So what is LEED? In a nutshell, LEED is a certification developed by the United States Green Building Council that rates the energy efficiency and environmental design of a structure. It takes into account everything from construction to water usage and incorporates the entire lifecycle of a building from design to future upgrade-ability or retrofitting. For a more in-depth, official definition of LEED certification, visit www.usgbc.org.
When you purchase a home in a LEED certified building, it is almost certain that your energy bills will be reduced, saving you money month-to-month. However, because upfront construction costs of LEED structures are typically higher, those extra expenses may be passed on to the buyer in the purchase price.
It reminds of a similar situation faced in the automotive industry when hybrid (gas electric) versions of vehicles started hitting the market. People had to pay a premium upfront for the hybrid engine, but it saved owners quite a lot at the pump and in tax breaks overtime. So, the question is: In a tough economy are home buyers willing to put up the cash in the beginning to purchase a green home? Even when they know they’ll reap the benefits in cost-savings later on?