What it Means to be Living Green

The green movement among homeowners is growing stronger and stronger with each passing year and many upcoming buyers want to do more than just buy energy saving lightbulbs. Besides location and lifestyle options, buyers are showing an expressed interest in sustainable and environmentally conscience properties. Knowing where to start and what to look out for can feel daunting but if you are looking to buy or build a green home, here are a few certifications that are worth knowing about to guide you in the right direction towards a sustainable, eco-friendly and energy efficient home.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED Certified)

LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient, use less water and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and typically save homeowners money in utility costs. This certification says a lot about your awareness about the environment and desire to live a sustainable lifestyle. A LEED certified home is required to meet a strict set of standards in each of these 8 categories: Innovation and design, location and transportation, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, awareness and education. Meeting and exceeding all the marks in each category is tough in itself plus each home is evaluated on a point system to showcase its level of sustainability. Based on those points a home can be certified as Bronze (40-49 points), Silver (50-59), Gold (60-79 points) or Platinum (80+ points).  

Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) Certified 

Florida's climate, weather and terrain truly separates how a home should be built in the sunshine state verses elsewhere in the country. A FGBC certified home means the home and the builder has applied the industry’s best practices for sustainable, green construction in Florida. This certification proves a home was constructed beyond minimum building requirements with independent third-party experts examining the project to ensure the property will perform in 6 specific categories: energy performance, water conservation, site conditions, healthier home, materials and disaster mitigation. FGBC applies a point system to their certification process where all homes must achieve an 80 point minimum and completed homes can receive a Bronze (0-30 points over project minimum), Silver (31-60 points over project minimum), Gold (61-90 points over project minimum) or Platinum (91+ points over project minimum) certification. Existing homes can be updated and redone to be more sustainable, and those that meet the FGBC requirements (and achieve 100+ points) can be Green Remodeled Certified.

Energy Star Certified Home

Just as you can purchase ENERGY STAR appliances and products, you can now receive the same blue seal of energy approval for your entire home. ENERGY STAR certified homes are crafted and designed as an ecosystem of energy efficiency systems and features working harmoniously to perform better and reduce utility costs. Each ENERGY STAR certified home is put through the ringer via an independent inspection and testing process, and when approved homes are deemed to provide high-efficiency cooling and heating, a complete thermal enclosure system, water protection system and efficient lighting and appliances. When compared to typical new constructions, ENERGY STAR certified homes use an average of 15%-30% less energy.

Where to find green homes?

Homes utilizing these certifications pop up for sale periodically in the Sarasota market, but typically homeowners will work with a local certified green builder and custom build their property. Lakewood Ranch has been labeled as one of the largest green communities in America since 2005 and as a result of this, all their homes meet the Florida Green Building Coalition's Green Home Standard. Newer and existing communities throughout Lakewood Ranch are producing a quantity of green homes ready for sale. For suggestions on local green builders and communities or to see which green homes are currently on the market, contact us directly at 941.822.0708 or [email protected]

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