U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the Top 10 Countries for LEED, which highlights nations outside of the United States that are making notable strides in sustainable building design, construction, and market transformation. These countries represent the increasing international demand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green buildings. In the ranking, China moved from second to first on the list as the largest user of LEED with 34.62 million gross square meters (GSM) of certified LEED space. Canada, India, Brazil, and the Republic of Korea rounded out the top five countries on the list, respectively.
“By recognizing these leading countries, we are showcasing the exponential growth of LEED in the global marketplace and an international commitment to the creation of a sustainable built environment,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “As we pursue a worldwide effort to mitigate climate change, LEED and the green building industry have created a path forward for market transformation while changing the way we think about how buildings, communities, and cities are planned, constructed, maintained, and operated."
Global green building is projected to double every three years, according to a Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, to which USGBC was a contributing partner. Conducted in 70 countries, the report found that emerging economies like those in Brazil, China, and India will drive green growth, with development varying from twofold to six times the current green building levels. A rise in consumer demand has also pushed the world's green building market to a trillion-dollar industry, leading to a corresponding increase in the scope and size of the green building materials market, which is expected to reach $234 billion by 2019.
LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The analysis used to develop the list ranks countries in terms of cumulative LEED-certified GSM space as of December 2016. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources; save money for families, businesses, and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and prioritize environmental and human health.
Today, there are more than 82,000 commercial projects participating in LEED, totaling more than 1.4 billion GSM of space worldwide. An additional 112,000 residential units have been certified under LEED Homes. An estimated 170,000 GSM of space achieves LEED certification every day in more than 162 countries and territories worldwide.
As buildings currently account for an estimated one third of global emissions, green buildings are one of the most cost-effective solutions to climate change as they generate significant environmental, economic, and social benefits. Last year, USGBC joined 25 other green building councils from around the world to commit to scaling the use of LEED over the next five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that the building and construction industry contributes to limiting global warming. USGBC is working toward a Net Zero Carbon designation to recognize leaders in the building sector, and to drive reductions in the carbon footprint across the industry as is required for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. All of the countries on this list, except Taiwan, have signed the Agreement.