Benefits of Green Homebuilding | U.S. Green Building Council
Please upgrade your browser. This site requires a newer version to work correctly. Read more
Published on
Posted in Media
Published on
Posted in Media
Photo credit: Rob Moody
Photo credit: Rob Moody

Benefits of LEED-Certified Homes: Savings, Value, Well-Being, Trusted

Homes don’t merely have an outsized impact on our personal lives, they are also a critical piece of the broader building industry. The National Association of Home Builders reports that as of the first quarter of 2014, housing contributed $2.47 trillion to gross domestic product.

“Since 2005, the green share of new single family residential construction has grown dramatically— increasing from 2% in 2005 to 23% in 2013. This 23% market share equates to a $36 billion market opportunity.1

Savings: Reducing Energy & Water Consumption

The typical household spends about $2,150 a year on residential energy bills2.

LEED-certified homes are:

  • Built to be energy-efficient, ensuring that the home can be comfortably heated and cooled with minimal energy usage;
  • Individually tested to minimize envelope and ductwork leakage;
  • Designed to minimize indoor and outdoor water usage;
  • Predicted to use an estimated 30 to 60% less energy than a comparable home built to International Energy Conservation Code.

Based on the average HERS ratings for each level of LEED certification, these homes could potentially see energy reductions of:

  • Up to 30% (for LEED Certified homes)
  • Approximately 30% (for LEED Silver homes)
  • Approximately 48% (for LEED Gold homes)
  • 50-60% (for LEED Platinum homes)

LEED for Homes projects must meet ENERGY STAR for Homes, which can cut energy bills by 20%3, saving between $200 to $400 annually, adding up to potentially thousands of dollars saved over the seven or eight years that the typical homeowner lives in a home. Some homes see savings of of to 60%, and energy efficiency in apartments could save $3.4 billion.4.

Value: Green Homes are Dream Homes

Researchers found that between 2007 – early 2012, the value of homes in California with a green certification label was an average of 9% higher than comparable, non-certified homes5.

LEED certification is near the top of the list in a ranking of individual attributes of apartment rentals, second only to placement near a central business district, according to a CoStar Group, Inc. analysis. See Slideshow image above6.

Consumers ranked green/energy efficiency as their top requirement for their dream homes

  • 60% said that green and energy efficient are amenities they want in their next home7
  • A 2008 study conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction and USGBC found that the mean price of green homes purchased by survey respondents was $296,000; the median was $239,000

Green homes can be built for the same cost as — and even less than — conventional homes.

  • Sometimes there are upfront costs which on average are 2.4% and can be quickly recouped with the homeowners saving money for the rest of the home's lifespan8
  • Green homes have a higher resale value and are on the market for less time than comparable conventional homes. The Earth Advantage Study in 2011 found that, on average, green-certified new homes sold for 8% more than non-certified green homes. Resales of existing green homes sold for an average of 30% more than conventional homes9

Well Being

LEED-certified homes require proper ventilation, high efficiency air filters and measures to reduce mold and mildew.

Trusted

Each LEED home undergoes onsite inspections, detailed documentation review, and as-built performance testing.

Green Home Market

  • More than 196,500 units have been registered under the LEED for Homes rating system. 82,000 of those units have been certified under LEED for Homes; nearly half of those units are in the affordable housing sector.**
  • It is estimated that by 2016 the green single-family housing market will represent 26%-33% of the market. 10
  • 42% percent of LEED-certified home units fall in the affordable housing sector

Environmental Impact of the Residential Market

Energy:

  • Households use about one-fifth of the total energy consumed in the U.S. each year; the residential sector is responsible for 21% of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions12
  • Since 1985, residential energy consumption, measured as total energy (i.e., including electricity losses), increased overall by about 34%13
  • It's expected that by 2016, 90% of all residential construction will have energy efficient features14
  • To date, more than 1 million ENERGY STAR-qualified homes constructed save consumers an estimated $200 million annually in utility bills15

Water:

  • Total U.S. residential energy consumption is projected to increase 17 % from 1995 - 201516
  • Total residential water use: 29.40 billion gallons per day or 7.1% of U.S. total water use17

Waste:

  • Total estimated construction and demolition (C&D) generation amount for residential construction in 2003: 10 million tons. Average residential C&D debris generation rate in 2003: 4.39 pounds per square foot18

For more information, please read our LEED in Motion: Residential report (http://go.usgbc.org/homes)

1Nils Kok and Matthew E. Kahn, The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market (2012), 1, http://www.usgbc.org/sites/default/files/ValueofGreenHomeLabelsStudy_Jul...

2U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration (Nov. 2010). Short-Term Energy Outlook. http://205.254.135.7/forecasts/steo/outlook.cfm

3U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Sept. 2011). ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes – Assured Performance in Every Qualified Home. Accessed Dec. 19, 2011 via http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/publications/pubdocs/ES%20Homes%20...

4U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (March 2009).ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes. Accessed Dec. 19, 2011 via http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/downloads/consumer_brochure.pdf

5Kok, N. and Kahn, M. (2012). The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market. Accessed July 27, 2012 via http://www.nilskok.com/2012/07/greenhomes.html.

6CoStar Group, Inc. Property and Portfolio Research (2013). Real Estate is Local; So Are Price, Amenities. Accessed July 10, 2013 via http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Real-Estate-Is-Local;-So-Are-Price-Am....

7Yahoo! (Dec. 2011). Yahoo! Real Estate Home Horizons Study – American Dream Homes Turn Green. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/yahoo-study-american-dream-homes-turn-...

8Kats, G. (2009). Green Buildings and Communities: Costs and Benefits. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via http://www.goodenergies.com/news/-pdfs/Web%20site%20Presentation.pdf

9Earth Advantage Institute (June 8, 2011). Certified Homes Outperform Non-Certified Homes for Fourth Year. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via http://www.earthadvantage.org/resources/library/research/certified-homes...

**As of January 1, 2015.

10Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes: Growth in a Recovering Market, McGraw Hill-Construction, 2014.

11U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. www.eia.gov

12U.S. Department of Energy (Oct. 2008). Energy Efficiency Trends in Residential and Commercial Buildings. http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/corporate/bt_st...

13McGraw-Hill Construction (2012). World Green Buildings Study. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012 via http://analyticsstore.construction.com/index.php/2012-world-greeen-build...

14U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star and Other Climate Protection Partnerships – 2010 Annual Report

15U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. www.eia.gov

16U.S. Geological Survey (2005). Estimated Use of Water in the United States. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/wudo.html

17U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2003). Estimating 2003 Building-Related Construction and Demolition Materials Amounts. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/rrr/imr/cdm/pubs/cd-meas.pdf