Majority of LEED Homes Are Affordable

On the heels of the delay of LEED 2012, the USGBC announced that the organization has certified more than 20,000 LEED for Homes units since the residential program launched in 2008.  Moreover, about 51% of all certified homes qualify as affordable housing, and about 79,000 LEED for Homes units are in the pipeline right now.

With green homes expected to gain more market share of all home construction, it’s reasonable to expect that the USGBC will play a huge role in the greening of our national housing stock.

The USGBC certified the first 1,000 homes in 31 months; 1,001 – 5,000 in 18 months; 5,001 – 10,000 in 12 months; and 10,001 – 20,000 in 13 months, according to the USGBC.  So the trajectory is definitely in the direction of more and faster (and, perhaps, measurably greener, too, as the system evolves).

Credit: The Shoebox House/LEED Platinum, © Laurie Allegretti.


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  • Mike M

    How did they define “affordable”?

  • jon

    Total carp. Laughable. “affordable”? Have you seen what the commissioning fees are for LEED?

  • amoyer

    It marketing, if you keep spewing lies like this people will start to believe it. They are not affordable if when they are half the size of what your average person needs. Also, studies show that the “green” features in homes don’t pay off because the average person doesn’t live in the house long enough for them to pay off.

    I still contest when you drastically decrease the size of your house of course the energy to heat/cool the house is less. but then you loose the storage space and most importantly the space to have lets say your kids to sleep in the same house as you or any visitors. The design and aesthetics are great but functionality are beyond poor.

  • Wanda

    I also wonder how “affordable” was defined. I’ve been looking for a way to build a green, prefab near Washington, DC, and all indications are it will cost nearly $500,000 to make it happen. Definitely not what I call “affordable.”

    • Mac

      Hi Wanda..

      I am an architect in Brisbane Australia..
      How big is your dream house..?
      How much is your maximum budget?
      I will give you some alternative..

  • Green guy

    $500,000??? Not affordable? Where are you getting your information, and where is your proof? Show me that there are not affordable projects out there. I guess you guys one have not done your research, and to know nothing about what an efficient residential home is, that is realistically sized for your needs, energy efficient, and energy star compliant.

    Half the size of what your average person needs??? How much space and storage space does the average person need? I think it’s more along the lines of how much space has society told them they need.

    Amoyer your missing the point. This whole Green/LEED initiative is for using more environmentally friendly materials, reducing your carbon footprint, and reducing you utilities with more efficient renewable energy alternatives.

    Turning and trying to make an Energy Star compliant/LEED McMansion is counter-productive. All your doing is trying to make a large structure with a lot of wasted/dead space efficient, and your going to pay a premium for all of the materials needed for that structure. In the end all you do is reduce your monthly utilities cost throughout the amount of time you live there.

    In regards to your studies it’s the same thing. You take large homes and you try and outfit them “green” features, of course you’ll spend an arm and a leg with the installation, and companies are going to take advantage of peoples lack of knowledge.

    New green/LEED constructions do not have to be expensive. Look at all the variables in the equation and all the components. Going to a builder with an idea like this and letting them tell you everything that is needed is going to cost quite a bit.

  • Clay

    I agree that it’s ridiculous when a bunch of very wealthy, or at least extremely well off, people get together and define what affordable means. Reminds me of the story of the the three wolves and a sheep getting equal votes on what to have for dinner. These terms are rendered completely meaningless because there’s no context. To multimillionaires and billionaires a $10M home is “affordable” too. It’s all in the context.

    On the other hand it’s also not fair to tell people how much home they need. If someone wants to go up to their eyeballs in debt because they can’t live in less than 5,000 sq. ft. then that’s what they need. Is it possible to live in 120 sq.ft.? Of course, but that doesn’t mean they have to lest they be deemed greedy. In this sense “need” is defined by the individual.

    I’m in the process of having my home built in central Seattle. It’ll be between 850 and 900 sq. ft. because that’s all I need. I didn’t learn this until I climbed the property ladder from 960 sq.ft. to 2000 sq.ft. and saw how much of my home went unused. I also seriously researched getting LEED certified, but after learning what a circle jerk the process is and how it could easily add 50% to the building cost it was immediately out of the question. LEED to me seems like a marketing scheme to make a lot of people extremely wealthy appeasing green guilt. There is absolutely nothing stopping us from building to the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainability, but getting LEED certified is just a gimmick. It’s just another brand like GUCCI or PRADA that people can parade around to feel superior.

    I say build to the highest standards and save the tens of thousands on the bogus certifications so you can market a home for a more reasonable price.

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