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LEED Green Building Rating System Shows Strong Growth

By Nadine M. Post

This article first appeared on ENR.

December 05, 2013

The 20-year-old  U.S. Green Building Council, which launched its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system in 2000, estimates that more than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED-certified buildings. There are more than 59,000 commercial LEED-registered and -certified projects globally, says the USGBC. And there are 10.6 billion sq ft of LEED-registered and -certified projects in the U.S. alone.

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USGBC currently has 77 chapters and 13,000 member companies and organizations. About 40% of LEED-registered projects are outside the U.S. There are World Green Building Council organizations in more than 80 nations.

These and myriad other facts and figures about the USGBC's green building movement and its popular rating system are available in three reports released this year by the USGBC, called "LEED in Motion." One report focuses on people and progress, the other on places and policies, and the most recent on impacts and innovation.

Each 32-page report builds a strong case for the global and growing impact of LEED. “LEED projects are responsible for diverting over 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and, compared to the average commercial building, LEED Gold buildings in the U.S. General Services Administration’s portfolio consume a quarter less energy and generate 34% lower greenhouse-gas emissions,” says "LEED in Motion: Impacts and Innovation."

In 1993, David Gottfried, Mike Italiano and Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC’s president, CEO and founding chairman, respectively, restarted the group with a goal “to promote sustainability in the building and construction industry.”

Gottfried—currently CEO of a green-product consortium called Regenerative Network and a company called Regenerative Ventures, which is devoted to advancing green-building profitability—was the mastermind behind LEED, which has been adopted in 140 countries.

LEED projects can be certified LEED Silver, LEED Gold and LEED Platinum, depending on the number of credits accrued for green features. The USGBC just launched the fourth version of LEED last month.

Credits for optimizing energy performance appear to be the most widely earned, according to the report. Of the 1,875 LEED New Construction projects in 2009, 98% optimized energy performance, 95% used low-emitting materials in paints and coatings, and 92% implemented a construction indoor-air-quality management plan. For LEED for Existing Buildings, 87% optimized energy performance.

The report also indicates there are 186,476 LEED professionals, defined as having some kind of proficiency in LEED. Of these, 28,905 are architects. California has the most LEED professionals, with 11,881.

The USGBC is relentless in its pursuit of green-building market transformation and the report sums it all up. In his foreword, Fedrizzi says, “We hope that this snapshot of the green building movement provides you with statistics and numbers that bring into sharp focus the size and scope of our important mission.”



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