U.S. Green Building Council Launches LEED for Homes

August 24, 2005

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which has set the standard for commercial green buildings through its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, is currently launching a one-year pilot project to demonstrate a new LEED rating system for homes. The LEED for Homes Rating System is a voluntary program that will recognize and reward the top 25 percent of green homebuilders. New homes built to the LEED standards will be designed and constructed to use less energy, less water, and fewer materials. The LEED homes will also provide improved indoor air quality through improved controls of pollutant sources and better ventilation and filtration systems. Builders in 11 states plus the Northeast region are participating in the pilot. See the USGBC press release and the LEED Rating System for Homes Web page.

A number of builders throughout the country are already pursuing green building practices. In New England, three housing developments won Energy Star Builder Achievement Awards in July for their use of a variety of energy efficient technologies, as well as solar energy. In California, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is working with Treasure Homes to build 32 super-efficient homes with 2-kilowatt solar power systems on their roofs. SMUD designed the homes with the help of DOE's Building America program, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and ConSol, a building energy consultant. Treasure Homes broke ground on the project in late July. And in southern California, the San Diego Regional Energy Office (SDREO) has teamed up with Kyocera Solar, Inc. to offer highly affordable solar power systems to residents who lost their homes in the October 2003 wildfires. Thanks to reduced costs and a $10,000 rebate, homeowners can install a 2.5-kilowatt system for only $7,600, according to SDREO. The rebates end in November. See the press releases from Energy Star Homes (PDF 65 KB), SMUD (PDF 35 KB), and SDREO. Download Adobe Reader.