Home Technology and
LEED: A Guide.
In light of increased consumer demand for green building certifications for homes, design and build professionals and electronic systems integrators (ESIs) have an unprecedented opportunity to support their clients' goals for sustainable living.
The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is among the most widely recognized standards for green building, and the LEED for Homes Rating System offers a detailed breakdown of essential practices for reducing a home's environmental impact. Partnering with an ESC early in the planning process offers numerous opportunities to contribute to a project's total points in the LEED Rating System while providing a more sustainable lifestyle for the homeowner.
Below are just a few ways in which home technology can support project goals in specific categories of the LEED for Homes Rating System.
Innovation & Design Process (ID)
Strategies for reducing the impact of audio-visual systems include selecting energy-efficient components, incorporating devices for control of parasitic power, and programming systems to shut off components when not in use.
Monitoring systems integrated with HVAC systems as well as perimeter, motion and smoke/heat sensors can detect leaks, helping to save money, reduce consumption and protect property. In addition, monitoring systems can provide instantaneous, actionable feedback on both system performance and resource consumption. Reports and recommendations based on this feedback allow for ongoing system optimization.
Water Efficiency (WE)
Irrigation, Pool & Spa Control
Smart sensing and control can decrease water and energy use, reducing costs and increasing the life of components due to more efficient tasking.
Energy & Atmosphere (EA)
ESCs can develop a control system that has the potential to influence overall energy performance, thereby contributing to a project's total points. Home Automation and control can influence the performance of HVAC equipment, water heating equipment, appliances and other systems.
Lighting control applications such as dimming capabilities and remote access and control help occupants reduce their usage of lighting systems. Additionally, when integrated with occupancy sensors and solar irradiation sensors, lighting can be automated to reduce energy consumption and cost while increasing the life expectancy of bulbs.
ESCs can offer services such as programmable thermostats, remote access and control of HVAC systems, time-based temperature parameter settings and occupancy sensing to help manage utility consumption and extend the life of components. Systems can also be designed to capture and re-use heat generated by components through the use of energy recovery ventilators (ERVs).
Motorized Window Treatments
When integrated with lighting control, HVAC systems and solar irradiation sensors, window treatments can be automated to offer daylight harvesting and heat mitigation functions, reducing the need for artificial lighting and heating.
Renewable Energies (Solar, Wind, Etc.)
ESCs can offer installation or integration services for renewable energy technologies, including solar photovoltaic, wind turbines and fuel/power cells.
Materials & Resources
Choosing & Procuring Products
ESCs can help guide homeowners toward products with reduced environmental impact by considering such factors as:
- Compliance with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and the Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive
- Local sourcing to decrease delivery distance
- Energy Star and other certifications
- Low- or no-VOC and non-toxic components
Project Execution Practices
ESCs can contribute to sustainability through efficiency- minded jobsite practices such as reusing existing infrastructure where possible and recycling packing materials and used components.
Awareness & Education (AE)
Educating the homeowner, tenant and/or building manager on control systems is required for LEED certification, along with training on all the other systems and equipment in the home. By participating in delivering training or developing training materials, ESCs can contribute to this segment of the rating system while ensuring the occupant knows how to get the most out of the energy-saving components of their home.
Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)
Indoor air quality sensors and monitoring devices can be integrated to provide feedback on indoor air quality.