You’re on your way to increasing the value and environmental integrity of your project. This guide will lead you through the process.
LEED for Homes certification involves four main steps:
If you need assistance at any time, please call or email us.
Before you begin, you’ll want to make sure that your project has the minimum characteristics that make a project appropriate for pursuing LEED.
Building projects pursuing LEED 2008 certification must:
Building projects pursuing LEED v4 certification must:
For more information, LEED 2008 projects should read the Scope and Eligibility Guidelines LEED for Homes - 2008 Version. LEED v4 projects should visit the LEED Credit Library to read the specifics on Minimum Program Requirements and the Supplemental Guidance to the Minimum Program Requirements.
Now, onward to registration: visit LEED Online, the online portal through which you will submit your application for certification, as well as access a variety of tools and resources, complete the registration information related to your project, submit payment and sign the certification agreement (the project owner must do this last one). Once you’ve finished, your project application will be accessible in LEED Online.
From here, you can assemble your project team and the documentation process begins!
LEED for Homes requires on-site verification and performance testing - your Verification Team will provide these services for your project. Verification Team members are a great resource for you: they have worked on hundreds, if not thousands, of LEED for Homes projects, and can walk you and your team through the best way to incorporate the rating system requirements into your project’s planning, design and construction. Here’s a rundown of who’s who so you can select your team wisely:
You can begin by contacting either the Green Rater or the Provider directly; they work closely together. To find a LEED for Homes Provider Organization, visit the Provider Directory. Another good way to find a Provider is through a Green Rater. With a growing network of Green Raters (see our directory), you’ll be sure to find a Green Rater in your area who works with one of our Provider organizations. While it is not uncommon for the Provider to be located in a different city than the project, the Green Rater will be visiting your project site for a minimum of two visits - often more. It is most common and convenient to have a local Green Rater. If you register your project in LEED Online without a Verification Team identified, we will contact you to assist. It’s very important to engage with your Verification Team as early in the process as possible and before construction begins.
Click here to view a detailed Verification Team Scope of Services. This document details the mandatory services that will be provided by your verification team.
In addition to your LEED for Homes Verification team, you will also select project team members to work with you throughout the project process:
We encourage you to complete the registration steps as early in the design process as possible, before you begin construction. View the LEED registration close and certification close deadlines.
A project is defined as a single building. For example, a development consisting of six single-family homes would be six projects, and a project consisting of three large multifamily buildings with 50 residential units each would be considered three projects. If you are working on multiple buildings at once, such as a group of multifamily buildings or a production home development, we offer bulk registration and batch certification to help streamline verification requirements and reduce cost.
Bulk registration allows you to register a group of buildings in a single registration, given that all buildings in the bulk registration are:
Within a bulk registration group, you may submit multiple projects as a batch certification, given that all buildings in the batch certification:
Off to a good start? Great. In order to verify that your project is on track and properly achieving certain milestones and steps in the LEED for Homes certification process, you’ll need to participate in on-site verification throughout the design and construction process. On-site verification involves working with your Verification Team to arrange site visits and provide supplemental documentation when requested.
Integrative Project Planning Prerequisite 1.1 within the LEED for Homes rating system requires you to conduct a preliminary meeting with the Verification Team and key members of your project team early in the design process. As part of the meeting, you will create an action plan that identifies the following:
Communication with your Verification Team during construction is critical to ensure the Green Rater and energy rater visit the site at key milestones – your project team is responsible for scheduling these visits. Verification Teams follow the LEED for Homes Verification and Submittal Guidelines in order to adequately verify all prerequisites and pursued credits – you may wish to peruse these guidelines for reference.
LEED for Homes requires a mid-construction verification site visit, sometimes called the “pre-drywall” visit. During this visit, the Green Rater and energy rater will verify certain building systems that are only visible while the building walls remain open, such as efficient framing measures and installed ventilation ducting. Please note that this verification visit is mandatory for certification, and provides the Green Rater an opportunity to observe your project’s compliance with credit requirements that are fulfilled over time, such as construction waste management.
