There is a growing awareness of the impact that our lives have on the planet, and many consumers are actively taking a closer look at how everything from the car they choose to drive, to the home they choose to live in affects the environment. You may have heard that some homes have earned a LEED certification from Energy Star. With a closer look at what this certification means, you may be able to make a housing decision that minimizes the impact on the environment and that you can feel great about building or living in.
What Is The LEED Certification?
LEED essentially means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is a type of housing certification that is offered through the U.S. Green Building Council. There are several different ratings available for the LEED certification, including a silver and gold level. In order to earn these certifications, homes are rated on a points-based system. There are 18 required or mandatory points that all homes must meet to earn a certification. Also, homes must also qualify with additional points earned on different types. The optional requirements will vary based on the level of certification that is desired.
Different Factors to Be Considered
LEED-certified homes are those that are considered to be green, and different homes can qualify for the certification in different ways. However, commonly, these factors relate to indoor air quality, how efficiently the home was constructed, if steps are taken to minimize maintenance requirements and if measures are taken to reduce the amount of natural gas or other forms of electricity that the home uses. For example, the home may have been constructed in a manner where less material waste was generated, and less energy was used during the construction phase. The use of low-flow toilets, energy-saving light bulbs, and other features may play a role in the LEED certification as well.
The Benefits for the Homeowner
The fact is that some of the processes that are used to construct a LEED-certified home may be more expensive than the standard process. Because of this, a newly constructed home that has a LEED certification may have a slightly higher price. The price of the home may also be higher because the LEED certification is a coveted feature, and many people may vie to purchase a property that has this certification. Despite the higher up-front cost, it is important to note that these homes can also save a homeowner money over the years. Because they are designed to require lower maintenance efforts over the years, the associated cost of home maintenance is reduced. Furthermore, there may be cost savings related to saving energy on lights, heating and cooling costs, appliance usage, and more. In addition to these tangible benefits, it is important to note that the improved indoor air quality in these homes can also be a benefit to those who suffer from respiratory conditions ranging from allergies to emphysema.
When Building A Home
If you have plans to construct a new home in the near future, you may consider the many benefits associated with obtaining a LEED certification for the home during the construction process. In addition to providing you with the benefit of having enhanced, environmentally friendly features in your home, and giving you the knowledge that your home was constructed with minimal impact to the environment, you should consider that these homes also enhance property value and increase the desirability of the home to new buyers. If your goal is to build a home that qualifies for a LEED certificate, it is important to first consider working with a builder with experience in this area. These homes must meet specific requirements, and numerous optional requirements must also be met before the certification can be earned.
Whether your goal is to live in a LEED-certified home, or to construct a desirable property with this certification and to sell it for a profit, there are many reasons why building with a LEED certification in mind is beneficial to you. Take time to explore the LEED certification points in greater detail today, and you may be taking the first step towards completing a construction project that qualifies for this certification.
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