Saturday, April 21, 2012

LEED certification

One of the things we kind of brushed aside was the LEED certification of our house build. The main reason for that decision was the paperwork and additional project meetings that are required as part of the certification. In my opinion - and take it for what it's worth - the LEED certification needs to be focussed a little more on the actual product than on the process.

Don't get me wrong, LEED certification is an excellent guarantee that your home is truly green and sustainble but requires you to have an official kick-off meeting with a detailed project team and a complete action plan PRIOR to you build or you risk being ineligble to achieve a LEED for Homes certification. Your house may be the lowest HERS on the block, have renewable everything, but if you forgot to hold your meeting you cannot be certified (exceptions always possible...).

Regardless, I did a quick score on the LEED for Homes site and after answering the questions to the best of my abilities we came out half-way between a Silver and Gold.

Since our house actually has a HERS score of 38 , we used advanced framing (e.g. ICF), renewable materials (e.g. cork flooring), have virtually no air leakage, all CFL and LED lighting, all EnergyStar appliances (most even CEE II or III) and all WaterSense fixtures and sourced most material from within 500 miles we probably would have scored a solid 'LEED Gold'.

Brushing aside the LEED certification surely kicked way back on the paperwork (and probably the headaches as well) but as we kept the certification rules in the back of our mind in building decision-making the building result would have been almost 100% the same.

So, piece of advice: if you truly want a LEED certification for you building, make sure to get your ducks in a row prior to starting your build or risk not being able to get certified.

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