LEEDS certification tips and techniques
Seattle is the Emerald City, and green is the way to go if you’re planning to sell your home any time soon. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for your home can increase its resale value by an average of 9 percent, according to a recent USGBC report that has earned the support of The Appraisal Institute. And even if you plan to stay in your home forever, increasing its overall energy efficiency will save you a good chunk of money on utilities while reducing your carbon footprint. You’ll feel good about accomplishing both of those goals.
LEED is a program from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that leads the way in advocacy for improving the sustainability of public and private housing and commercial buildings. LEED-certified buildings are guaranteed energy efficient. LEED certification for homes outside of new construction is based on seven areas of improvement:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Innovation In Operations
- Regional Priority
Each improvement you make earns a certain number of points, and the number of points you earn determines the certification level you receive:
- 40-49 points: Certified
- 50-59 points: Silver
- 60-79 points: Gold
- 80+ points: Platinum
Some of the improvements require time and expense, but the investment pays off in the end through a higher resale value and through energy savings. Whether you’re interested in LEED certification or you simply want to save money on energy costs and reduce your impact on the environment, countless low-cost and no-cost methods will the energy efficiency of your home. Some of the most effective upgrades apply to your HVAC system, a major consumer of energy in your home. Attend to the following potential energy leaks to gain LEED points:
- Seal leaky ductwork and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Have your furnace and air conditioner or heat pump maintained annually.
- Seal air leaks around doors, windows, baseboards and service entrances.
- Insulate the attic with at least 15 inches of R-38 batting.
- Install awnings over windows to help reduce heat gain.
- Insulate exposed water heater pipes and the tank itself.
More Points for Higher Resale Value
Depending on the age of your furnace, a replacement may be necessary to gain the energy efficiency needed for more LEED points. A good rule of thumb is that furnaces more than 7 years old are probably not up to today’s efficiency standards. If you can’t afford a furnace upgrade, you should at least have your furnace checked by a technician to be sure it’s running at peak efficiency.
Energy Audits from MM Comfort Systems
A green home inspection can help uncover areas of energy leakage you may have missed. MM Comfort Systems has been creating a legacy of outstanding customer service in Seattle since 1977. Call us at 425.533.9058 or use our online contact form to schedule an audit that will help you with LEED certification to increase the resale value of your home.