Laurie and I attended this presentation last night to learn what LEED is doing for the home building industry. Currently there are pilot programs around the country (375 builders with 6,000 test homes planned). This is a voluntary program promoting high performance green homes. A green home uses less energy, water, and natural resources; creates less waste and is healthier and more comfortable for the occupants. Benfits include lower water and energy bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and less exposure to mold and other indoor toxins. The net cost of owning a LEED home is comparable to that of owning a conventional home. Builders in the audience were unable to get hard numbers from their questions to the speakers on comparable construction cost per square foot. It seems that there are too many variables to give a very good answer.
The most encouraging point of the evening was that LEED programs for homes represents an opportunity for a quantum leap in environmental progress because homes are such a huge percentage of our built environment.