Benefits of Green Homebuilding | U.S. Green Building Council
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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.


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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 (

1Nils Kok and Matthew E. Kahn, The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market (2012), 1,

2U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration (Nov. 2010). Short-Term Energy Outlook.

3U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Sept. 2011). ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes – Assured Performance in Every Qualified Home. Accessed Dec. 19, 2011 via

4U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (March 2009).ENERGY STAR Qualified New Homes. Accessed Dec. 19, 2011 via

5Kok, N. and Kahn, M. (2012). The Value of Green Labels in the California Housing Market. Accessed July 27, 2012 via

6CoStar Group, Inc. Property and Portfolio Research (2013). Real Estate is Local; So Are Price, Amenities. Accessed July 10, 2013 via;-So-Are-Price-Am....

7Yahoo! (Dec. 2011). Yahoo! Real Estate Home Horizons Study – American Dream Homes Turn Green. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via

8Kats, G. (2009). Green Buildings and Communities: Costs and Benefits. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via

9Earth Advantage Institute (June 8, 2011). Certified Homes Outperform Non-Certified Homes for Fourth Year. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via

**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.

12U.S. Department of Energy (Oct. 2008). Energy Efficiency Trends in Residential and Commercial Buildings.

13McGraw-Hill Construction (2012). World Green Buildings Study. Accessed Nov. 29, 2012 via

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

15U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.

16U.S. Geological Survey (2005). Estimated Use of Water in the United States. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via

17U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2003). Estimating 2003 Building-Related Construction and Demolition Materials Amounts. Accessed Dec. 20, 2011 via