LEED Certification in Your Remodeling and Construction Projects
So you’re getting ready to remodel your home and you want to go green as much as possible because you’re trying to be more environmentally responsible… and you also wouldn’t mind saving some money on utilities and maximizing your home’s resale value. Where do you start?
A good place to start for your remodeling and construction projects is with LEED.
What is LEED?
LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design and is a rating system of sustainable green building and development practices.
LEED is also a nationally recognized, third party certification system and accreditation program conducted by the U.S. Green Building Council that certifies building projects meet high green building standards based on performance and measurable results in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
When LEED was first created it focused on new construction only but The U.S. Green Building Council and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) partnered together to create the REGREEN Program, which has created national green remodeling guidelines for existing homes so remodeling projects can also receive LEED certification.
In the US, our homes are responsible for 21% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States , approximately 4 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (almost 9,000 pounds) per person per year (about 17% of total U.S. emissions) are emitted from people’s homes. The three main sources of greenhouse gas emissions from homes are electricity use, heating and waste.
Formaldehyde is another gas emission from homes. It is emitted from many materials used to construct and remodel a home. Formaldehyde is a colorless gas. At elevated concentrations it has a strong, pungent odor and can be irritating to the eyes, nose, and lungs. Formaldehyde is released into the home from a variety of indoor sources. Some resins, or glues, used to bind wood chips or fibers into plywood, particleboard, and other pressed wood products, contain formaldehyde. Cabinetry and some floor and wall materials are often made from such products.
SOME COMMON SOURCES OF FORMALDEHYDE INDOORS
Pressed wood products: particleboard, plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF); often used in cabinetry, and wall and floor materials
Consumer Products: wallpaper, paint, coatings; often a preservative in these and other products
Coatings for Some Cabinet and Furniture Products: acid-catalyzed urea formaldehyde type finishes.
Combustion Appliances: wood stoves, gas appliances, kerosene stoves
Living in a green home means that you’re helping to stop the causes of climate change and using green materials and getting LEED certification in your remodeling and construction projects can help you not only be kind to the environment but also be kind to your body and your own personal health and there are also financial benefits to earning LEED certification too.
When you do a green LEED certification, not only are you doing something great for the planet and receiving environmental benefits like reduced greenhouse gas emissions and health benefits such as reduced exposure to mold, mildew, formaldehyde and other indoor toxins, you can also receive financial benefits such as lower energy and water bills and LEED certified homes may also be eligible for financial benefits such as lower fees for financing and lower insurance rates.