There are a number of third-party energy and sustainability related certifications available for your home. Energy Star and LEED are rather well known. Less common certifications include PassivHaus and Living Building. We adopt elements of these programs that clearly align with today's definition of quality and keep abreast of the programs as they evolve - only a few years ago "Net Zero" was considered an extreme, but by 2020 all new homes in California will generate as much energy as they consume.
Energy Star Homes http://www.energystar.gov/?c=new_homes.hm_index
Energy Star Homes are more efficient in terms of energy and water use than the average home by 15% or more. The 15% or more target is easily achieved with respect to heating and cooling in thoughtforms homes: as we've said many times over, energy efficiency is a core component of quality. And as low-flow water fixtures and LED lighting continue to improve, we expect more clients to pursue this certification. We will make sure you understand your options in any case!
The LEED Certification standard is built around credits in seven areas: location & linkages; sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy & atmosphere; material & resources; indoor environmental quality; and, innovation. Certifications are available at three levels: Silver, Gold; and, Platinum. While LEED has not been widely adopted in the custom building market, many elements of the program have been incorporated into the Massachusetts building code and many production builders in the US are certifying homes through LEED. Because LEED is well-established in the market, because it has a robust continuing education program, and because we are building homes for the future, all thoughtforms Supervisors, Project Managers, and operations staff are LEED accredited.
Read more about our recently completed LEED Platinum pending home.
PassivHaus achieves superior energy efficiency by focusing on super-insulation, air sealing, and ventilation. While we discussed these same elements on our Green Building page, PassivHaus pushes the envelope - some PassivHaus certified homes are heated by a towel warmer in the bathroom!
Living Building Challenge http://living-future.org/
The Living Building Challenge is composed of seven performance areas: Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty. Areas are subdivided into a total of twenty Imperatives, each of which focuses on a specific sphere of influence. This certification is quite rigorous and has not been widely adopted in the market. It has, however, advanced thinking in sustainable design.