This test home shows the Credit-by-Credit scoring tool in action. As the user answers questions and enters various data, the system keeps track of the project's projected LEED certification level on the right-hand side. It also indicates when prerequisites and point floors are met; pop-up prompts and information help guide decisions and avoid mistakes. 
This test home shows the Credit-by-Credit scoring tool in action. As the user answers questions and enters various data, the system keeps track of the project's projected LEED certification level on the right-hand side. It also indicates when prerequisites and point floors are met; pop-up prompts and information help guide decisions and avoid mistakes. 

Feb. 28 –The USGBC today announced the launch of the LEED for Homes Self Scoring Tool, an online service that pros can use to tally an estimated LEED certification score for their residential projects. Now users can experiment with various design and product options and immediately identify how those decisions impact a LEED rating, see how close projects are to various certification levels, and gain a better understanding of the program overall. “We wanted to put something in the marketplace that would allow builders to explore LEED for Homes at their own pace,” says Nate Kredich, vice president of residential market development for USGBC. “[The scoring tool] takes the rating system and makes it easy to understand, navigable, and accessible.”

The Self Scoring Tool features two usage levels. The more in-depth Credit-by-Credit option walks through the entire rating system, adding up a project’s points as the user answers yes/no questions and inputs various data. A progress bar shows how close a project is to the next certification level, and the system outlines prerequisites and identifies when various point floors have been met.

“Providing real-time feedback is something we wanted to do because it takes some of the guesswork out of the process and makes it feel more accessible,” Kredich says.

For those who just want to dip their toe in the water, the “Quick Score” level guides the pro through 15 to 20 questions for a quick assessment of where a project might fall.

Though the points output from both scoring paths is just an estimate (builders still need to go through an accredited rater to get an official, final score and subsequent certificate), the online system allows experienced pros to experiment with various scenarios while providing LEED rookies with a learning tool to better understand the points system and its requirements.

“Builders are often closer than they think to LEED,” Kredich says. “We want to make sure they have the tools to understand this and close the gap.”

The Self Scoring Tool is free, but registration is required; projects can be saved to the system for future reference.

Access the online scoring tool at www.leedforhomes.org.

Katy Tomasulo is deputy editor for EcoHome.