The US Green Building Council (USGBC) announced yesterday that more than 20,000 homes across the U.S. have earned certification through the LEED for Homes program. For those who are unfamiliar, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a third party green building certification process created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998. It was designed to provide a framework for architects, engineers, builders, and building owners to identify and implement sustainable practices into the construction and operation of new and renovated buildings. It is based on a system of points that when verified add up to one of four different levels of certification - Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The program covers all aspects of a project from site selection to water efficiency and material selection. LEED is made up of nine different rating systems, ranging from schools, healthcare, existing buildings, to homes. LEED for Homes was first introduced as a rating system in 2008.
In their press release, the USGBC stated that since 2008, “more than 20,000 residential units have certified with nearly 79,000 additional units in the pipeline”. According to a 2012 McGraw Hill Construction study, “Green homes are expected to grow to between 29% to 38% of the residential construction market by 2016, equating to $87-$114 billion”. LEED certified homes are made up of a wide variety of buildings, from multi- to single-family and from market rate to affordable housing. In fact, over half of all LEED certified homes can be considered in the affordable housing category.
The Prairie Pointe Townhomes located on Main Street are currently the only LEED certified homes in Greensburg. The housing development is made up of rental housing units for people in the community who are living on a fixed income. It was the first LEED Platinum new construction affordable housing development in Kansas and the third in the nation. The project was completed in July 2008 and currently houses both families and elderly individuals.