Making your renovations LEED certified

Thu, 01/30/2014 - 12:01

As the winter months come to an end, it's time to start thinking about spring cleaning and remodeling. What better way to begin the warm season than with much-needed home renovations? This year, when you're recarpeting the floors or finally creating that addition you've been dreaming of since you moved in, consider remodels that will earn your house a coveted LEED certification. Create an energy-efficient home that will save both the environment and electrical costs while utilizing sustainable resources to power and decorate the building.

To achieve LEED certification, homes must accrue points a variety of categories, including water efficiency, sustainable sites, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Houses can gain additional points for innovation and location, which are added to a home's total score. LEED certifications range from standard to platinum, but there are many ways in which you can improve the environmental sustainability of your home even if you don't seek recognition.

Reduce energy costs

New technologies exist to help alleviate heavy bills, from innovative water cooling systems to classic use of existing products, such as radiant heat technology. Installing radiant heat flooring in any building cuts energy costs by utilizing less electricity to heat a room than other conventional systems. By emitting heat from underneath the floor, air remains in the middle of the room, providing optimal comfort temperatures and preventing air systems from working harder to heat a room. If you decide to redo any floors in your home, from your bedroom to your bathroom, consider installing radiant heat while your floors are already being worked on.

There are many other ways for home to implement energy-saving appliances within its remodel. One ranch in Maine that is currently up for the LEED platinum certification recently installed a high-efficiency, wood-burning fireplace, condensing-gas boiler and LED lighting throughout the house.

Sustainable building materials

When constructing additions or decorations for preexisting rooms, be sure to look into sustainable materials, such as recycled wood, plastic or concrete. A recent renovation that took place in an LEED gold-certified Georgetown rowhouse used only partially or fully recycled materials for construction, nonmetallic piping and paint that was Green-seal certified. Additionally, this home installed a reflective roof to help utilize solar energy when powering appliances and electronics. Before purchasing any materials needed for your renovations, consider investing in environmentally friendly and cost-efficient products that will help enhance the overall quality of your newly remodeled home.