The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that three billion square feet of green construction space has earned LEED® certification around the globe, as of April 8.
“This milestone is the result of leaders across our industry making the business and environmental case for healthy, sustainable buildings,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair, USGBC. “More than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED buildings. As our numbers continue to gain momentum, the impact is significant—jobs are created, revenue is generated, and well-being is prioritized—proving every day that LEED works.”
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time: McGraw-Hill estimates that it will comprise half of U.S. construction and be worth up to $248 billion by 2016. LEED is the most widely recognized and used green building program across the globe, with more than 1.7 million square feet of commercial building space LEED certifying each day in more than 140 countries and territories.
In the U.S. alone, buildings account for 41 percent of energy use, 73 percent of electricity consumption, and 38 percent of all CO2 emissions. Globally, buildings use 40 percent of raw materials, or three billion tons annually. LEED is designed to minimize the adverse effects of constructing, operating, and maintaining buildings, while maximizing sustainability and health-related features. By encouraging the careful sourcing and selection of building materials, reducing energy use and waste, conserving water, and ensuring a healthy and safe indoor environment, LEED is being used to optimize building projects in new construction, retrofits, and ongoing building operations across the commercial and residential sectors, as well as neighborhood developments.
“Some of the best-designed and well-maintained buildings of the green movement utilize LEED, which is defined by innovation and imagination,” added Fedrizzi.
Some of the most well-known LEED buildings include The World Bank in Washington, D.C.; the Fifth Avenue Tiffany & Co., the Time Life Building and the Empire State Building in New York, N.Y.; the Merchandise Mart in Chicago; and Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, in Taipei, Taiwan.
Recently certified LEED buildings that helped tip the scales to three billion square feet include the Hilmar Cheese Company’s LEED Platinum Headquarters and Innovation Center. Certified in February 2014, this 55,000-square-foot building in Hilmar, Calif., utilizes daylighting strategies and occupancy sensors and employs solar energy to provide about 25 percent of the overall building energy demand.
Other recent certifications include the LEED Platinum Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore.; Hines’ LEED Gold recertification of the One and Two Shell Plazas in Houston; Jones Lang LaSalle’s LEED Platinum Aon Center in Chicago; and the LEED Gold Kv. Jublet building in Stockholm.