How to Get Green Energy Certifications for Your New Home

Solar panels on a roof.

Getting your green energy certifications is not hard to do, as long as you understand and follow the guidelines up front. There are several different standards out there that will give you “green” certification. Some of the certifications offered may allow you to obtain special financing or you may be able to participate in a program that is offered.

In addition, green homes are becoming a popular topic for home resale and will invariably increase the value of your home. You may seek these certifications to help the environment and to show your awareness of green energy requirements. Whatever the case, below you will find a step-by-step process walking you through how to get your home certified with a green energy certification.

Step 1 - Review LEED Certification

LEED standards are the most expensive green standards you can seek for your home. This program originally started out applicable to commercial buildings only and now has recently transitioned into the residential home sale market. LEED stands for “leadership in energy and environmental design.” It is administered by the US Green Building Council.

In order to have your new home LEED-certified, you will need to hire a trained inspector. This will cost anywhere between $500 and $5,000 dollars, on average. This inspector will evaluate the location and linkages, sustainable sites, energy, and atmosphere of your home. They will also review the home’s water efficiency and indoor environmental quality.

At first pass, your home will probably not pass the LEED certification. In this case, your inspector will give you a list of things that you must do to get your home to pass up to LEED specifications.

Step 2 - Review the National Green Building Standard

This standard applies to green practices that are currently being incorporated into a variety of areas. They are being incorporated into new homes and high rise multifamily buildings. They are also being added to remodels and additions. This standard outlines relative practices. It also details out operation and maintenance requirements. It talks about water efficiency and indoor environmental quality. Your builder should be aware of the following threshold levels: bronze, silver, gold, and emerald.

Ask your builder if your home can achieve one of those standards. Not only will you be happy as a homeowner, but it builds the builder’s resume.

Step 3 - Review Energy Star Qualifications

This type of certification is administered by the US EPA and the US Department of Energy. This is a similar program as the energy star rating for appliances. It is used by builders of new homes to enhance the desirability of the home. Check with your builder regarding whether they have met or exceeded any of these qualifications. Some of the items used can include: high performance windows, efficient cooling and heating components and utilization of energy star rated lighting and appliances.