Location, Location, Location
Location counts when you're going for LEED certification. There are bonus points awarded for where a home is built (or, in the case of a renovation, where it's already located) in relation to other buildings, neighborhoods and surrounding infrastructure. For example, your home qualifies for points if its site is within a half mile of water and sewer lines, because that can prevent resources from being used and land from being disturbed to install additional infrastructure [source: U.S. Green Building Council]. You can also claim points under LEED if your home is built close to other neighborhoods, communities or groups of buildings.
That might seem strange. Isn't part of the LEED program's goal to reduce destruction of the natural environment? Yes, but more dense construction makes it easier to walk places or use more environmentally friendly transportation, including buses and trains [source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. And LEED does have measures to make sure certain environments won't be disturbed. Homes can claim points for not being located on floodplains, near wetlands or endangered species' habitats, or on reclaimed park land. Regardless of your site, you'll earn LEED credits if it has any "no disturbance zones," areas where no trees or plants can be disturbed [source: U.S. Green Building Council].