LEED 4 H Logo

Introduction to LEED for Homes – Free CE Webinar

LEED for Homes is a residential green building certification that applies to all residential projects from remodels to new construction and from single family to high rise mixed use multifamily. With over 100,000 certified homes, this is an internationally recognized green building rating system that can help you make your next project better. Join us as we go through the highlights of the program, requirements, certification process, case studies, lessons learned and how to work with your verification team.

Bonus: We will also discuss the highlights of up coming changes of the Version 4 rating system and what to expect.

Continuing Education - CES 1

GBCI (LEED Specific), AIA(HSW), NARI Green, NGBS, AIBD and state design or construction license may apply

Lessons Learned

  • Know where to find more resources to build, design, or remodel healthier and better residential buildings
  • Understand how LEED improves the safety and welfare of people and communities through more efficient homes
  • Articulate the certification process of LEED for Homes and how it is different from commercial
  • Know where to get information on the LEED H and becoming an accredited professional.


Brett Little, LEED APH, LFA, GHP

Executive Director at the GreenHome Institute since 2010, Brett is a 2014 30 under 30 Home Energy Magazine Entrepreneur award recipient. Brett helps educate people on the basics of residential green building and lives in MI's 1st GreenStar remodel of 1920's existing home. He lives in Beer City USA (Grand Rapids) with his wife and son and sits on the USGBCWM board of directors since 2012.


Deer Haven Near Zero Energy Home Tour

Evan Mathison a local architect has designed his own home which is combustion free and targeted to achieve near zero energy. This project is also registered as a LEED home and is hoping to certify platinum. Come learn about this 3,000sf home that is nestled into its wooded 1-acre setting which is designed with the contours of the site and unfolds to the South to take advantage of the daily path of the sun and natural site air movements. And, you're going to love the windows.

Deerhaven - Axon

Elm St. PIC

Indianapolis Restored Home Gets LEED Platinum & Sells Fast!

Elm St. PICThis home located on Elm St. in Indianapolis, IN was an abandoned space, built in 1910, that was bid on for redevelopment through the Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND) organization's Transfer and Transform program, which seeks to reinvigorate the community

Elm St. B4 INT

Interior before


"William Wagnon of Green Path Homes  had been looking for an opportunity to do a LEED Platinum certified redevelopment on a house that could serve as an example of green building for contractors, home owners and a city in need of sustainability." The house on Elm presented a perfect opportunity to showcase the economic viability of a green project as well as its added health and enjoyment benefits.


No subsidies or donations were taken to help the project along. "We wanted to do it as a market-rate project so that nobody could make an excuse for not doing it. That's the point I wanted to make," Wagnon said.

Elm St. B4

Exterior before

"The house now features around $7,000 worth of insulation, putting the home's heating efficiency well-above most standards. The floor plan was changed to allow for a contemporary living style. Raised ceilings and other space improvements provide for maximum storage in the home. A rain garden now sits at the front of the house fed by a drain pipe from the roof. The backyard deck looks out onto a single-car garage, raised planters for growing vegetables and a patch of lawn." Additionally, 100% of installed plants were drought tolerant further reducing irrigation needs. In total, the outdoor water savings plus the water savings due to the indoor installation of highly efficient faucets, showers, and toilets etc. results in a monthly water savings of 69% based on total water use. We were able to utilize the V4 Homes Workbook: Water Reduction Calculator to derive this number. A copy of the information is attached to the project profile at the bottom of this post.

Elm St. INT PICThe small 960 sq ft. 2 bedroom 1 bath home is located in an area with outstanding access to community resources such as public transportation. This well sealed home uses energy efficient appliances and  is expected to save 47% on energy bills. Insulated piping adds to the efficiency of this home. 

A central HVAC system equipped with an additional dehumidification mode adds to the health of the home along with the use of hardwood with a preference for FSC certified woods.

So much care was put into this home on Williams blog he writes ... "Walter, who has does the exterior sheathing, rigid foam insulation and now the siding work is putting flashing tabs behind each butt joint on the siding.  These joints will all be caulked, but it's just a fact that caulk fails in a couple of years.  But with the flashing tabs, any water that penetrates is redirected right back to the outside.LEED Label Elm

Brad nailed every shingle of the roof by hand.  Yes, it takes much longer, but he knows each one is set.  In building the soffit end caps, he cut fairly complex pieces so it could be 1 piece of solid wood, instead of having multiple joints that would require caulking."

This project was the first residential home in the area to achieve the prestigious LEED Platinum certification.


News Post Featuring this Project

Green Path Home Website and Blog


Download and share the project profile - PDF (Includes V4 water reduction calculator and EPA WaterSense Info)


USGBC certifies 50,000th LEED Homes

Quoted text from " "

"Since its start in 2007, 50,000 housing units have been certified under LEED for Homes and 44 percent of those homes were classified as affordable housing." “As one of the most rigorous green residential rating systems in the world, LEED for Homes is the standard against which all other such programs are measured,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Despite its demanding technical aspects that set a high bar for green residential construction, LEED for Homes has also seen the broadest adoption among its peers — indicative of its position as the rating system of choice to guide the design and construction of healthier, high-performance homes.”"

