Many of us are familiar with the LEED rating system from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which is a third party green building rating system for commercial and residential buildings. The LEED rating system has been adopted by the U.S. government and is used with all new construction and major renovation of federal buildings. LEED certifies buildings on a point based system in the areas of Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Locations & Linkages, Awareness & Education, Innovation in Design, and Regional Priority. Points are then added up to achieve Silver, Gold, or preferably Platinum certification. While mainly regarded as a tool for commercial building, there is also a LEED for Homes section that allows you to certify your home or neighborhood.
Recently, USGBC has launched a Green Home Guide. The site is an awesome resource for those of you looking to remodel or build a home in the near future. The site contains a myriad of resources for the casual and the serious green homemaker alike. The “Know How” section guides you through green building advice and educational articles to help you make better-informed decisions. They cover a diverse range of topics, and the content is growing everyday. With the rapid growth in the green building world, it’s a great resource if you need to get an idea of what’s out there.
My favorite part of the site is the “Ask a Pro” section, which allows you to connect to green building experts from around the country and get answers to questions. Perhaps you’ve been shopping around for a countertop, and you’re wondering which is more environmentally friendly. Or maybe you want to know what solar power options exist for those of us living in apartments or condos. The site has many LEED accredited professionals ready to answer your green building questions.
If you’re ready to have someone come in and do the work for you, there’s the “Find a Pro” section. This directory of green building LEED accredited professionals is your key to getting green-minded professionals working on your new home or remodel. They have everything from green cleaning services and interior designers to architects and electricians.
Although the site is still Beta, I feel like it has the potential to grow into a valuable resource for the eco-conscious homeowner. As green building has become more mainstream, it has made quality green building easier to access for the average person. The site is still growing, but I was satisfied with the information that I did find. Also, the ability to ask the pros questions has made it easier for me to feel secure with my decisions and has cut down some of the research time for my home projects. Remember, USGBC is just one of many sites out there to help you remodel your house in a green way. Use as many resources as possible to ensure that you come to a well-researched, unbiased conclusion. Hopefully USGBC’s Green Home Guide will provide you with a great start.