Once construction is complete, including landscape, the Green Rater and energy rater return for the second mandatory site visit. During this visit, the Green Rater verifies that you have met all remaining prerequisite and credit requirements, and the energy rater conducts the required performance testing.
Many prerequisite and credit requirements cannot be adequately verified through site visits alone. For those reasons, the Verification Team will ask to see appropriate documentation, such as project plans, material specifications, etc. Make sure to keep key documents on-hand and well organized!
Once your Provider has submitted your LEED for Homes Workbook, you will receive a prompt to pay the certification fees – once received, GBCI will begin your certification review. The Verification Team will participate in the review process with GBCI.
All LEED for Homes projects undergo a standard review, in which your Provider will submit your entire application (all credits and prerequisites) once the project is complete.
The pre-review allows you to get feedback from GBCI during the design process, prior to submitting for certification review, and is available for the following model/credits only (if you’d like feedback on a different prerequisite or credit from GBCI prior to the certification review, please read up on how to file an inquiry, below):
All required documentation should be submitted to your Verification Team, who will then submit directly to GBCI.
In a time crunch? Contact GBCI at least five business days (please allow longer if you are paying by check) prior to submitting an application to request an expedited review to cut your review time in half (reduced from 20-25 business days to10-12 business days per review phase). Please note that there is an additional charge for this service, and GBCI’s ability to fulfill your request depends on their current review capacity. If GBCI can accommodate your request, they will confirm availability and provide a custom review schedule for your project.
Having difficulty fulfilling a rating system prerequisite or credit? Have you thought of an alternative way to interpret a credit or path to fulfill it? We’ve established inquiries so that you can gain clarification before you register your project or as you’re working through your LEED application. All inquiries are filed through LEED Online (unless you haven’t registered yet – in which case, please reach out to GBCI) and should address only one credit or prerequisite. Here are your options:
Your Provider will need to submit for review no later than two years after your project is substantially completed (the date on which your building receives a certificate of occupancy or similar official indication that it is fit and ready for use). If you decide you no longer want to pursue LEED certification for your project, we understand. Please contact GBCI so that they can close your application and maintain accurate records.
If you feel that the results of a review appeal or a CIR appeal are incorrect and wish to challenge those results, you may do so by contacting GBCI.
You’ve made it to the finish line: accepting your certification is the final step in the LEED review process. Once your final application review is complete, your project team can either accept or appeal GBCI’s final certification report. If you’ve achieved certification: congratulations from all of us at USGBC and GBCI!
Once you’ve accepted the final certification report, the project will be deemed “closed out” – meaning that you will no longer be able to appeal the certification level or review decisions for specific credits or prerequisites, so please double (or triple) check that you have achieved all prerequisites and targeted credits before accepting the final certification.
While all LEED certified projects are a cut above the rest, each is assigned one of four levels of certification to acknowledge the degree of achievement. The number of points that your project earns determines the level of LEED Certification that your project will receive.
Certification levels for LEED v4 BD+C: Homes and LEED v4 BD+C: Multifamily Midrise:
Certification levels for LEED for Homes v2008 and LEED for Homes Midrise Pilot v2010:
Once you’ve earned certification, it’s likely that you’ll want to tell the world. You should. LEED certification benefits your personal or business bottom line and underscores your sustainability efforts. It’s a cause for celebration!
Our public relations guide for LEED-certified projects can help you do that. You’ll also receive a formal certificate of recognition, and can choose to order LEED plaques and certificates. Learn more.
(Psst… did you know that USGBC Platinum-level members receive 20 hours of dedicated public relations support from USGBC’s in-house communications team? Learn more about Platinum membership.)
Your work with LEED is something to be celebrated – and communicated to the world at large. Achieving LEED certification gives you the opportunity to share your project strategies, photos and insight, and play a pivotal role in educating other project teams.
