How to get your green home LEED certified
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system which determines just how environmentally friendly a building is. The system was adopted in order to measure the efficiency of sustainable green building practices and materials. Intended as a universal standard for performance criteria for materials and techniques utilized in green buildings, the rating system was implemented in Canada in 2009.
The LEED certification system examines buildings holistically; rating their performance in:
- Energy and atmosphere
- Location and linkages
- Water efficiency
- Awareness and education
- Materials and resources
- Site selection and sustainable development
- Indoor environmental quality
There are prerequisites for each of these sections that must be met in order for a building to be considered for LEED certification. Once prerequisites are met, credits are given for compliance in the fields mentioned above. The building receives points for achievements in each of these sections and its total determines its certification. A basic LEED certification requires 40–49 points, LEED Silver is 50–59 points, LEED Gold is 60–79 points and LEED Platinum is 80 points and above.
The LEED certification is a Canadian adaption of the US Green Building Council’s model which has been tweaked to meet Canadian Building regulations and climate, and is administered by the Canadian Green Building Council.
Why get LEED certified?
LEED certification is desirable for people who wish to qualify for generous incentives offered by the government for those who practice environmentally friendly and sustainable building techniques and allows them to get recognition for their green building initiatives. LEED certification applies to single family homes and low to mid-rise multifamily buildings, as well as commercial buildings. Retrofitting your home or business will also qualify you for LEED certification.
How to get certified
Follow these easy steps when applying for LEED certification:
- Contact the Canadian Green Building Council to find a LEED Canada provider near you. Ask them to investigate your project to see if it is eligible.
- Set green goals. The flexible nature of LEED certification allows you to select the locations, materials and techniques which best suit your needs and budget. Most material manufacturers will list the number of LEED points their materials will add to your total.
- Register your project on the CaGBC website and pay the registration fee. Although registration fees and overall costs vary according to the size of the project, expect to pay about $2,000 for a single family home.
- Documentation and verification. The verification team will work with you every step of the way to help you to achieve your green goals and to assess the environmental impact of your build.
- Certification. Once your building and verification are complete, your LEED provider will submit all the appropriate documentation to the CaGBC for certification.