It’s great to see home-owners building certified-green homes, equipped with all kinds of eco-features, including energy efficient outdoor lighting.

The US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) certification program has recently introduced LEED for Homes. Although there are all kinds of local and regional green home certification programs throughout the country, LEED is the most widely recognized and rigorously enforced, so it’s best choice if you’re looking for verifiable results.

And they leave no stone unturned in their points rating system. The program covers several main areas:

  • Innovation and design process
  • Location and linkages
  • Sustainable sites
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Materials and resources
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Awareness and education

Seem like a lot? Well, you don’t have to get top marks in every category in order to get your home certified. You need between 45 and 136 total points across the spectrum of categories, the total of which will qualify your home for either Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification. Points are awarded for things like air filtration systems, contaminant controls, FSC-certified wood, construction waste management, high-efficiency water fixtures and fittings, water reuse systems, pest control and eco-friendly landscaping, and overall knowledge of LEED by the people on the project.

It’s a great way to measure your home’s greenness while giving you bragging rights. And though these homes may cost a little more up front (not always!), they will definitely save you money over the long-haul, since they use less water, electricity, and energy for heating and cooling.

Bernadell Larson and Stu Thompson built a home on the North Fork of the Guadalupe River, and they went for LEED certification. The design called for all sorts of green improvements, like a sophisticated rainwater collection and storage system that’ll hold as much as 15,000 gallons of water. They’ve also included marmoleum (true linoleum) and cork for flooring, low-VOC paints and seals, super efficient insulation, low-energy heating and cooling systems, and much more.

And their outdoor space is part of the green plan, too. They’ve ensured that all fixtures are highly efficient, choosing to use LED bulbs and opting for Dark Sky Compliant fixtures, too. Let’s hope their new home inspires others in their neighborhood to follow their LEED…