LEED Impacts & Innovation: A USGBC Report

Fri, 2014-01-24 10:31

As LEED continues to shape the future of sustainable design and operations, it is paramount to illustrate the impact that green buildings have had on the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, and Profit. Recently, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released a report titled LEED in Motion: Impacts and Innovation, which quantifies the impact of green building in addition to outlining the projected impacts of green buildings in the future. Available to USGBC members, the report contains an extensive amount of information, some of which is outlined below.

Number of LEED-Certified Buildings

  • 1,875 LEED for New Construction-certified projects
  • 1,302 LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations + Maintenance-certified projects
  • 2,048 LEED for Commercial Interiors-certified projects
  • 341 LEED for Core and Shell-certified projects

Top Credits by Rating System

LEED for New Construction (v2009)

  • EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance
  • EQc4.2: Low-Emitting Materials – Paints & Coatings
  • EQc3.1: Construction IAQ Management Plan – During Construction

LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations + Maintenance (v2009)

  • EAc1: Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance
  • WEc2: Additional Indoor Plumbing Fixture & Fitting Efficiency
  • EQc3.1: Green Cleaning – High Performance Green Cleaning Program

LEED for Commercial Interiors (v2009)

  • EQ4.2: Low-Emitting Materials – Paints & Coatings
  • EAc1.4: Optimize Energy Performance – Equipment & Appliances
  • EQc4.1: Low-Emitting Materials – Adhesives & Sealants

LEED for Core and Shell (v2009)

  • EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance
  • SSc1: Site Selection
  • SSc4.3: Alternative Transportation – Low-Emitting & Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Energy & Environmental Savings

  • 404 LEED projects achieved an ENERGY STAR score of 85, which is above the Top Performer Level
  • 450 LEED projects had energy use intensity that was 33% lower than the national average
  • 80 million tons of waste from LEED construction projects was diverted from landfills
  • 34% fewer greenhouse gases emitted by LEED Gold buildings in the General Services Administration’s portfolio, compared to the national average for commercial buildings
  • 57% of non-construction waste was diverted from landfills

LEED Impact on Corporations

  • 2.5 million employees are currently working in LEED buildings
  • An estimated 21 million employees will be working in LEED buildings by 2030
  • 58% of green buildings are in business portfolio among American corporations
  • 30% of firms built to green standards in 2012 to lower operating costs

LEED Innovation

  • Between 90% and 95.9% of LEED v2009 projects achieved points for Innovation in Design or Innovation in Operations.
  • Products and strategies resulting from green building
    • Renewable energy innovations (geothermal, renewable energy offsets, solar panels, etc.)
    • LED light bulbs
    • Building automation systems (BAS)
    • Net-zero/net-positive buildings
    • Rainwater harvesting
    • Smart buildings and sensors
    • Waterless urinals and dual-flush water closets
    • Green and white roofs
    • Low and no VOC paints
    • Living roofs and walls
    • Eco-friendly and rapidly renewable materials, like bamboo

Expected Outcomes for LEED v4 Projects

  • Protection and restoration of water resources
  • Protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Enhanced human health and well-being
  • Reversed contributions to climate change
  • Promotion of sustainable and regenerative resource cycles
  • Enhanced community, social equity, environmental justice, and quality of life
  • Building a greener economy

According to the USGBC, the estimated value of green buildings is $248 billion by 2016. USGBC President and CEO, Rick Fedrizzi, has indicated that “[LEED] will continue to serve as a gateway to further advances in the movement to create healthier, high-performing buildings and vibrant, resilient communities.” It will therefore be important to assess the future impacts of green buildings to the health and prosperity of people, the planet, and profit.

We’re excited about the future of LEED, and we hope you are as well! For more information on how you can contribute to the future of LEED or for more information on the impacts of LEED, please visit Everblue’s LEED Certification page, email us at info@everblue.edu, or call us at 800-460-2575.

By Peter J. Bock