Green Home Design

Green Home Design - learn all about a LEED for Homes design.

Green Home Design - LEED for Homes

LEED For Homes, Find useful green building tips and suggestions for building a LEED rated home.

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Green Home Design: What is a LEED rated home? Save Ten With Angie's List!

The LEED rating system for homes was developed by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) to promote the design and construction of high-performance, sustainable designed homes.

A home designed to these guidelines will use less water, less energy, produce less waste, and provide it's workers and occupants with a healthier and more comfortable living environment.

What homes can be certified? Check out our section on scope and eligibility guidelines.

The benefits of a LEED green home design over that of a conventional home are:
    Lower Electrical Bills & Electrical Usage
    Lower Water Bill & Water Usage
    Less Waste Produced
    Reduced Production of Greenhouse Gases
    Reduced Consumption of Natural Resources
    Less Mold & Mildew Exposure
    A More Durable Home
LEED Platinum Home

LEED Platinum Home

What are the increased costs for building a LEED Green Home Design?
    LEED for Homes Registration Fees
    Cost of hiring a LEED for Homes Provider
    Cost of hiring a LEED for Homes Rater
    Actual Construction Cost Increase

There is no doubt about it. A LEED for Homes does cost more than a conventional home. The most important thing to consider is that you are only dealing with first costs. In other words, you may put an extra 5% into the cost of your new healthy, durable LEED green home design, but what are the financial benefits over time?

LEED Certified Home

LEED Certified Home

The savings can be difficult to calculate because a healthy, durable LEED green home design will often have lower maintenance costs, and as we already discussed, the impact to the environment is much less - this is what's called a soft cost. These are hard to quantify because you can't see them directly, like you would when you open up a utility bill and see you are using less energy.

Another benefit that's difficult to quantify are the health benefits. Will a healthy home result in less doctors visits, less medicine consumed, better sleep and job performance? Absolutely! However, it's hard to attach a dollar value to these types of benefits - even though we believe there is one.

I used to suffer from extreme migraines by living in an unhealthy home, but now that I live in a sustainable, eco-friendly environment I no longer have migraines and am able to work and live much more productively.

How Does the LEED for Homes Rating System Work?

The system works by registering your home project in the schematic design stage or the early thought process. As you progress through the program you are awarded credit for different aspects of environmental design, as indicated in the table below.

LEED Gold Metal

LEED Gold Metal

The final LEED rating awarded is based on earning a certain number of points. As you earn more points, you'll reach higher levels of compliance. The certification levels are:

    Certified: 45 - 59 points
    Silver: 60 -74 Points
    Gold: 75 - 89 Points
    Platinum: 90 - 128 Points
    Maximum Available Points = 129

The rating system also employs Mandatory Requirements or Prerequisites to qualify at any level of green home design. These measures must be met or you will not receive your rating. At present, there are 18 Prerequisites in place.

At the end of the process you will receive a plaque and have the benefit of knowing your home is eco friendly and safe. You'll also see numerous cost benefits over time - both hard and soft costs.

LEED Eligibility:

LEED Eligibility Process:

Is LEED design and certification for you? The first thing you'll want to consider are the minimum requirements.

In this section, we discuss the 18 Prerequisites. If there is one of these that you cannot or are not willing to meet, you cannot achieve a LEED Certification at any level.This is required reading for anyone considering a LEED rating on a new home.

LEED Registration Process:

LEED Registration Process:

We will explore the registration process from beginning to end, so you, the homeowner, know what you need to do. We explain what steps you need to follow and talk about what to expect in the area of fees, timelines etc.

Also provided is guidance to help you as you look for LEED raters, providers, contractors, and designers. You'll wan to assemble the most qualified team possible to help you as you plan your LEED rated home. In fact, this is so important that we've dedicated an entire section to it. Visit The LEED Team to learn more.

LEED Initial Team Meeting

LEED Initial Team Meeting

The initial Green Home Design And Build Team Meeting:

Initial Team Meeting:

This is the most important meeting of all. In this section, we talk about what you, the owner, should bring to the table in the way of questions and what you should expect from the professionals you hire to implement your=r green home design.

You'll also learn what to expect from your architect, building contractor, LEED provider and LEED rater. This is one of the most critical phases of the process as you'll be making key decisions and spending a lot of money during this time.

LEED Education

LEED Education

The Educational Process:

LEED Education:

Here we discuss the educational opportunities available for a green home design, that will help to get others on board and will promote a greener society for all of us.

LEED For Homes Categories

In this section of the website we guide you in the decision towards obtaining a LEED for Homes certification. We talk about what's involved, how much it will all cost,and what benefits you can expect to reap from this coveted rating.

The scope and eligibility of your home is the first, and possibly the most important, topic. In this section you will find out if a LEED home is right for you or not.

Home Size Adjuster.

LEED for Homes offers rewards for homes design smaller than average and deducts points for homes that are design larger than average. It has been determined that the baseline home is 2,600 square feet for a 4 bedroom home. It varies by the number of bedrooms and for purposes of this equation a bedroom is defined as: Any room that could be used for sleeping purposes and meets local fire and building code requirements.
Hover HERE for Home Size Adjustment Table.

The LEED for Homes Consists of eight categories in which you can achieve points. These categories are:

    Innovation and Design Process (LEED ID)
    Location and Linkages ( LEED LL)
    Sustainable Sites (LEED SS)
    Water Efficiency (LEED WE)
    Energy and Atmosphere (LEED EA)
    Materials and Resources (LEED MR)
    Indoor Environmental Quality (LEED EQ)
    Awareness and Education (LEED AE)

Check back often, as we will make studying for this difficult test much easier for you as we will consolidate all the information in one easy to reference section, and we will keep adding and updating so check back often.

What is great is that we will link to other relevant pages of our site as well as remote sites. This will truly give you a one-stop study source.

Does this section take the place of the LEED for Homes Reference Manual? Certainly not. We stress convenience here and you should contact the USGBC to purchase the Reference Manual.

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Home Size Adjustment Table
Maximum Home Size (sq. ft.) By Number of Bedrooms Adjustment to Award Thresholds
>=1 Bedroom 2 Bedrooms 3 Bedrooms 4 Bedrooms 5 Bedrooms
610 950 1290 1770 1940 -10
640 990 1340 1840 2010 -9
660 1-3- 1400 1910 2090 -8
680 1070 1450 1990 2180 -7
710 1110 1500 2060 2260 -6
740 1160 1570 2140 2350 -5
770 1200 1630 2230 2440 -4
800 1250 1690 2320 2540 -3
830 1300 1760 2400 2640 -2
860 1350 1830 2500 2740 -1
900 1400 1900 2600 2850 0 (neutral)
940 1450 1970 2700 2960 +1
970 1510 2050 2810 3080 +2
1010 1570 2130 2920 3200 +3
1050 1630 2220 3030 3320 +4
1090 1700 2300 3150 3460 +5
1130 1760 2390 3280 3590 +6
1180 1830 2490 3400 3730 +7
1220 1910 2590 3540 3880 +8
1270 1980 2690 3680 4030 +9
1320 2060 2790 3820 4190 +10
For larger homes or homes with more bedrooms, see below
Example: An adjustment of -5 means that the threshold for a Certified LEED Home is 40 points (rather than 45 points for an average-sized home). Silver certification would required a minimum of 55 points rather than 60 points, Gold would required a minimum of 70, and Platinum, 85.