, comfortable home.
How Does A Free Energy Living Home Become LEED Certified?
Registration The Amerisips building team registers a new home project with the LEED for Homes program.
Teamwork The builder, architect, engineer and others on the design and construction team work closely together to optimize the benefits of a green home and ensure all the pieces work well together.
Verification During the construction of the home, inspections at significant milestones, often including an ENERGY STAR rating, verify that the project is on the right track.
Certification At the end of the process, a home is awarded points for its achievements. Based on the number of points it receives, the home can be certified at one of four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
The LEED for Homes certification program has been put in place to provide independent, third-party verification that a particular home complies with the LEED for Homes Green Building Rating System. This certification program is not meant to serve as a vehicle for the adjudication of disputes between third parties, including without limitation, contractual disputes that arise between homeowners, project teams, and homebuilders. Accordingly, this certification program and the services provided by Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, USGBC staff, Providers, and/or Green Raters does not replace the applicable judicial or other alternative dispute resolution processes that such third parties may have available to resolve such disputes between themselves.
Further, the U.S. Green Building Council makes no warranty with respect to any LEED-certified project, including any warranty of habitability, merchantability, or fitness for a particular purpose. There are no warranties, express or implied, written or oral, statutory or otherwise, with respect to the certifications provided by USGBC. By way of example only, and without limiting the broad scope of the foregoing, it is understood that LEED certification, whether at the Certified level or any other level, does not mean that the project is structurally sound or safe, constructed in accordance with applicable laws, regulations or codes, free of mold or mildew, free of volatile organic compounds or allergens, or free of soil gases including radon.