Having a green home is not only better for the environment, it's also better for you and your family. The air you breathe will be a healthier if you follow LEED guidelines and avoid products such as paints, primers and adhesives that emit toxic chemicals [source: Natural Resources Defense Council]. Controlling indoor moisture through the steps LEED recommends reduces the risk of mold development and makes your house more comfortable and durable. Properly ventilating your home cuts the potential for leakage of combustion gases into your living space and can reduce your exposure to indoor pollutants by freshening your indoor air with air from the outside, in an intentional method that doesn't drive up energy use and costs.
LEED guidelines also include suggestions for installing walk-off mats near doors and setting up a shoe removal and storage space near your main entryway, separate from your living space, to further diminish contaminants in your home, because it turns out we track a ton of them in on our shoes. Plus, living in a place where you can walk or bike to services -- move more and drive less, in other words -- is a bonus for your physical fitness level [source: Natural Resources Defense Council].
Finally, one of the main reasons to go through the rigorous process of obtaining LEED certification (aside from making your home as green as possible) is its increased value when it's time to market and sell the place. As more and more prospective buyers become aware of the benefits of a LEED-certified house, having that distinction can seriously help a home stand out, even in (or especially in) a difficult real estate market. Homes that meet LEED criteria are less expensive to live in, because they use so much less energy and water than non-green homes. Furthermore, they're healthier -- the air is cleaner, and there are few toxic contaminants lurking on the walls, in the carpeting or anywhere else. Once a home has LEED certification, sellers can use signage, press releases and other collateral approved by the U.S. Green Building Council to let interested buyers know about a home's greenness.
- National Fenestration Rating Council. (Dec. 27, 2010) http://nfrc.org/
- Natural Resources Defense Council. "LEED Certification Information." (Dec. 22, 2010) http://www.nrdc.org/buildinggreen/leed.asp
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Heat Island Effect." February 9, 2009. (Dec. 27, 2010) http://www.epa.gov/hiri/about/index.htm
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Energy Star." (Dec. 27, 2010) http://www.energystar.gov/
- U.S. Green Building Council. "Green Home Guide LEED for Homes Certification Program." (Dec. 21, 2010) http://greenhomeguide.com/program/leed-for-homes
- U.S. Green Building Council. "LEED for Homes Rating System." Jan. 2008. (Dec. 22, 2010) http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=3638
- U.S. Green Building Council. "Scope and Eligibility Guidelines LEED for Homes." Jan. 11, 2011. (Jan. 12, 2011) http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=5482
- U.S. Green Building Council. "LEED Frequently Asked Questions." (Dec. 21, 2010) http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1819#Govt