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LEED certification and economic benefits

Does anyone here have LEED certification experience and would you be willing to offer some advice?

I would like to reinforce the need or sometimes argue the economic benefit of a LEED certification on building projects, and now that the economy is causing big economic cutbacks, I was hoping to find some people with LEED experience, who could offer argument points as to how getting accredidation economically benefits your future building.

I know it can cutback on energy expenditure, which means money to a businessman. But Im pretty limited in my list of financial benefits it can produce.

ALSO, if you are interested in architectural topics, I offered a suggestion in the SUGGESTIONS forum : .

It needs a showing of interest to become a topic, so please show it if you think you would contribute or benefit.
My father is LEED certified (along with a bunch of other similar things) but he is an auditor rather than a builder. The biggest advantage for him is that people want a green house: for the tax credits, lower energy bills, and to feel better about driving their SUV's 10 miles to work by themselves. I believe homeowners can actually deduct 30% (up to a certain limit) of some green products like heat pumps and PV cells, but I don't know if that is LEED for new homes, or one of several other programs.

Basically, people who have money to spend will want to get the biggest bang for their buck, that is the tax deductions and low energy bills. If you can offer these and your competitors can't you will get more business. You will have to change the way you build though. You will probably move to vented attics with polyisocyanurate (foam) insulation in the walls instead of fiberglass (cost is higher, but labor is lower), Energy Star appliances, Low e windows, and generally a tighter house.

The disadvantage is that you will be at the mercy of the rater (I don't know how this works if the builder is certified, but I assume it is similar). They auditor will inspect the initial design, and give recommendations. Then they will do a pre-drywall inspection to make sure the house is sealed up to that point. Once the house is finished, a final inspection will take place. This includes a blower-door test, which is a fan which depressurizes the house and checks for leaks. If all these things pass, then the house will be LEED certified, if not, then the problems have to be fixed-- and this is usually at the same time the homeowner wants to move in.

If your workers are doing what they are supposed to do, there should be no problems, but if you build crappy houses don't expect to pass.

Good luck on your decision.
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