How to Get Started with LEED for Homes and Multifamily Midrise Certification

Step 1: Understand the LEED for Homes process

The U.S. Green Building Council developed the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes™ and Multifamily Midrise™ Rating Systems to assess and validate residential green building practices.

The LEED for Homes and LEED for Homes Midrise certification process is outlined in this video provided by USGBC.

In addition to meeting the rating system requirements, every LEED Homes and Midrise project is inspected and tested during site inspections by credentialed LEED Homes Green Raters. Steven Winter maintains a team of 11 credentialed Green Raters serving 20 states including New York, Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. Massachusetts, and more.

How Does LEED Homes Compare to Other LEED Rating Systems?

Verification Team – Your Green Rater serves as the primary reviewer and field inspector, performing site inspections to verify compliance with the LEED credits. Most project teams do not need to hire a separate LEED AP nor Commissioning Agent for residential and multifamily projects.

LEED Homes for single family and low-rise residential can be used on buildings up to five stories and LEED for Homes Multifamily Midrise starts for building with four stories and above. Choosing the right rating system will be based on your heating and cooling equipment and amount of common space.

Documentation – There is no LEED Online submittal platform for LEED Homes project teams to use meaning no documentation that requires uploading. Because less paperwork is required and many of the LEED measures can be verified onsite, the costs associated with LEED documentation are significantly reduced compared to the commercial rating systems. When you work with Steven Winter Associates, you’ll have access to our exclusive LEED Homes resources, calculators and templates designed to help make the process more efficient and straight-forward.

Certification Review – LEED Homes and Midrise certification is often turned around in under 3 weeks from the time the Green Rater and project team finalize documentation.

Rating Confidence – A LEED Homes Provider like Steven Winter Associates will guide your team from design through construction and verify compliance with the LEED Homes or Midrise rating system from day 1. This minimizes swings in the final point total and reduces uncertainty around final certification compliance from the Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI) reviewers.

Step 2: Project Review

A LEED Homes Provider will work with your goals and your budget to identify cost effective solutions that also maximize LEED Homes and LEED Homes Midrise points. There are many aspects to consider not only during the design and construction phase, but also in regards to training that will help occupants and facility staff to maintain the efficiency of the residence(s) including:

  • A point-by-point review of your home against the LEED Homes checklist and detailed explanation of how to achieve each LEED point
  • Energy modeling and plan review to improve building efficiency
  • Green building best practices and training including recommendations and plan details on insulation levels, unit-to-unit compartmentalization, green products, renewable energy systems and overcoming common installation errors
  • All on-site testing and verification that ensures your building is performing as expected and installed equipment is working as designed
  • ENERGY STAR® verification (meeting ENERGY STAR is a LEED prerequisite)
  • LEED documentation support including how to perform calculations and what to gather from manufacturers
  • Process management and project team meetings to keep everything running smoothly

Step 3: Inspections and Certification

All LEED for Homes projects have a minimum of two on-site inspections to verify LEED Homes requirements. The first is before the drywall is installed, and the second is upon completion of construction. Some LEED measures require additional documentation to show your home or building meets the requirements laid out in the rating system. A LEED Homes provider will walk you through what you need to collect throughout the process and submit everything for final certification by GBCI.

Have a question or feedback? Leave it in the comments section below!

If you would like to know more about the LEED Homes certification process, or have a specific project-related question, you can email me directly at afoss@swinter.com and I will be happy to help.

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