Athens, Ga., is bragging over what could be the city’s first LEED-certified home. Built last year, the home of Lori Bork Newcomer is causing quite a bit of buzz. In fact, the Athens Banner Herald featured the “green” home, which may earn a platinum LEED designation, the highest possible LEED certification.

The article, which you can read here, breaks down every energy and sustainability measure that has been taken with the home. This includes a high-efficiency heat pump with a energy recovery ventilator, a reflective roof that controls heat gain, and a solar hot water system.

However, the best part of the article is a quote from Newcomer. The woman definitely knows what she is talking about when it comes to energy efficiency. After a LEED inspection, it was determined that some insulation was not properly installed, so Newcomer had the contractor come back out to fix the problem. Here is Newcomer’s quote: “If you spend the extra money to get an efficient system, but your ducts are leaking, it's not going to pay off.”

That quote is what every contractor and every homeowner should know. It’s great to aim for LEED standards and spend the extra money on a multitude of green products, but they don’t mean anything if you don’t have the basic foundation of energy efficiency in check.

You don’t have to be installing solar energy systems to be considered a green contractor. Being green is as easy as making sure your ducts are properly sized and installed correctly.