Clean, fresh air: Indoor air quality can be improved with the use of nontoxic carpets, cleaning supplies, paints and finishes. Also, efficient HVAC systems that bring filtered outdoor air inside can further protect a home's occupants.
Smart materials selection: Good design and smart materials selection can significantly reduce waste, energy and resource depletion associated with home building. From insulation materials to flooring, from upholstery to lumber, LEED-certified residential projects incorporate environmentally preferable materials and promote enhanced durability and high performance.
Energy efficiency: Programmable thermostats and room-by-room climate controls can help you achieve the right level of comfort without wasting energy. The use of high-efficiency windows keeps conditioned air from leaving the house. High-efficiency light bulbs, fixtures, lamps and appliances can dramatically reduce your energy use. Low-energy lighting also produces less heat, cutting your heating bills.
Location: Where a home is built is as important as how it is built. Being as close as possible to transit, work, school, shopping, recreation, walking and biking paths, and other amenities will reduce your need to drive and will increase your health, well-being and quality of life.
Tight envelope: You can keep the winter cold and the summer heat outside by choosing insulation with a high R-value and by making sure there are no gaps, cracks or leaks in your home's envelope. In addition, a home's orientation on its lot and strategically placed trees can maximize the sun's rays in the winter while reducing heat in the summer.
Landscaping: Landscaping with native plants prevents nonnative species from taking over an area's ecosystem. Erosion controls and permeable hardscaping keep dirty, polluted runoff water from nearby waterways and smart landscaping reduces the need for pest control methods that can be harmful to your family and pets.
Water efficiency: Saving water in the home necessitates a holistic approach that considers indoor, outdoor and specialized uses and metering. LEED-certified projects emphasize an "efficiency first" approach to water conservation at home. LEED projects can use less water with water-saving fixtures, dishwashers, toilets and faucets.
Resilience planning: LEED-certified homes are designed, constructed and operated to be durable and resilient in the face of extreme weather. Assessing for potential vulnerabilities at the homes location includes considering sea level rise, extreme heat and more intense winter storms.