LEED vs. Green Point Rated
For those of you don’t know, Green Point Rated is the predominant non-LEED based green home rating system in California. While, LEED is easily the most recognized green rating system for commercial buildings, the penetration of LEED into the residential market in California is moderate at best. The main reasons why LEED is not more prevalent in California is because of three main issues. The first is cost, where LEED costs approx. $10,000 and up, for single-family residential house, Green Point Rated costs approximately $2000(Both of these numbers include the fees and paying a rater to rate the home). Obviously many people cannot afford to add $10,000 onto the cost of their new home price tag. The second is that LEED for homes is only for new custom residential construction, whereas Green Point Rated allows rating of new homes as well as remodels of existing homes. And lastly, Green Point Rated has a much lower threshold for minimum qualifications to get Green Point Rated, whereas LEED for homes has 17 different requirements for rating with such a high stringency or requirements for minimum rating thresholds that most houses, even custom homes, rarely meet these minimum qualifications and therefore do not qualify for certification by LEED.
As a builder. I am much more inclined to ask my homeowner to get their home GPR certified and spend the extra $8K on improving the quality of the insulation, installing a larger PV system or a Solar Hot water system. While it is great to have a LEED rated Home on my palmares, their $8000 would be better put to use, increasing the quality of their insulation, say from blown in cellulose to close cell polyurethane foam, which will dramatically increase the efficiency of the project and result in a positive savings on their heating and cooling bills, forever. LEED has bragging rights, but that is about it.