To LEED or Not to LEED?
One of the decisions I had to make recently on the Starter Home 2.0 project was whether or not I wanted to pursue LEED for Homes Certification. I'm a strong proponent of sustainable design and the City of Cincinnati offers an extended tax abatement for LEED homes on top what is already in place for new home construction, so it was definitely something I was interested in. The home is designed to incorporate green design features such as 6" walls for increased insulation, large operable windows for daylighting and natural ventilation, and is located on an infill lot in a walkable neighborhood, qualifying it for enough LEED points to achieve LEED Silver without any design changes. The problem is that the administrative costs of involving the mandatory services of a LEED for Homes Green Rater, commissioning, and documentation adds real costs to the project, (which I have had quoted at around $5,000). This cost is somewhat fixed regardless of house size, meaning as the project increases in size and property taxes, it makes more and more sense to seek LEED. However, with the Starter Home 2.0 project being such a small project on a tight budget with a lower property tax base, it was determined that money could be put to better use elsewhere on finish upgrades, appliances, etc. that provide a more tangible benefit to the Millennial Homebuyer.