What is LEED Certified?
What is LEED Certified?
Are you, like many others, confused about what it means to build green?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to set a standard for green building. LEED uses a rating system that awards points for the proper design, construction, and operation of certified green homes or buildings. There are 100 possible points that are distributed through five major categories and they are: Water Efficiency, Environmental Quality, Materials, Sustainable Site, and Energy & Atmosphere. In addition to the 100 points distributed through these five categories a project can achieve an additional six points for Innovation and Design and an additional four points for Regional Priority Buildings (primarily schools/office buildings). There are four levels of LEED Certification: Certified 40-49 points, Silver 50-59 points, Gold 60-79 points and Platinum 80 points and above. Points are awarded for a wide variety of details from the obvious, such as energy efficient appliances, to the more obscure, such as proximity to public transportation. It is important to start early in the design process when you want a LEED Certification for your home. The design and placement of the home are important components in achieving the best LEED rating and the rating can be optimized when the home is designed with the overall performance in mind.
We are proud that R.E.S. Contracting, a local custom home builder, and a member of YCCA built Prescott's first LEED Gold Certified home in 2010. The project included certified sustainable building products, a high performance thermal envelope, rain catchment, a photovoltaic system, low voc finishes, solar hot water, and a variety of other green building techniques.
Ed and Connie Stahl of R.E.S. Contracting have been building high performance homes in the Prescott area continuously since 1987 and their Gold Certified home was commended as a "pioneering example of sustainable design.” Ed and Connie understand the advantages of green design and green building and can be reached at (928) 776-0301. In addition to building LEED Certified homes, R.E.S. also builds energy star homes using many of the same techniques used in LEED certification. Both programs use the HERS rating system and third party on-site verification as part of the certification process. However, LEED goes beyond energy efficiency and places an emphasis on sustainability with a low carbon footprint.
It is a known fact that when pursuing a LEED designation on a home, the cost of construction does raise, however, the additional cost of the sustainable building features can be mitigated over time with lower operational costs and the home owner will see cost savings kick in. The economic payback continues for the life of the home. To achieve LEED Certification a builder must work with a LEED for Homes Provider and Green Rater. Although the process is more comprehensive than standard construction, the result is a high performance home that compliments the community with lower energy use and sustainable technologies. It is important to remember that LEED Certification is a design mechanism and a measurement tool for greener than green building. The LEED Rating is available to those who want the absolute best in green building technology. Keep in mind, it’s not what the house or commercial building looks like that matters, but how it works