Shopping for a new home that’s a little more energy-efficient? It might be hard to decipher between the advertising: one home is Built Green, one home is LEED certified, and then there are stars and colors and you’re stuck in the middle trying to figure it all out.
So, here’s your breakdown of what’s what when it comes to living green.
Built Green is an arm of the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish counties. Builders that use green building techniques can pay an annual membership to join Built Green – $100 for MBA members and $250 for nonmembers.
Members of Built Green can get their homes and communities certified as a 3-star, 4-star and 5-star rated property. The ratings are decided based on a points system: for instance, using wood framed windows that are sustainably harvested gets 5 points, and pre-piping for a solar water heater earns 2 points. There are hundreds of checklist points available to earn points from, so be sure to ask the builder how many stars their property received.
LEED is more worldwide – its internationally recognized and stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED homes are rated on a 100-point system with 10 bonus points, divided over the categories of sustainability, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. For a home to be LEED certified, it must score at least 40 points. A home scoring 50 points is LEED Silver certified, 60 points is LEED Gold certified, and 80 points is LEED Platinum certified.
Of course, even if a home isn’t certified by a special organization, it can still be “green” in many ways – look for Energy Star rated windows and appliances, plus green building techniques to help save the planet and your pocketbook. If you’re doing a remodel job you can help be green too – you can recycle almost all the waste you produce from a remodel job!