Green HomeTime to build your dream house. Do your plans include saving energy, living healthier, having a minimal impact on the environment and enjoying a floorplan that takes advantage of the setting? Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED certification can make sure that your dream home is all these things and more.

A LEED certified home is a “green” home – it uses less energy, water and natural resources, creates less waste and is healthier for the people inside than a standard home. That all sounds great, right?

LEED certification is a program of the US Green Building Council. USGBC awards points to a project or structure in four areas:

  1. sustainable sites
  2. energy & atmosphere
  3. materials & resources
  4. innovation & design process

hgtv green homeAfter points are tallied, the project can be assigned a LEED rating of Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. A Platinum LEED certified building is about as green as you can get. See the point system here (PDF).

The benefits for home owners and residents to living in a LEED certified building are really in three different categories: Savings, Space and Health

Savings

We’ve already told you that LEED certified home are more energy efficient. But how much more? The USGBC’s Web site “The Green Home Guide” offers this comparison.

That can translate into substantial savings.

In addition to lower energy bills, LEED buildings also use Energy Star building materials, so home owners can expect significant tax breaks and rebates.

Space

LEED buildings are designed intentionally to take advantage of light, space and orientation of the home on the site – everything from the foundation to the windows. For homeowners, the designs tend to be lighter and more open.

Health

LEED certified homes have a particular emphasis on indoor air quality. Indoor air pollution, which can be worse than outdoor air pollution can be detrimental to your health and has been linked to everything from chronic asthma to cancer.

natural linoleum

Building materials are an important part of the indoor air quality of a home. LEED certified homes might use wheat-derived strawboard, natural linoleum like Marmoleum (see the list of ingredients here), as well as paint and adhesives with little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

This is where EcoGlue Extreme comes in. Using this product as the adhesive in building a home can earn the builder a point toward their LEED rating.

LEED certified homes also have fewer problems with mold and mildew and the designs focus on both natural and mechanical ventilation systems to keep fresh air in and cycle stale air out.

So Why Not?

The biggest objection to pursuing green building or LEED certification is cost. According to the USGBC, if you choose experienced industry professionals, a LEED certified home should cost no more upfront than a standard home. And the net cost over the long run can be cheaper.

If you’re not building from scratch, you can also go green with your remodel. Take a look and we’ll come back to this topic in a later post.

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