ENERGY STAR Standards
All LEED-certified homes are required to meet ENERGY STAR standards as a prerequisite of the program. ENERGY STAR, a program set up by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, sets up a voluntary baseline energy efficiency standard for homes. To be certified as an ENERGY STAR home, your house must be around 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than the average home [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]. For example, homes can meet that efficiency level through a combination of factors. Installing better windows and insulation can reduce the amount of energy used by HVAC systems by keeping homes cooler longer in the summer and warmer longer in the winter. There are also special ENERGY STAR-certified appliances and light bulbs that use less energy. You can earn extra points if your LEED home's energy efficiency improves on ENERGY STAR's minimum efficiency standard [source: U.S. Green Building Council].