Global LEED-certified building stock rises past two billion square feet

July 27, 2012

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced that the total footprint of commercial buildings certified under the Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design (LEED) program surpassed two billion square feet.

According to a release, this milestone was reached on July 26, and the number of energy efficient buildings is likely to increase further, with an expected additional seven billion square feet in the pipeline around the world.

"In communities around the globe, leaders from every sector of the building industry are reinventing their local landscapes with buildings that enliven and bolster the health of our environment, communities and local economies," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair of the USGBC. "The journey to this milestone has energized our economy – funneling $554 billion annually into the U.S. economy alone – and has helped support 7.9 million jobs across the U.S."

This widely recognized program is currently certifying two million square feet of commercial building space each day, according to the release.

Operating in more than 130 countries, the LEED certification method has involved more than 159,000 registered and certified projects, and more are likely to be started in the coming years due to the success of many energy efficient upgrades.

The LEED program is a worldwide effort, and the U.S. is hoping that the transition to more energy efficient buildings will be jumpstarted by one initiative in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Department of Energy designated the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) as the national model for increasing the efficiency of commercial buildings in the U.S. Using the real estate market in the Greater Philadelphia region, the collaborative effort hopes to influence businesses in the area to adopt retrofitting projects.

The collaborative effort is made up of researchers, scientists and businessmen from academia, government, the private sector and energy development companies.

The EEB Hub uses this combined experience and knowledge to launch programs that help both area residents and the energy efficient buildings sector.

The latest is the Sustainability Workshop's Bright Ideas! Summer Pilot Program, which asks 25 households in Philadelphia to replace older lighting systems with new and free LED fixtures. This will help residents save money, while providing the EEB Hub with necessary feedback and research.