Want to live green? A home certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program can benefit the environment, your health and even your wallet. Check out what it takes to earn a LEED designation and what’s worth incorporating in your current space or pursuing in your next home hunt.
LEED certification began in 2000 to serve as a global rating system for best practices to build sustainable commercial properties and developments. In 2008, LEED expanded to include homes, which earn their designation based on building materials, energy systems, location, design and indoor air quality.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) reports LEED-certified homes benefit both the environment and the residents who live in them. Here are their findings:
If you’re interested in building, buying or renting a green property, the Neighborhood Energy Connection explains how to determine which LEED designation a home can earn based on location, water efficiency, energy use, innovation and design, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.
The designations range from LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold or LEED Platinum, depending on how many points the place earns. Builders can participate in a variety of LEED certification programs offered by the USGBC to enhance the eco-friendliness of the building.
The USGBC also estimates about 40 percent of the residential real estate market will include green, sustainable homes by 2018. And keep in mind that in order for a property to be marketed with a LEED designation, it must undergo extensive inspections, reviews and performance testing. Because sustainable materials and green certifications add value in the real estate market, properties that earn this designation will be clearly advertised.
So get out there, and start hunting for your green home.