About LEED Homes
Certified LEED Homes – Better for You, Better for the Environment
LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a premium standard that is used in the construction of both commercial and residential buildings. It is one of the most novel systems ever developed for building better homes because it is based on weighted credits. In this manner each home can be optimized for the property on which it sits, and the environmental conditions in which it must function. For example, the topography of a lot may place limits a home’s ecological impact during construction, but these can be in turn offset by improving performance in other areas, for example, in the selection of energy efficient appliances.
Once a LEED home is constructed, all credits are totalled and the building is given a rating such as Silver, Gold or Platinum. The process for evaluation is stringent. All LEED projects must be registered, tested and tracked by a LEED certified building expert.
Once your home is LEED certified it can marketed as such should you decide to sell it. As a general rule, an energy efficient home has many benefits at resale:
- Energy efficient, sustainable homes tend to sell faster
- In the case of renovations, the recovery rate, or return on investment far exceeds most other constructions
- They carry a resale price premium in the range of 5% to 10%, and upwards of 30% in the case of specially localized homes and retrofits – for example, a certified energy efficient home in a high demand neighborhood which predominantly showcases older, inefficient homes. Be aware that data on this area is still scarce as there remains a dearth of energy efficient homes, and most tract builders build only to nominal standards as defined in the building code
The average Canadian family lives in a home about 8 years before selling it. In the case of custom homes, the number is closer to 15 years. A more realistic and practical means of assessing your investment in an energy efficient, sustainable home might be to ask: what will a LEED certified home do for my family during that period? Here are some answers:
Better Air Quality
Certified LEED homes are designed to provide for healthy air quality. Their designs, and systems, reduce allergens, aggravators for people who suffer from asthma, and those with chemical sensitivities. In addition, the selection of products and finishes stipulates the use of products that have low levels/no levels of volatile organic compounds (Lo VOC/No VOC). This may include lumber, flooring, carpets, windows and doors, countertops, cabinetry, paints, adhesives, and a variety of other items that are used to build a new home.
LEED homes are designed to provide balanced heating, cooling and stale air evacuation. Chances are you’ve lived in a home with cold rooms and experienced cold corners throughout your home. A LEED home is designed from the outset to eliminate these annoyances, and at the same time reduce energy losses, peaks and valleys.
Less Expensive to Operate
Certified LEED homes are energy efficient. The complete house is treated as a “system” and is designed—and constructed for energy efficiency in mind. Of course your savings will vary, but a rule of thumb is about $40 per month per 1,000 square feet in savings. On a 2,500 square foot home that’s $1,200 dollars a year, and $18,000 over the 15 year period on energy and water bills.
LEED certification is a written assurance that your home was built and tested to meet stringent construction standards. Unlike self-regulated testing as is often the case with tract building and standard building code construction, a LEED home is supervised, tested, and registered by certified LEED representatives.
Keep on Saving
You may qualify for reductions in homeowner insurance policy premiums.
Your registered home will work as a hedge against rising energy costs.
And feel Good About It!
Your new LEED home will be helping the environment through reduced carbon emissions and less ecological impact. Naysayers may argue that your home is only one of a few, but we all have to start somewhere. With about 120,000 new homes built in Ontario and Quebec every year, your step is an important one that will someday lead to significant results.
And Mother Nature will thank you for being progressive enough to take that first step.