Green Home Certifications

Third Party Certification Name Rating Description

(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and LEED for Homes (LEED-H)

Created by the US Green Building Council, it covers a broad spectrum of efficiencies each of 8 areas in LEED for Homes are given a score which sum up to the LEED Rating. At 45 points the property is Certified. At 60 points the certification is given the designation of "Silver". At 75 points "Gold" and 90 points "Platinum" with total possible points of 136. LEED for Commercial uses the same principal with some differences in the areas rated and the scale of possible scores.


To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.

(Home Energy Rating System)

The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in which a home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home (based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code) scores a HERS Index of 100, while a net zero energy home scores a HERS Index of 0. The lower a home's HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the HERS Reference Home.

Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home. Thus a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more energy efficient.

National Green Building Standard (NGBS)

Created by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), it is much like LEED-H, 7 categories are tested and given a numeric score. This score is summed for a total rating value and a performance point level of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Emerald is given.

Enterprise Green

Enterprise Green Communities provides resources and expertise to enable developers to build and rehabilitate homes that are healthier, more energy efficient and better for the environment -- without compromising affordability. Green Communities also assists state and local governments to ensure their housing and economic development policies are smart and sustainable.

Living Building Challenge

Is a program launched and operated by the Cascadia Region Green Building Council and goes beyond the LEED standard by the US Green Building Council. A building, neighborhood, renovation, or infrastructure (non-conditioned space) which meets this rigorous green building standard must achieve all corresponding prerequisites or imperatives (no point system).

Local Programs

Many local communities have Green Building Guidelines that have been established by their local building professionals. In some communities they are the primary designation of Green Homes rather than utilizing one of the national programs above. Check with your local Contractors Association to see which local, regional, or state programs are most appropriate for your MLS.

Additional Noteworthy Programs
EPA Water Sense

EPA Indoor airPLUS
Other The Housing + Transportation (H+Tsm) Affordability Index ( is an innovative tool that provides a better measure of affordability by revealing the transportation costs associated with a home's location. Developed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology [], the H+T Affordability Index site provides maps, charts, and statistics at the neighborhood and regional levels, with additional information on auto ownership, transit use, housing density and other community characteristics.


Walkscore ( allows you to enter an address and then it creates a score from 1 to 100 (best) of your location based on the number of things you can walk to (transit, grocery stores, parks, libraries, restaurants etc. 13 in all).

GAPScore ( is tool to assist in assessing a home's green potential.


Please note this list is not all inclusive and individual rating programs should be checked periodically as their criteria and requirements change over time.