LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Homes and building are certified as LEED based on a rating system. This rating system encompasses a broad spectrum of criteria. Everything is considered from the location and size of the building to materials and process used to install them. LEED is also the only green type of certification that requires third party verification.
One of the main advantages to LEED over other certifications is that it begins in the design phase. Before plans are drawn up the owners, architects, builder and key sub contractors like HVAC, plumbing and electrical, meet to discuss the design and ways to make the home more efficient and livable. The synergy created in this type of process produces a home that is very livable, healthy, sustainable, and has less impact on the environment.
The disadvantage is the cost. Third party verification requires hiring a LEED consultant to over see the process. LEED also requires a record keeping and inspections & testing through out the building process. All of this can add eight to ten thousand dollars to the cost of the home.
Although it is expensive LEED is clearly to most comprehensive certification process. With the third party verification, the record keeping and the testing done during the building process LEED far exceeds any other certification process available. Owners who buy or build a LEED certified homes defiantly know what they are getting.