What is a LEED Certified Home?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a certification for resource efficient homes and businesses. LEED certified projects use less water and energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This usually saves money. The LEED Certification process is designed to inspire us to seek innovative solutions that are better for our environment and better for our communities.




LEED is a voluntary program developed by USGBC (US Green Building Council) to promote the transformation of the building industry toward more-sustainable practices. There are five areas assessed in LEED: water efficiency, sustainable sites, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and energy and atmosphere. From there, the building can receive silver, gold, or, the most prestigious, platinum certificates. There are different types of certifications for buildings, neighborhoods, and homes. The LEED certification process starts before construction begins.



This home was built with repurposed wood which qualifies as a green building material.


Homeowners interested in buying or building a LEED home should discuss LEED with their contractor, designer or real estate professional before construction. They can then contact a local LEED for Homes provider for details. Evaluations for certification occur at key stages throughout the building process.  One visit is required to verify building systems only visible while the building’s walls are open, including efficient framing measures and ventilation ducting. Once construction and landscaping is complete, the Green Rater and Energy Rater return for a second mandatory site visit.

Existing homes undergoing full gut rehabs (down to the studs on at least one side of each exterior wall) are eligible to participate in the LEED program. Those not undergoing a full remodel are not eligible for LEED certification; however, there are other distinctions which can be obtained. The USGBC and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) have partnered to create REGREEN, the first nationwide green residential remodeling guidelines for existing homes. More information can be found here http://www.thegreenhomeguide.org.




A simpler way to live in a LEED Certified house is to purchase one that is already complete! Many homes can be found that have received LEED Certification, including apartments in certified buildings and single-family homes. Many of these homes are currently on the market, including stunning condos in downtown Los Angeles, and a modern hideaway in the Hollywood Hills.


There may be a premium for a green home, which is estimated at about 10%. Occupants typically make their money back with lower energy bills. LEED buildings are found to use 25-30% less energy than non-LEED buildings, a big savings for homeowners.  A LEED certified home can also sell more quickly, making it a great investment for those looking to sell down the road.




When buying a LEED certified home, you can rest assured it was built to the highest level of efficiency and sustainability. Key features of a sustainable home include being in a sustainable location, water conservation, energy conservation, green materials (such as recycled wood), and indoor environmental quality.


Purchasing or building a LEED certified home is not only a sound financial investment, but an excellent benefit to our environment. Committing to a sustainable home shows your dedication to green living and to protecting our planet.


For more information on LEED click here to visit the official website. http://www.usgbc.org/leed