Have you heard of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)? If not, you are in good company. But, if you are working with an architect who is designing your next home, she or he certainly has.
Founded in April 1993, the USGBC is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to promote sustainability in the building and construction industry.”
The LEED Program Basics
One program that is a great success of the council is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED program was begun by the council in the year 2000.
The creation of the LEED program helps owners and operators construct and run their structures in an environmentally sound way. The USGBC uses a rating system and provides guidelines and tools developed by the Council for achieving,
- Water efficiency
- Lower carbon emissions
- Energy savings
- Reduction in waste going to landfills
- Protection of natural resources
- Improved air quality
How LEED Certification Benefits Homeowners
If you purchase or build a LEED certified home, the benefits are compelling and include,
- Energy efficiency that allows for comfortable year-round climate control that uses less energy than similar sized homes without LEED certification.
- Homes are tested to cut leakage from the home’s envelope and ductwork.
- Homes are designed to use minimal amounts of water inside and outside the home.
- Energy savings that are 30 to 60 percent greater than similar homes built to the International Energy Code.
In home construction, there are four levels of LEED certification. The chart below identifies them and the estimated energy savings.
|Energy Savings for LEED Certified Homes based on LEED Category Achieved|
|LEED Category||Energy Savings|
|General LEED Certified Home||Up to 30 percent|
|LEED Silver Homes||About 30 percent|
|LEED Gold Homes||48 percent|
|LEED Platinum Homes||50-60 percent|
Another key part of the certification for a LEED certified home is that the home meets the requirements of the United States Department of Energy, EnergyStar™ for Homes criteria. Doing so saves homeowners anywhere between $200 and $400 a year.
Surprisingly, green homes can be built for the same amount of money, or less, than non-green residential construction. They cost less to live in, are always comfortable for families to live in and have a higher resale value.
http://www.usgbc.org/about/history, http://www.law.utah.edu/the-leed-certification-process-guiding-sustainable-design-construction-and-practices-for-the-new-building/, http://freshome.com/2014/10/09/what-is-a-leed-certified-home/,