We use your project data for the greater good: to educate and provide resources for LEED project teams and others around the world, showcase your strategies, and share the size and power of the green building movement.
Residential LEED-certified projects are, by default, considered “public” projects, and thereby included in USGBC’s public LEED project directory. A listing in this directory allows the general public and members of the media to look up your project listing and its related details.
Here’s a full list of the data and project elements that may be listed in the project directory:
All “public” projects also benefit from publicity opportunities: we may utilize your project data to create case studies highlighting your project’s features, reference your project on our website or to the media, or create other derivative works.
Information that may be used for articles, project profiles, other features:
You are free to opt-out of the LEED project directory and publicity opportunities as a “private project” at the time of registration: specific instructions on how to do so are available in LEED Online. All private projects that earn certification will be prompted once more to transition to public status (we can’t help ourselves, we love sharing good news!). You will need to re-confirm your “private” status at that time, if you wish to retain it. We respect your privacy, and should you choose to retain your "private" project status, we will never share your confidential project information. Please note, confidential, or private LEED-certified projects are not authorized to use the LEED certification logos.
Each rating system will remain open and available for certification for at least six years after the rating system registration close date. To certify your project under a specific rating system, you must submit for certification by that rating system's certification close date, also called the sunset date. If you have difficulty meeting this deadline, please reach out to GBCI—they’ll work with you on a solution for your project. View the LEED registration close and certification close deadlines.
Verification teams and GBCI reviewers work hard to ensure that any problems with a project application are discovered and resolved during the certification process. However, in rare situations, LEED certification may be revoked. We’ve created the Certification Challenge Policy to ensure that all LEED project applications and subsequent reviews by GBCI team members are done so with integrity, accuracy and truthfulness. A certification challenge may be initiated by GBCI or by any third party within 18 months of a project’s certification. In line with the policy, you need to retain all project documentation related to your certification, and the achievement of prerequisites and credits, on-site at your certified project for two years after receiving certification, to ensure that this information is available in case of a challenge. Click below to read the policy in its entirety.
This Certification Challenge Policy has been put in place to protect the integrity of the LEED certification program as a credible, accurate, and industry-recognized system for evaluating the design and construction of sustainable buildings. GBCI intends this policy to function as both a quality check on GBCI LEED reviews, as well as an instrument designed to detect and remedy incidents of intentional or inadvertent misrepresentation which result in the inappropriate award of LEED certification. This policy is not meant to serve as a vehicle for the adjudication of disputes between outside parties. Accordingly, this policy and the certification challenge process detailed herein do not replace any applicable judicial or other alternative dispute resolution processes that third parties may have available to resolve such disputes between themselves. Complaints that might warrant initiation of the Certification Challenge Process should be submitted to email@example.com.
To the extent a project is subject to revocation of LEED certification, s uch project will be removed from the LEED certified project database and may no longer be referred to as a LEED certified project. GBCI shall identify the project’s certification as having been revoked. Additionally, if GBCI revokes certification of any project for which a Platinum-level certification was previously awarded, and for which the project owner received a rebate of any or all certification fees, the owner of such project shall be liable for refunding all monies so received to GBCI. Further, the owner of such project shall immediately terminate all use and display of any LEED trademarks, associated logos, and other intellectual property licensed by GBCI
LEED BD+C: Homes v4 | LEED BD+C: Multifamily Midrise v4 Verification and Submittal Guidelines
LEED for Homes v2008 Verification and Submittal Guidelines
Reference Guide: v2008, v4
Rating System Document (v2008): Homes, Home California, Midrise, Midrise California
Checklist (v2008): Homes, Homes California, Midrise, Midrise California
LEED v4 for Homes and Midrise - Ballot Version
Green Rater Directory
LEED for Homes Provider Directory
LEED v4 Homes and Multifamily Workbook Sample
California T24 LEED v4 Homes and Multifamily Workbook Sample
LEED for Homes: International market update
Summary of Changes: LEED 2008 to v4 — Homes and Midrise