"Since the launch of the LEED for Homes rating system in 2007, the growth trajectory of the world’s most widely used residential green building program has been dramatic. From 392 housing units LEED-certified in 2007, the figure jumped to nearly 900 units certified within the year 2008 and nearly 3,000 certified within 2009. In 2012 and 2013 alone, USGBC certified more than 15,000 and 17,000 housing units, respectively."

"Of the 50,000-plus certified units, 74 percent are within multifamily buildings, while 44 percent are classified as affordable housing. In addition, nearly 65 percent of the total units were certified in the past two years, a strong indicator of the continued momentum of the rating system. There are also more than 82,000 units under construction and in the pipeline for LEED certification."

is excited to be apart of this movement. As an ordinal LEED for Homes provider we have certified nearly 4,000 of these homes with another 3,000 in the pipeline. Learn why LEED excites us. 

"The continued growth of LEED for Homes is attributable to its many proven benefits, including enhanced property value, healthier indoor environments, and energy and water savings that average 20 to 30 percent. LEED-certified homes are third-party inspected, tested and performance-verified, offering homeowners and renters piece of mind that their places of residence are efficient, saving them money and also better for the natural environment."

"In December 2013, USGBC also announced the LEED certification of its 20,000th commercial project."

Sumac Grove

Greenest Home in West Michigan Certifies LEED Platinum

LEED Snapshot Main Photo

1 Hour Recorded Webinar Available Now - 1 AIA/GBCI

" In the 5 years I have been involved with and Regional Green Building Certified Homes, I think I can finally throw my 2 cents in the ring and call this the Greenest Home in West Michigan" - Brett Little, Executive Director

What make's it the Greenest? For starters, Michael Holcomb - President/CEO and owner of Home Inspector General has called this "the tightest home I have ever tested." It comes in at 0.44 ACH @50PA (for all you energy geeks). Michael has test 1,000's of homes and buildings in the Midwest in his 20 years of experience so that is saying something.

Next, this project almost achieved passive house standards! Sam worked an experienced PHIUS rater "John Semmelhack" to use the advanced modeling software to design his house. The house tested below the air change requirements of Passive House but only made 7.20 KBTu's as opposed to the required 4.75 ( Energy Geek Talk)  Sam's reasoning's  "The primary driver of that cost was the building geometry.  Since a primary objective was to build a barrier free home, we designed it all to be on one level.  This meant that the ratio of exterior wall and roof area to the floor area was not optimal for thermal design (of Passive House).  It was more important to us to have the barrier free design that to meet the PH requirements, though we came very close.  The only changes we made from the original PH design was to reduce the thickness of the perimeter walls from 22” to 19”, and specify a window that was not quite as high performing as the one that would attain the PH rating." Sam told me that there was 99 year back on the window required to meet the standard (at that time).

3rd, First Zero Energy Home in West Michigan (if anyone wants to dispute that let us know!). Obviously we can't officially call it Zero Energy without a year's worth of data but we will keep you all up to date to see it makes it. The HERS score is not 0 but it is 18 which  is the lowest in West Michigan with A home in Stanwood and hour north getting a 12. There is a lot of mis-information out there stating that  a HERS of zero is required to be "Zero Energy" but in practice we see homes scoring HERS of 35 and  achieving Zero Energy.

LEED Label for Sumac Grove Sam Pobst LEED certified PlatinumLast, LEED for Homes Platinum Certification has been achieved. This
requires 3rd party onsite verification that proves you the home is green through actual testing.

But, but... This project is in Lowell outside of an Urban Area and lacks community resources and connectivity. It's true, the one place that this house poorly scores is in location efficiency. You can find data to support that reliance on automobiles is more costly and has more CO2 emissions than very well insulated home. Currently Sam is using the home as his office as well  as his living space and so he does not have to drive to an office in a far away location. He can grow alot of food on the site as well and eventually add more solar and purchase an electric car to power it with all Solar.

This must have cost millions right? 

"We spent $167.00/Square Feet, but if you add in O+P, Design fees, and my sweat equity, I estimate about a $200/ SF cost to construct."

•         Gross SF                                            2010

•         Basement SF                                    851

•         Conditioned SF                               2547

•         Garage / Workshop                      621

•         $167/SF  Hard cost

•         $200/ SF Buildable cost

  1. + Overhead and Profit
  2. + Design fees
  3. + Sweat Equity

 PDF Project Profile Details 

Further Resources 

Read back on Sam's progress documented on his Blog and stay informed as he monitors the home's energy use, durability, comfort, indoor air quality and water use.

  • Contact with Questions Sam Pobst, BO+M, BD+C, Homes and ID+C, a USGBC LEED Faculty™
    ecometrics llc
    P. 616.897.4967 C. 616.648.7493


Cottage Home LEED for Homes Lakefront

Cottage Home Sets New Standard for Sustainable Lakefront Living

Using his home building expertise, Brian Bosgraaf started Cottage Home in 2000 specializing in building custom homes along Lake Michigan. Cottage Home has designed and built more than 70 custom homes along the West Michigan shoreline, including 13 LEED certified homes. In an interview with Brian, he expressed his passion for LEED certification and sustainable construction practices.

