Growing to LEED: Third-party certifications are driving toward LEED®

Growing to LEED®
Growing to LEED®

Homebuyer demand for green features continues to grow with more consumers expecting efficient, healthy, and safe homes across the country, making it clear that eco-friendly features and communities are an important decision-making influence.

People expect to breathe clean indoor air and find safer building materials in order to live comfortably and with peace of mind in their home. Green features add up to using less energy, less water and lead to lower operating costs each month. And who doesn’t like saving money every month? What’s more, lower monthly utility bills may allow homebuyers to actually afford more home than they expect.

Colorado Housing Market Limelight

  • Rocky Mountain cities Fort Collins, CO and Boulder, CO, support that house hunters in these areas don’t necessarily “need ‘green’ to get a green home”. An article written by RISMedia provides data analysis from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), REALTORS® and Sustainability 2018 Report, and® report suggesting that there are “affordable pockets outside of the Golden State” that make becoming a green homeowner viable.
  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors. There’s no question that people expect to live in a sustainable home which offers plenty of clean unpolluted air, and one that is safe with less risk of harmful byproducts that derive from unsafe building materials. What’s inside our homes is important - green building is important.
  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced that Colorado certified 114 projects representing 17.04 million square feet of LEED-certified space, or 3.39 square feet per person, in 2018. Colorado ranks sixth in 2018's Top 10 States for LEED green building.

Set your Sights on Green Building

As more building code jurisdictions in Colorado adopt the latest versions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), builders and developers are taking their first steps into the residential green building world. While these first steps can be confusing as builders begin this journey, there are fruits along the way, including opportunities for federal and local tax incentives, rebates and variances to help ease the transition into this growing market.

With the latest IECC as a starting point, many above-code, third-party certification programs such as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR® , WaterSense, Indoor airPLUS™, National Green Building Standard (NGBS), Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Homes (DOE ZERH), and LEED® are all coming within reach, giving builders a clear pathway to differentiate their work and stand out in a crowded and confusing marketplace.

Join Tom Flanagan, Manager of Multifamily and LEED Services for EnergyLogic to explore and demystify the changing landscape of energy codes and green building certification programs. The educational session: Growing to LEED will be laser-focused on residential programs that code designers and builders can leverage as a stepping stone toward achieving LEED for Homes v4 certification. Together, we’ll explore the various pathways that will help you to balance and implement your LEED certification roadmap.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the LEED for Homes v4 and Production Builder certification process
  2. Learn how advanced codes provide a step up to LEED v4 BD+C: Homes and LEED v4.1 Residential prerequisites and credits
  3. Learn how the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program qualifies for 37 points in LEED for Homes v4.1 Residential
  4. Understand how mandatory code air sealing requirements translate into meeting the Compartmentalization Prerequisite and earning points for Enhanced Compartmentalization in LEED for Homes

Tom Flanagan manages multifamily projects, LEED certification and LEED quality assurance for EnergyLogic, Inc., where he has supported hundreds of LEED-certified residential projects throughout the U.S., and around the world. USGBC and EnergyLogic's paths have long been parallel, Tom worked closely with USGBC staff to design and pilot a new production builder-friendly LEED certification process, in addition to advising on the new DOE Zero Energy Ready Home alternative compliance pathway to LEED for Homes v4 certification. Tom has served on the USGBC Colorado Market Leadership Advisory Board since 2016, and worked for USGBC at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., until 2011.

For more information about Rocky Mountain Green, and to register for the "Growing to LEED: How third-party certification programs are driving the market toward LEED" educational session, please visit

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *