LEED for Homes Certification Program

Washington, DC

LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system that 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.

What is LEED?

LEED is a rating system that measures how green a building is. All around the world, LEED is the standard for green buildings: offices, hospitals, schools, stores - and homes.

  • LEED is a Tool
    For homebuilders, LEED is a tool to measure the quality and sustainability of its homes against the marketplace.
  • LEED is a Scorecard
    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.
  • LEED is a Seal of Quality
    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.

How does LEED make my home better?

Four critical ways:

  1. Savings: This home will save you energy, water, and therefore money.
  2. Health: This home has been built to provide a healthy environment for you and your family.
  3. Value: Data has shown that LEED buildings often sell for more, and in less time, than non-green buildings.
  4. Trust: The U.S. Green Building Council has inspected, tested and given the green stamp of approval to every LEED home.

What makes LEED different from other "Green" programs?

LEED for Homes is the most established green building program in the marketplace and is the most difficult certification to achieve, for two reasons:

  1. Comprehensive: Instead of focusing on just one area, LEED homes are green in every way:

    • Energy
    • Water
    • Indoor air quality
    • Types of materials used
    • Thoughtful land use and landscaping
    • Educating homeowners on the home's green features
  2. Rigor: LEED is considered the most rigorous of all the available home programs.

    • It's difficult to meet LEED's requirements, and every home is inspected and tested to ensure that these requirements are met.
    • There are no shortcuts!

What do the different levels of a LEED home mean? (Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum)

  • You can think of LEED as a checklist, in that it sets targets and tracks progress during the design and construction of a green home. You can also think of LEED as a scorecard that gives a clear, concise picture of all the ways a green home performs.
  • Higher-scoring homes within the LEED rating system earn higher certification levels (Silver, Gold, Platinum)
  • ANY LEED HOME IS A GREEN, HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOME. THE HIGHER LEVELS REPRESENT EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE.

How does LEED focus on the entire home and not just one aspect of a home?

  • Energy: LEED requires that this home’s energy performance exceed any local code requirements by at least 15%. This includes testing of the home’s overall envelope and its ductwork, as well as multiple inspections during construction.
  • Water: LEED requires that the home incorporate a minimum number of water efficiency measures.
  • Indoor Air Quality: LEED ensures that the home ventilates properly, requires high-efficiency air filters, reduces moisture, and the possibility of mold or mildew.
  • Materials: LEED ensures that construction waste is minimized and that environmentally-preferable products are used where possible.
  • Land: LEED ensures that great care went into the decisions on where the homes would be located, taking advantage of local resources and infrastructure, and how the landscape features were designed.
  • Education: LEED requires the builder to educate the homeowner or tenant on all of the green features of the home through a homeowner’s manual.

Why am I familiar with LEED?

Chances are you have been in a number of LEED certified buildings already!

  • Over 1 billion square feet of LEED certified space, over 7 billion in the pipeline.
  • Over 1 million square feet of new LEED space certified every day.
  • Over 2,000 schools are LEED or in the pipeline.
  • A few famous LEED buildings (certified or in process):

    • Empire State Building (NYC)
    • Sears Tower Building (Chicago)
    • The Pentagon (Washington, DC)
    • Children’s Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA)
    • California Academy of Science (San Francisco CA)
    • Boston Logan Airport (Boston MA)
    • Olympic Villages: Beijing, Vancouver
  • Starbucks: committed to LEED for all new stores.
  • Other businesses committing to LEED: Bank of America, PNC Bank, Best Buy, Target, Marriott.
  • Over 22,000 homes have been LEED certified, with another 82,000 registered for certification.
  • Over 400 Habitat for Humanity LEED homes

How Do I Get Started?

  • Talk to your builder, real-estate professional or architect about LEED.
  • Contact a LEED for Homes Provider in your area.
  • Look for the LEED for Homes logo, which shows homes seeking certification.