About LEED for Homes Certifications & Credentials
LEED certified homes are built with health and sustainability in mind. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) houses should use safe, renewable building materials and provide a high level of indoor air quality. Reduced water and energy usage results in a win for the environment and lower utility bills each month for occupants. It’s no surprise green homes often sell for more than traditionally-built homes, or why it benefits builders and real estate agents alike to gain education around LEED for Homes.
LEED for Homes is a rating system that can be applied to building design and construction projects for single and multi-family homes including low-rise (one to three stories) and mid-rise (four to eight stories).
While homes are LEED certified, individuals can earn the LEED AP Homes credential. This is an advanced AP (Accredited Professional) credential that outwardly displays an individual’s knowledge of the LEED certification process and practical, technical expertise in applying the rating system to building projects.
Who Should Earn the LEED Homes Credential?
Do you work in residential development, design, planning, or construction? Virtually everyone involved with the design and construction of single-family homes to large multifamily apartment complexes can expand their careers and win new projects with the LEED AP Homes credential. From the construction side alone, this literally includes every phase and discipline from the ground up.
Common Careers Include:
- Owners & Investors
- Concrete Suppliers
- HVAC Specialists
- Real Estate Agents (as green homes increase in number and popularity, agents can establish a niche)
- Property Managers
- Green Raters
What is the LEED Homes Exam Like?
Like other LEED AP (Accredited Professional) exams, the LEED Homes exam is designed to ensure you are prepared to be a contributing member of LEED Homes certification projects. The content is much more technical than the general green building focus of the LEED Green Associate exam, which is a prerequisite for earning the LEED Homes professional credential.
As of the latest August 2019 update, the 100-question LEED Homes AP exam is comprised of:
- 9 Questions around the LEED Process
- 9 Location & Transportation Questions
- 9 Questions about Sustainable Sites
- 17 Energy and Atmosphere Questions
- 10 Materials and Resources Questions
- 13 Questions around Indoor Environment Quality
- 5 Questions about Innovation
- 3 Regional Priority Credit Questions
Keen observers will note that totals 75 questions. The remaining questions are unscored and used to test new scored questions for future exams. Questions are placed in a random order, so you will not know which questions are scored or unscored. You have two hours to take the exam at a Prometric test center. Immediate results are available at the test center and within 72 hours, you’ll receive certification from GBCI and can add the credential to your name!
Once you’ve passed the test on your first try with our study tools and earned your LEED AP Homes credential, GBES can help you maintain your credential. Our CE bundles include automatic reporting and the credits earned double for AIA and many other green credentials you may have or be pursuing, such as the WELL AP or SITES AP. It’s the fastest way to keep your credential in good standing.
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LEED Home Certification
There are four levels of certification applied to homes. The credit ranges for levels vary depending on the rating system used. LEED for Homes v2008 and LEED for Homes Midrise Pilot v2010 use a different scale for the below levels than LEED v4 BD+C for Homes and Multifamily Midrise. Keep in mind for LEED for Homes, a project is an entire building. If you are building and want to certify five single-family homes, they will be five individual LEED for Homes projects, whereas a multifamily building with 20 units will be one project. Bulk registration and batch certification are available to streamline the process for multiple projects.
- LEED Certified
- LEED Silver
- LEED Gold
- LEED Platinum
LEED for Homes involves a handful of additional team members your project team will select. These individuals often work together on LEED Home certification projects. If your project team identifies one, they will often be able to recommend individuals for the other roles. The USGBC has an active online directory as well.
- Green Rater: Assists the project team in submitted necessary documentation and performing the required on-site verification
- Energy Rater: Performs the performance testing required by the LEED for Homes rating system. Some Green Raters are also HERS Raters (Home Energy Raters)
- The LEED Homes Provider Organization: Validates the on-site verifications and submits the final documents to GBCI for certification
You typically want to find a local Green Rater as they will be at the site a minimum of two times, and usually far more often. The first required visit is just before the drywall is installed so systems that will be hidden from view can be inspected. The final required visit is upon completion of the entire project including landscaping.
Check out our free LEED for Homes resources for even more information about the LEED Homes rating system and AP credential.