LEED and Praxis
Praxis's embrace of the values of green building as embodied in the LEED standards began in 2005. The Artyard project in the Santa Fe Railyard would have been the first building in New Mexico to attain a Platinum certification. This distinction was thwarted by the economic downturn in 2008 that delayed completion of this project.
Since then, Praxis designed and built its first Platinum project, the Rothstein/Meckler Residence, which won LEED's highest distinction in 2011. It was followed soon after with a Platinum certification in 2014 for the Summers/Render home.
A scoresheet details the green features of each project that earned points towards their Platinum certifications. It sums up what makes a house a LEED Platinum home.
What is LEED?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, provides the construction industry with a definition of green building design and a means to measure green construction techniques and their effectiveness. The USGBC is the organization responsible for authoring the LEED standards.
As part of this program, the USGBC created a rating system to promote sustainable building practices. There are four levels of certification from highest to lowest: Platinum, Gold, Silver and simple certification.
What LEED offers you, the homeowner
LEED-certified design and construction offers homeowners numerous advantages which can be categorized as savings, value, and well-being.
Savings: The typical household spends about $2,150 a year on residential energy bills. LEED certified homes are built to substantially reduce this annual expenditure through construction techniques that increase energy efficiency, minimize air leakage, and minimize water usage, inside and out. For instance, the following is the average energy savings a homeowner can expect within each level of certification:
1. Up to 30% (for LEED Certified homes)
2. Approximately 30% (for LEED Silver homes)
3. Approximately 48% (for LEED Gold homes)
4. 50-60% (for LEED Platinum homes)
These savings are further enhanced by various government-offered energy tax credits that significantly reduce the upfront costs of high-efficiency systems.
Value: Green homes typically sell at a higher premium than non-certified homes. In one study, consumers ranked green features as their top criteria when shopping for a new home. This often means green homes spend less time on the market and enjoy a higher resale value.
Well being: Residents of LEED-certified homes enjoy interior air quality superior to occupants of homes designed with little or no attention paid to green construction techniques. Ventilation issues are addressed up front to ensure quality of life inside the home is up to current standards. In addition, the LEED homeowner enjoys the satisfaction of knowing their house is designed to minimize stress on the environment. Their new neighbors enjoy these benefits as do all of us living on planet Earth.