The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes v2008 rating system is proposed to be updated and balloting on the update will begin on February 3, 2014 (.. yes, version 2008).

Launched in February 2008, LEED for Homes this week certified its 50,000th residential unit. There are also over 82,000 active registered units not yet certified. 

And given that a 2013 CoStar study reported renters nationwide appear willing to pay a 25% rental premium to be in a LEED certified property, it should be expected the investors calculating revenue potential will build more LEED certified apartments in 2014.

LEED for Homes v2008 eligible building types include single family homes, low-rise multi-family (1 to 3 stories), mid-rise multi-family (4 to 6 stories).

Since its launch in 2008, energy codes for residential construction have become more stringent, including as increasingly more local governments adopt the International Energy Conservation Code 2012. LEED v4 (the newest version of LEED for Homes) responds to the increased rigor of energy standards. And USGBC has now announced it aims to update the 2008 version of LEED for Homes.

This update to LEED for Homes v2008 will increase the stringency of the energy prerequisite by roughly 15%, approximately equivalent to the energy performance of ENERGY STAR v3, 15% above IECC 2009 and equivalent to IECC 2012. Projects using LEED for Homes v2008 would need to earn a minimum of 13 points in the Energy & Atmosphere (EA) section for climate zones (CZ) 1-5, or 9.5 points for CZ 6-8. The threshold change would require projects to achieve a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of 70 or lower, or earn the equivalent number of points in the prescriptive path. Currently, over 90% of all certified projects are scoring lower than a HERS 70.

There are no other revisions being balloted. Many will recall there were 2 public comment periods on LEED for Homes v2008 during 2013. The LEED Steering Committee has reviewed and recently approved the update. The USGBC Board of Directors most recently approved the update for member ballot. As with USGBC voting a “consensus body” was formed including from those who signed up to vote.  If you signed up to vote, you will hear from USGBC next week. The ballot for the update to LEED for Homes v2008 will open February 3, 2014.

USGBC publishes quarterly LEED Addenda and Interpretations, some of which are substantive updates, and it may be a valid question, why this update is being done otherwise?  

USGBC says LEED for Homes v2008 is open for new project registrations until June 1, 2015, but .. Be aware, in what may be a further crisis of reliability, this update to the rating system will go into effect for newly registering projects two months after a passing the member ballot.