LEED for Homes

A green home is designed to have positive impact on energy efficiency, environmental performance and human well being. LEED is a point based certification system that measures how well a home performs as a green home.

A LEED-certified home is designed and constructed in accordance with the rigorous guidelines of the LEED for Homes green building certification program. LEED for Homes is a consensus-developed, third party-verified, voluntary rating system which promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. LEED for Homes promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes, including affordable housing, mass-production homes, custom designs, stand-alone single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, suburban and urban apartments and condominiums and lofts in historic buildings.

For Homebuilders

LEED is a tool used to set targets and track progress during the design and construction of a green home.

For Homebuyers

LEED is a scorecard. Like a nutrition label that gives a clear, concise picture of all the ways a green home performs at a higher level.

For Residents

LEED is a seal of quality, providing peace of mind that they are living in a home designed to deliver fresh air indoors and improved water and energy efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does LEED compare to Green Built Homes?

LEED for Homes is very similar in scope and process to the statewide certification program Green Built Homes. Both programs offer third party certification and require minimum point levels in each section of the checklist: water, energy, indoor air quality, materials and site. Both programs rely on the Home Energy Rating System and Energy Star Rating as a baseline for energy efficiency and inspection process. There are some requirements that are stricter, and others that are less strict. Many project choose to dual certify with both projects. The Green Built Alliance offers Green Built Homes Certification at no additional cost to LEED-Homes.

What is the process for building a LEED-Home?

Contact the Green Built Alliance as early as possible during the design process. We will set up a time to have a design review with you, members of your design/build team and your Green Rater to go over the checklist and the program expectations. The project then needs to register and pay applicable fees to the USGBC, the Green Built Alliance, and the Green Rater. From there, you work with your Green Rater throughout the building process. They will visit the site a minimum of 2 times, but on average 4 times, depending on the items you would like to receive points for. Typically this includes a site inspection, a framing plus mechanical inspection, an insulation inspection and a very thorough final inspection. The Project Team Leader is responsible for providing all necessary documentation to the Green Rater. The Green Rater then provides the necessary information to the Green Built Alliance, who in turn submits the information to the USGBC. The USGBC and the Green Built Alliance have a conference call to discuss the project, and the USGBC will provide the final certification. Final certification will not be provided until all certification fees have been paid to the USGBC, Green Built Alliance and the Green Rater.

What is a Green Rater?

Green Rater is a new term that refers to a individual that has been certified by the Green Building Certification Institute and is eligible to provide third party verification and inspections on LEED-Homes.

Are there any incentives for LEED-Homes?

At this time, there are no state or federal financial incentives specifically for LEED-Homes. The major incentive for building a LEED-Home is the national marketing recognition, differentiation and the many homeowner benefits that come with third party certification. There are tax incentives for renewable energy and for builders of homes that are 50% more energy efficient than code. There are local permit fee rebates from the City of Asheville, NC and the Town of Black Mountain, NC. Progress Energy currently offers a utility permit fee rebates for qualified Energy Star Homes. Both Progress and Duke offer a utility rate discount for certified Energy Star Homes.

How does a Home become LEED Certified?

  1. Registration : The building team registers a new home project with the LEED for Homes program.
  2. Teamwork : The builder, architect,engineer and other on the design and construction team work closely together to optimize the benefits of a green home and ensure all the pieces work well together.
  3. Verification : During the construction of the home, inspections at significant milestones, often including an ENERGY STAR rating, verify that the project is on the right track.
  4. Certification : At the end of the process, home is wanted points for it achievement. Based on the number of points it receives, the home can be certified at one of four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

How much does it cost?

Pricing varies based on square footage, home complexity, items chosen on the checklist, location of the home, number of units being built and the amount of consulting time necessary. The certification cost for a builder of a single family custom home that is building their first LEED-Home averages between $2500-4000. This includes all fees of the USGBC, the Green Built Alliance, the Green Rater and the required Energy Star certification. This does not apply to multifamily projects, volume projects, or repeat clients and does not include the cost of upgrades to achieve the requirements.

I have already broken ground on my home; can I still get it certified?

Yes, however, the home needs to meet all program prerequisites and may be required to document any items that can no longer be inspected. A design review of the home is required. The sooner the project enrolls in the program the easier the process. However, homes cannot attain certification after the insulation is covered up and can no longer be inspected. Typically if a home is already framed, it will be very difficult to meet all of the prerequisites.

What is a Provider?

The role of the Provider to provide local administration for the USGBC to implement the LEED-Homes program and acts as a local resource for project teams. The Provider offers local oversight of Green Raters. The Provider does not certify projects, but submits them to the USGBC for actual certification.

I am a LEED AP, do I need a Provider?

YES. LEED-APs may work as consultants on projects but every LEED-Home must work through a Provider to get certified. Additionally there is currently no LEED-AP designation for Homes. The LEED-AP Plus for Homes designation should be available in late 2009.

Is the Green Built Alliance a chapter of the USGBC?

No, the Green Built Alliance is a member organization of the USGBC and works with the USGBC as a Provider for the LEED for Homes program.