The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system. First developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, this system has been adopted by many countries around the world. Residential and commercial contractors know that promoting their project as LEED Certified will shine a positive light on the building, resulting in a higher property value.

The LEED for Homes (LEED-H) rating system, officially launched in February 2008, promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. These homes use less energy, water and natural resources, create less waste, and are more durable and comfortable for occupants.

Builders strive for LEED Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum point ratings. As consumers become more aware of the program and its benefits, Rescheck web they will also be looking for homes that have had garnered this environmental standard. As an example, a home that has achieved Platinum standing has reached a total of 90-128 points of a possible 129.

This voluntary certification system is based on point totals in eight categories, including:

Energy and Atmosphere
Innovation and Design Process
Location and Linkages
Materials and Resources
Indoor Environmental Quality
Awareness and Education
Sustainable Sites
Water Efficiency
New home construction using LEED guidelines actually saves money for consumers, starting with the fact that builders use less materials. Incorporating advanced framing, a LEED certified home is sized and engineered to be built using fewer resources, which in turn maximizes the energy efficiency of the house.

Health considerations also play a big part in consumers’ decision to look for LEED homes. The Indoor Environment Quality standard ensures that a family living in a LEED-certified house will breathe significantly cleaner indoor air through the use of low or non-VOC paints and adhesives, in addition to the integration of an effective air exchange or ventilation system. Laminate flooring is used to avoid off-gassing and air pollution that can sometimes come with carpet.

Another benefit for homeowners is the savings on utility costs. Adavances in solar heating and thermal storage systems will help homeowners produce their own energy, thereby reducing their dependency on carbon-producing technology.

An increase in green building practices will drive the market to offer more energy-efficient and environmentally responsible products at competitive prices. Realtors will now have more ammunition in their sales basket with the added features and benefits of LEED certificatied properties.

Savvy consumers are looking for ways to reduce their monthly costs, and environmental impact is top of mind for many people. Why not start with their own home?

There is also a certain pride for homeowners, knowing they have done their homework and bought, or built the most efficient home on the market today.

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