If you are looking for a home that does everything right for humanity or want to build a home that fits into that category, an LEED-certified home is where it’s at. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and their name is definitely appropriate. They are all about improving the design of homes to make them have less of an impact on the Earth and a healthier impact on individuals.
LEED is a third-party organization that certifies homes as environmentally-friendly by its certification process. It was created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USBC), which is not surprising since certified buildings are considered “green.”
There are four levels of certification based on a points-based rating system: platinum, gold, silver, and certified. The points are offered in many areas of construction (or renovation). There are points for energy and water savings, and there are also points for decreased carbon footprints and protections of natural resources. Points are given for reduced waste and for building on environmentally-responsible land. It is possible that platinum LEED certification is one of the greatest bragging rights you could ever have about your home.
LEED Certification and Lighting
One way that you can get points toward LEED certification is through lighting choices, and as you can imagine, that involves LED options. Here are some of the categories of points.
Light Pollution Reduction
The first way to earn points toward LEED certification is by keeping your lighting to yourself. During the night, some lights are directed downward to provide light that isn’t directed at neighbors but only at walkways. Also, PIR motion sensors are used for security lighting, so light is on only when needed.
Optimal Energy Performance
This is a state achieved with LED lights whereby very bright light can be had with very little energy output. LED lights use 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, so changing to LED bulbs saves a tremendous amount of energy.
Controllability of Systems
For lighting, controllability often involves the use of dimmer switches or remotes. Having more control means controlling efficiency of systems, and lights are easily dimmed when full light is not needed.
Another way to get LEED points is through green power. Often, this means solar power for the home. Solar panels can be used in connection with grid power to ensure constant energy, but drawing energy from solar powers is clean and efficient. Any extra power created can be used by power companies for credit on your utility bills in many locations. Green power is the epitome of LEED certification, and solar power is sustainable and non-harmful to the environment.
Why Pursue LEED Certification?
LEED certification may be incentivized through tax benefits, but the bigger advantages to LEED certifications are financial savings, health, and resale value. The financial savings are obviously in energy and water consumption, which can lower utility bills. The health advantages come from cleaner air and an environment that is less susceptible to mold growth. LEED certification is also a great sales pitch for your home when you put it up to sale.
Buying a home that is LEED-certified means that care has been taken to make sure it is impermeable to outside sources such as water damage or air leaks. Water damage can be wasteful and promote mold growth. Water bills go up. Air leaks can make heating and air conditioning less efficient, and your home will be less comfortable. A person who buys and LEED-certified home knows that they are getting quality construction that will save them money in the long run.
More importantly, they are getting an environmentally and socially friendly home. The lighting will not bother the neighbors, and the carbon emissions are lessened as much as possible. You will sleep soundly because you are more comfortable, but you will also sleep soundly because you are living the environmentally-responsible life.
The Bigger Picture
There are some homes where it would cost a lot of money in renovation to even get close to LEED certification, but for new construction, it is a great way to ensure your home is built soundly and efficiently. Not only will you save money on your energy bills, but you’ll be doing your part to reduce climate change. The impact humans have on the Earth is rarely good, but LEED certification changes that. It is a step in the right direction for all societies to engage in activities such as LEED.
If you are interested in LEED certification for your new construction or renovation project, find contractors and electricians who are familiar with the process. You will get the highest certification possible. A platinum LEED certification should make you feel guilt-free about your impact on the Earth. It will also attract new homeowners when and if the time comes to relocate. LEED certification really has no downside.