|The National Mall in Washington, D.C., was covered in construction and crowds during the Solar Decathlon, Oct. 12-20. High-tech solar-paneled louvered doors helped Germany’s Technische Universität Darmstadt team win the competition.|
Though earlier estimates anticipated the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ for Homes would move beyond its pilot stage this past summer, the delay has proven auspicious. This month’s official launch dovetailed with Greenbuild Expo in Chicago (Nov. 7-9), lending the program maximum exposure among eco-conscious industry players attending the nation’s largest event dedicated to sustainable design.
To be certified under the finalized LEED for Homes system (refined during two public comment sessions and a USGBC member vote), a home must meet or exceed the Energy Star® for Homes criteria, so that its energy performance is at least 15 to 20 percent better than an average home built to code. The program addresses other issues, as well, including use of sustainable materials, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and minimal exposure to indoor toxins.
The USGBC expects interest in the program to skyrocket post-launch and is ramping up its efforts accordingly, launching a consumer Web site, www.greenhomeguide.org, in late October. The site informs home buyers how to find or build a green home and provides instructions for existing home-owners on “greening” current abodes.
“This [site] is a great place to point people in the [lighting] industry who have an exceeding number of questions from consumers about what LEED is and how to locate a LEED provider,” says Assistant Program Manager Emily Mitchell.
USGBC will also soon add 15 to 20 regional providers—administrative clearinghouses for LEED resources and referrals—to its original roster of 12 pilot partners. “There will be more opportunity for more builders to participate across the country,” Mitchell says.
Lighting showrooms would be wise to connect with these partners now. “Make [the providers] aware of the [energy-efficient] products available,” Mitchell says, “so if a builder inquires about different lighting options, that provider can educate him on the potential opportunities in your market.”
LEED for Homes also offers an online introductory course, as well as in-showroom, instructor-led training sessions. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.