When Brian and Jeremy vanEyk (Vice President) were asked about their commitment to building LEED, they responded that Cottage Home is committed to utilizing healthy, affordable, efficient, and durable construction practices that are already above code, energy star and even LEED at times. Brian says he considers LEED only one of the many tools in his toolbox. Other such tools include creative design, customer service, careful selection of materials, and creating a sense of place. In order to make it simple for the customer, Cottage Home uses a fixed price prior to starting construction which already includes LEED qualifications. This allows some of the cost of LEED certification to be absorbed by both the customer and through the Cottage Homes marketing budget.  Brian believes this method works due to his design and construction teams working together throughout the construction process, which creates a feedback loop that fosters constant improvement.  Including LEED certification into the final cost helps facilitate more sales than presenting each option with separate pricing.

Since many homeowners today are educated and concerned about sustainability and environmental issues,  many take time to study the details of LEED on the website of Cottage Home and take comfort in knowing LEED is a third party certification. Clients are aware of LEED’s achievements and credibility, and often wonder about how changes to the house affect the LEED certification level. Much of Cottage Home’s customer base is from the Chicago area where LEED is prevalent in their office buildings, and a result, many clients have experienced the advantages offered by LEED construction firsthand. These clients have often already invested in commercial LEED projects and are now ready to transition these same high standards to their personal lives. Jeremy decided to experience the benefits of LEED firsthand and chose to have his own house in Zeeland, certified LEED Platinum.

Building on the lake front comes with complications such as extreme wind loads, humid changes, temperature fluctuation, and other variables. To overcome these challenges, Cottage Home uses high performance home measures to control the entire process though design, build, and some maintenance which allows more control of green features. Cottage Home designs and builds what is right for each particular home which may result in homes varying in different HVAC, insulation, passive solar heating, and various climate control systems.  One particular feature that is commonly used in these homes, including Jeremys, is an ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator).   An ERV automatically exhausts stale air from the inside of the house and replaces it with fresh air from the outside.  Another key feature used in many of the homes is a geothermal system.  There are a few different types used, but all contribute to the energy efficiency of the homes in some way.  Several techniques are used to increase water efficiency in the homes, such as tankless water heaters, which only heat water when necessary, water collection systems to help with sprinking and irrigation, and faucets and showerheads that work with less water than traditional ones.  Insulation, as well as materials such as flooring, home furnishings and walls are all aspects that need to be carefully considered when building these homes.

As leaders in the industry we asked Brian and Jeremy what they saw in the future of design and construction. Jeremy believes that being able to evaluate the effectiveness of high performance systems and insulation through energy bills is important. Along with water collection systems to reduce storm water runoff and help irrigate the lawn.  Brian agrees that we should have a system to allow clients to ensure they are getting the most effective homes. He foresees homes that can be manipulated to meet the client’s needs at any given time. An example of this would be homes with the ability to accommodate a family of four, which can then transition to accommodate sleeping arrangements for twenty. Along with being able to better meet a client’s needs, he would like to see energy loads distributed to only sections of the house in use, as well as the ability for clients to control how energy is used throughout the home (on site and from satellite locations).  Cottage Home sees one challenge to moving forward with these ideas is getting sub-contractors to approach basic air sealing, insulation, proper HVAC sizing, and design aesthetics with an effective mindset. Cottage Home has established themselves as innovators and leaders in the design of luxury LEED lake front homes. They continue to partner quality, design and the environment hand in hand to produce sustainability along our beaches.

Quick Numbers - Average HERS Score 51 Average LEED score 75 

Learn & see more about their LEED projects below.

51 W. Central

Beach House on Monroe Blvd.

Fabun Road Cottage

Green Cottage at Suequehanna

LakeBridge Beach House

LakeBridge One

Monroe Beach House

North Beach Cottage

Northgate Lake Home

Pier Cove Cottage

Summer's Gate 4 and 8

The Havens Cottage

Waukazoo Woods Residence




New LEED for Homes Pre-approved ID Point

LEED for Homes project teams that sign up for USGBC's Building Performance Partnership (BPP) are now eligible to earn an optional point in Innovation and Design (ID) point for Utility Tracking, which will be done via for Homes BPP

For the residential market, providing performance data for energy and water usage after occupancy is not required as in other Read more


Earth Day Marks Launch of 132-home LEED Subdivision near Chicago

Energy Smart Home Builders Joins the LEED for Homes
Green Certification Program

NEW LENOX, Ill. (April 22, 2010) – The Green Home Institute () is proud to welcome Energy Smart Home Builders of New Lenox, IL as a participant in LEED for Homes. LEED for Homes is a national third-party certification system for energy efficient, healthy, green homes. Energy Smart Home Builders, founded by Phil and Jim Regan, are planning to develop Prairie Ridge Estates, a community of 132 net zero energy homes using solar panels, geothermal power, wind turbines and other technologies. will be providing support and the third-party testing and verification for the green homes, which are planned to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Read more


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