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What is LEED?

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification process for green buildings. It was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council starting in the 1990s.

Although different areas may have their own green homebuilding prgrams, LEED is an effort to create a nationwide standard for green homebuilding and enable home builders across the country, especially those in areas without green building programs, to obtain green ratings on the homes they build.

The certification process covers every step from architectural design to final construction and interior work. It scores everything from site selection to the materials used in the construction of the home.

How Does the LEED Rating System Work?

The LEED for Homes Rating System uses eight categories to measure the overall performance of a home.

1. Innovation & Design Process (ID): This category measures exemplary performance levels as well as measures not currently covered elsewhere in the rating system, such as special design methods and unique regional credits.

2. Location & Linkages (LL): This category rates the placement of homes in environmentally and socially responsible ways in relation to the larger community.

3. Sustainable Sites (SS): In this category, homes are rated by the entire property’s use to minimize the project’s impact on the site.

4. Water Efficiency (WE): This category rates homes on their indoor and outdoor water-efficiency practices.

5. Energy & Atmosphere (EA): In this category, homes are rated on their energy efficiency especially with regard to the building envelope and heating and cooling design.

6. Materials & Resources (MR): This category rates homes on their efficient utilization of materials, minimization of construction waste and the selection of environmentally preferable materials.

7. Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ): In this category, homes are rated on the reduction of exposure to and creation of pollutants to improve indoor air quality.

8. Awareness & Education (AE): This final category rates the home builder on their education of the homeowner (or other impacted parties, such as tenants and building managers) on the operation and maintenance of the green features in their LEED home.

The LEED for Homes Rating System requires a minimum level of performance through prerequisites and rewarding improved performance in each of the categories.

Performance is ranked by four tiers based on the number of points earned through the rating process. A maximum of 136 points can be earned.

The four LEED for Homes Certification levels are:

Certified: 45-59 points

Silver: 60-74 points

Gold: 75-89 points

Platinum: 90-136 points



If you want third-party assurance that your home was built with green principles in mind, then LEED is the best choice for certification.

This third-party certification will confirm that your home was designed and built with green building principles from start to finish.