What Does LEED Certified Actually Mean

Dated: November 30 2016

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As we see the LEED certification becoming more and more popular, I think it is important that real estate buyers know what they are getting when they buy LEED Certified properties. Here is some information you should know:

What is LEED?

LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program that rates projects and properties based on developed criteria that range from aspects of the planning process to the actual materials, energy efficiency, water usage, etc. LEED boasts that their homes are resource efficient, use less water and energy among other desired qualities.

What does it mean to be LEED Certified?

This indicates that a project or property has met the requirements for one or more of the LEED certification types and levels. This is achieved through reaching the requirements and enough criteria for that certification type. These criteria can include: eco-friendly building materials, water efficient landscaping, available nearby transportation, etc.

How efficient and eco-friendly is a property that has been LEED Certified? 

 That all depends on the level of certification and the criteria they completed. Each criterion has a specific credit value that leads to a final score. This final score determines the level of certification that a home or property receives. This means that you can have a home that is certified, but maybe not as energy or water efficient as you think. The levels of certification are: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points), Platinum (80-110 points).  There are basic requirements to qualify for any of the certifications. So, the fact that a property is certified is a plus; but don’t assume your home is saving the planet one brick at a time.

How can I know is the LEED certification is really worth it?

After investigating this certification, I believe the criteria is extensive and potentially a big improvement on non-certified projects. The higher the certification level is, the more this is true. I think every home should meet the basic requirements of the certification, at the least; for example: the building cannot be in a flood zone.

However, I think they have undervalued water efficiency. Water shortages have been happening all over the world, and the growing lack of available clean water is a serious issue!  Water is one of our most precious resources, we cannot live without it. The entire water efficiency section (for home certifications) accounts for a possible 12 out of 110 points, and you are only required to obtain 3 points in that section.

IF you are looking for an eco-friendly home, I would aim towards the higher-level certifications.

The best way to know how much better a particular LEED Certified property is compared to another, is to ask.

Important fact:LEED instructs that all LEED certified properties keep their certification and documents on site for at least 2 years after the date of the certification. IF visiting a LEED certified property, I recommend asking about the certification level and specific credits earned in the certification process. Ask to see their LEED certification documents. LEED Certifications can be revoked. This will allow you to know how truly eco-friendly the property is and in what ways. In turn, this would tell you how much you could save on your overhead.

As a real estate agent, it is important for me to find homes and properties that better the lives of my clients. LEED can greatly help potential buyers evaluate a property.

If you know someone who is looking to buy/sell/lease, contact me. I would be glad to help them find what they need.

Donna Bovee, Realtor

Donna L Bovee

Team Price Real Estate

Price Commercial Real Estate

(512) 497-3643


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