Thursday, January 1, 2009

LEED Homes are Green Homes

Do you want to make your home more energy efficient and green? You can definitely take some basic steps to save money on energy costs, and you can fix up an existing home to make it a green home. Or, you might consider purchasing a new LEED property. A LEED certified home is one that has been certified as meeting certain measurable "green" characteristics. Even taking a few simple steps can make a home more energy efficient: unplugging unused appliances, turning off lights in vacant rooms, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents are just a few examples. Of course, the greenest homes have been designed to be energy efficient right from the first moment they were conceived and constructed.

LEED. A "LEED" home is a green home. One of the latest programs in green home construction is the LEED for Homes certification. LEED promotes the design and construction of green homes. A LEED-certified home can be anywhere from 30-60% more energy efficient than a standard home (U.S. Green Building Council).

Average Predicted Energy Savings of LEED Homes

Based on their average Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores, homes certified under LEED for Homes since the program launched in January 2008 are predicted, on average, to have the potential for reduced energy usage compared with International Energy Conservation Code standards.

Who is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environment Design. LEED is a third party certification and ratings system that encourages green construction and sustainable living. As described by the U.S. Green Building Council, "the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria" (


Green consumers are learning to seek out LEED certified homes because they can be confident that these homes and properties have been inspected, tested, and certified by an independent party. This certifies that the property is truly differentiated as a green home. Builders and developers can submit their new green construction projects to LEED for certification. The property must fulfill the necessary requirements to be certified with a LEED designation.

Other Green Home Certifications

In addition to LEED, there is the popular Energy Star for Homes certification, as well as several other localized "green" certification programs popping up all across the country, such as BuildItGreen and Earth Advantage.

Even without an official green certification, the average consumer can still take many steps towards renovating their older property and making their home more eco-friendly and green. There are many levels of "greening" for a property, from a complete top-to-bottom green home, to basic improvements such as the replacement of outdated heating, cooling, and appliances with newer Energy Star rated systems.

If you want to make your existing home green, do a Google search for "energy efficiency" and you're bound to find a wealth of ideas. The Energy Star website ( has a ton of helpful information on what you can do to make your home more energy efficient. There are even free downloadable guides, and energy calculators. And of course, if you are looking for a new green property, talk to your realtor about finding a LEED or Energy Star home.

I'm Nestor Santtia, and I have 23 years of industry experience in homes and green building. I'm a General Contractor and a Certified Green Building Technical Professional, and a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Learn more about green living on my website at:

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