Tools and resources for project teams working on a LEED for Homes project.

LEED for Homes prerequisites

Here are a few simple steps that need to be accomplished on any project looking to achieve LEED for Homes certification.

1. Durability evaluation form and checklist.

2. Erosion control. Most of this is a code requirement, but if it isn’t where you are, make sure to do it.

3. No invasive plants. Get the list from your extension service and make sure none get planted on your site.

4. Energy Star. Unless you use the prescriptive path, the house must meet the requirements for the Energy Star Homes program, although it doesn’t actually have to be labeled as such. Until the new LEED for Homes version is released next year, you don’t need to move to Energy Star Version 2.5 or 3, but that will likely be required in late 2012.

5. Framing waste order factor. This calculation has to be done for each project.

6. FSC letter to vendors. Write it and send it out to everyone who sells you wood for the job.

7. Waste management planning and documentation. Check into recycling opportunities and either save all your dump manifests or get monthly reports from you haulers and recyclers.

8. Combustion venting. Doors on all fireplaces and wood stoves, no ventless heaters or fireplaces, and no open-combustion appliances or heaters connected to the living space. This helps to keep you from killing your clients.

9. Basic ventilation. Hire an HVAC contractor who knows his stuff or buy the ASHRAE 62.2 standard, read it and follow it. It’s not that difficult.

10. Manual D duct design. Although this is often a code requirement, it gets neglected. Use the same knowledgeable HVAC contractor, or better yet, hire an independent consultant to design and size the system and then put it out for pricing. Then make sure they do what it says.

11. Radon vents in zone 1. If your building is in a radon hazard area, you have to put the vent system in under the slab or in the crawl space. If you forget, you are in for an expensive surprise at the end of the job.

12. No HVAC in the Garage. Keep the furnace and ducts out of the garage; avoid killing your clients.

13. Operations training. You have to either spend an hour with your client or have an outline for an hour of training and have a written owner’s manual. That’s a good business policy, and the hour you spend with them will probably save you lots of phone calls in the future.

Brought to you by; Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

For more complete details on all LEED for Homes Perquisites, view and download this PDF 

LEED reaches its 10,000th Certified Home

More than 10,000 homes across the U.S. have earned LEED certification through the LEED for Homes program, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED-certified home projects span the residential market, from multi- and single-family, to market rate and affordable housing.

“Reaching this milestone signifies the continued transformation of the home building industry towards high-performing, healthy homes that save home owners money,” said Nate Kredich, Vice President of Residential Market Development, U.S. Green Building Council. “Market leaders across the production, multifamily, affordable and custom home segments have recognized that there are green homes, and then there are LEED Homes, and they are acting accordingly.”

LEED for Homes is a national voluntary certification system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes that use less energy and water and fewer natural resources; create less waste; and are healthier and more comfortable for the occupants. Since its launch in 2008, 10,161 homes have certified with over 38,000 additional units in the pipeline.

The 10,000th home to earn LEED certification was Tacoma Housing Authority’s 91-unit development, Salishan 7 in Washington. Salishan 7, built by Walsh Construction Company, is the first federally funded HOPE VI Redevelopment project to achieve LEED Platinum. The project was built within an affordable budget, and was designed to be at least 30% more energy efficient than the average home, effectively removing 27 homes from Tacoma Power’s electrical grid.

“We are proud to be a part of the community of over 10,000 homes that have committed to excellence through the LEED for Homes program,” said Michael Mirra, Executive Director, Tacoma Housing Authority. “Our LEED Platinum housing projects are less expensive to operate and are healthier inside, which means a world of difference to our residents.”

Nationally recognized market leaders such as McGuyer Homebuilders, Inc (production homes) in Dallas, Tex., Fore Property (multifamily) and dozens of Habitat for Humanity affiliates (affordable) are just a few of the organizations committing to LEED certification across the country.

Supporting the growth of the LEED for Homes program is the robust and dedicated network of LEED for Homes Providers; a community of nearly 400 LEED AP Homes credential holders, helping meet the need for knowledgeable green home building professionals; and a growing number of LEED for Homes Green Raters. Additionally, the USGBC recently launched its LEED for Homes Scoring Tool for builders to self-evaluate their home construction projects to see how close they are to LEED certification. This simple web-based application makes the program even more accessible to builders and homeowners.

Work with to help make your next LEED project a success.

LEED for Homes - Online Scoring Tool -

LEED Home Scoring Tool Released

USGBC has created an online tool that will allow anyone to “kick the tires” on taking a single- or multi-family building through LEED for Homes certification. The Online Scoring Tool (OST) is available at no cost through and provides a great way to evaluate the LEED rating system.

The user-friendly Online Scoring Tool (OST) allows free access to anyone that creates a web site account. Once logged in, people can score multiple rojects using the online scoring tool.

Two Scoring Paths
Projects can choose to take one of two paths with the LEED Homes scoring tool. One path called the Quick Score, allows a builder to answer a green home version of 20 questions about a sample project. Its perfect for a builder that has had a HERS Rating performed on a previous home and is wondering how that home would have scored in LEED. Once the questions are answered, the scoring tool gives an estimate on the potential LEED certification level.

A more advanced path allows the user to go through the LEED for Homes rating system in detail for a specific project, with credit-by-credit analysis. Each credit can be selected as Yes, No, or Maybe.  Best of all, the online tool does an impressive job of digesting the extensive LEED for Homes Reference Guide into salient tool-tip help that can be brought up in a popup window. This explanation will help people decide whether or not they want to pursue a specific LEED credit or not.

The LEED for Homes Online Scoring Tool (OST) is available at no cost through


USGBC Releases Green Homeowner Manual

Green House

In order to assist green building project teams and LEED for Homes project teams, USGBC has produced a LEED for Homes Homeowners Operations and Maintenance
(HOM) Manual.

The HOM Manual was developed to support the LEED for Homes prerequisite AE 1: Education of the Homeowner or Tenant, and to provide tips on maintaining a LEED-certified home. Be sure to read the Project Team Instructions for how to properly use and customize the manual.

The manual is available to all project teams and can assist anyone looking for information on how a home works.

Download the Basic Operations Training manual (AE1.1)

Deconstruction as Alternative to Demolition

The LEED for Homes rating system rewards projects that are developed on sites that have been previously developed, and many project teams take advantage of good existing neighborhoods with access to transportation and services rather than building on raw land. Sometimes, a site is chosen where the existing structure is so damaged or functionally obsolete that it is necessary to start over.

In the past, these homes would be torn down in a matter of days, with tons of debris being sent to landfills. An increasingly common alternative to demolition is “De-Construction”. Read more