Green Building and the Profit Motive

Whatever good things we build end up building us. – Jim Rohn

I have been getting the question recently “What is a LEED Certified house?” A couple of them are being built right now here in Artesia.  The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED is created by the United States Green Building Council.  This system measures construction methods used in home structure. The system is designed to identify homes that employ the use of sustainable materials and energy efficiency in the construction process.  Increasingly, builders are striving to meet the LEED standards in custom homes.  As we become more aware of the cost of inefficiency in cars, buildings, and homes to our nation and our efforts at energy independence, better gas mileage, more efficient methods of heating and cooling, and structures that require less energy are becoming more attractive and in demand. The LEED building standards emphasize these efforts.

Green building techniques, alternative energy heating and cooling systems, and photovoltaic solar arrays aren’t just for communes and subversives anymore.  As a student of Economics, I always believe the “market” will decide when a behavior or trend is viable.  We are quickly reaching the marketplace dynamics that make these types of buildings and systems not only viable, but desirable. Show me a home that cuts my energy costs significantly, contains less chemicals and noxious compounds in the materials, improves the health of my family, and I will show you the money.  When these choices in building homes actually lead to more money in your pocket and a more durable and sustainable home, the “market” has decided the time is now.

In order for a home to be LEED certified, the construction should contain nature friendly methods, which include using recycled materials, eliminating waste generated due to construction, use of materials that do not emit harmful substances. The LEED certification is a terrific guide for homeowners who want to buy or renovate their present homes and make it more nature friendly. Moreover, a home to be certified also needs the assessment of a third party and ensures that you get certification by adhering to eco-friendly standards.

The LEED promotes building and designing green homes. The system contains four categories used in measuring the overall performance of a home. Every category has certain credit numbers and each credit is worth one or more points. A home is given a LEED Certification based on the total points scored. The four certifications include LEED Certified for a home with scores from 45 to 50, LEED Silver for those scoring from 60 to 74 points, LEED Gold for those homes with 75 to 89 points and LEED Platinum for homes scoring from 90 to 128 points. The builder can choose which credits to follower for a home a home to be certified.

Among the four categories, there are eight mandatory measures that must be accomplished in each LEED-certified home. Below are the eight categories and the corresponding points.

 

  1. Innovation and Design Process – nine points are given for using unique regional credits, measures not presently addressed in the rating system, special design methods and excellent performance levels.
  2. Linkages and Location – ten points for placing homes in environmentally and socially responsible methods with regards to the bigger community.
  3. Sustainable Sites – twenty-one points for using the whole property to minimize the effect of the project on the site.
  4. Water Efficiency – fifteen points given to outdoor and indoor conservation practices that are built into the home.
  5. Energy and Atmosphere – thirty points for improving energy efficiency, especially in the heating and cooling design of the home.
  6. Resources and Materials – fourteen points for choosing nature friendly materials, minimizing waste during the construction and using materials more effectively.
  7. Indoor Environmental Quality – twenty points for the improvement of the quality of indoor air by minimizing possible pollution in the air.
  8. Awareness and Education – three points for educating a homeowner, building manager or tenant regarding maintenance and operations of the energy features of the home.

The LEED certificate is the only national homes rating that clearly defines and establishes the features of a green home.  It allows builders around the country to get a green LEED rating recognized by homebuyers throughout the country.  Builders using LEED can differentiate these homes as some of the best homes in the market.  Moreover, the LEED certification makes it easy for buyers to easily identify high quality, eco-friendly homes.  LEED homes are available here and now, but you have to know who to call. Find out more about the standards and methods at http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/ .

Palo Duro Homes builds custom, LEED Certified, Indoor Clean Air Certified (EPA) homes in Artesia and all across the Southwest.  Call me 575.308.1087 to start yours today.

 

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