Our Certification

House SignIn the prior post I talked about the LEED for Homes program as a whole, so let me talk about how we got our specific project started.

When we first started we had no clue what level of certification we thought we could achieve.  I assumed that to get to Platinum I’d be spending a fortune…and that’s partially true!  But what surprised me is that getting to Certified or Silver can be done with minimal or no cost.  A lot of practices are alternative practices, not upgrades.

The LEED for Homes Rating System is represented in a 114 page document that at first is a bit daunting.  You’ll quickly become familiar with it.  It tells you exactly what you need to do to gain points.  But before you get into how to score the points, you need to know what points you’re going for.   There are a total of 136 points available.  The baseline number of points required by certification level are:

  • Certified – 45 points
  • Silver – 60 points
  • Gold – 75 points
  • Platinum – 90 points

To determine the threshold level specific to your project, you must calculate a “Home Size Adjustment”, which “compensates for the overarching effect of home size on resource consumption by adjusting the award level point thresholds….based on home size.”  The adjustment is based the square footage of the house and the number of bedrooms.  Our calculation added 3 points to all of the thresholds, so to obtain Platinum we need 93 points (we believe we’re currently at 97).  In LEED-speak, smaller homes and more bedrooms are better.  You can still achieve a Platinum with a larger home, but it just takes more points.

One more thing about getting started:  you need to be ready to document pretty much everything.  We have print-outs of maps of the property (showing how far we are from green space and public transportation), documentation of the fate of the old house’s pieces and parts (we recycled 90+% of that), technical specifications of our appliances to prove they’re Energy Star rated, etc, etc, etc.  It seems overwhelming at first, but as I learned very quickly, if you take it one requirement at a time it starts making sense and starts feeling very doable.

The image attached to this post is a 3’X3′ sign we have in front of the house (some of you may have gotten to this blog via our home’s website that’s listed on the sign).  That sign and this website/blog contribute to one of our points.

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