In 2009, the U.S. Green Building Council's residential arm will focus on the expansion of its marketing and educational outreach efforts. "The message is not LEED; it's why to go green and how to go green," says Nate Kredich, USGBC's vice president of residential market development.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit firm plans to work with 20 to 25 local homebuilder associations across the country to spread the green message, as well as collaborate with local green homebuilding programs. The organization has successfully rolled out one such initiative in New Mexico and is in works to develop another in Texas. Also in the first quarter of '09, USGBC expects to offer training courses to certify housing industry members as LEED for Homes accredited professionals.

These planned efforts follow a successful 2008 for the USGBC. Since January 2008, 1,028 homes (not including those in the test-pilot program) have received LEED for Homes certification with an additional 3,261 homes registered and awaiting certification. Notably, 45 percent of the certified units, which includes both single-family and multifamily homes, are affordable. USGBC also launched its REGREEN initiative, which includes guidelines for greening renovation projects. These guidelines are available for free download online.

While sustainable development is clearly catching the attention of all building sectors, USGBC notes a growing interest from the multifamily sector. "Multifamily is a market that knows LEED already as they have participated in the new construction program," Kredich says. "They are starting to look at LEED for Homes as another option." Earlier this year, the company launched a new mid-rise test pilot initiative. The program will certify four- to six-story buildings that previously received certification under the LEED for Homes initiative.

LEED for Homes Heavy Hitters
Top 5 states with LEED registered homes Top 5 states with LEED certified homes
California California
New Mexico Oregon
Massachusetts Michigan
Maryland New York
Mississippi Maine

LEED for Homes Certification Levels
Certified 24%
Silver 40%
Gold 22%
Platinum 15%