Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Green buildings


LEED Certification’s Impact On America By The Numbers

A new report from the US Green Building Council quantifies the significant environmental and economic benefits LEED certification creates across America.

Green buildings create myriad benefits like reduced emissions and energy demand or happier and healthier employees, but those benefits can be hard to quantify, potentially creating skepticism about their bottom-line return on investment.

And that’s exactly what the US Green Building Council (USGBC) sets out to accomplish through LEED in Motion: Impacts and Innovation – quantify exactly how LEED certifications are helping make buildings cleaner and greener while plotting a course for the future of green building.

It’s an important effort, considering 72% of Americans are either unfamiliar with, or have no opinion on LEED certification, but those who do understand the concept approve of it by a 4-to-1 ratio – meaning information is key to success.

Green buildings

Green buildings image via US Green Building Council

Quantifying LEED’s Economic And Environment Impacts

As with many clean tech innovations, when people learn the benefits of sustainable technology demand increases, and Impacts and Innovation provides a powerful set of data points to make a business case for green building.

“Even as LEED is in itself an innovation, it has and will continue to serve as a gateway to further advances in the movement to create healthier, high-performing buildings and vibrant, resilient communities,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC President and CEO. Need proof? Consider the following LEED certifications benefits, by the numbers:

Energy savings

  • $227 million – energy cost savings by Bank of America across their LEED facilities since 2004
  • 1.2 million – megawatt hours of annual energy use saved in Bank of America LEED facilities
  • $350,000 – annual savings in utility expenses for the LEED Platinum Chanin Building in Washington, DC
  • 450 – LEED projects that experienced an energy use intensity one-third lower than the national average
  • 404 – LEED projects with an Energy Star score of 85, above “Top Performer” level 

LEED-certified buildings

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

Environmental savings

  • 80 million – tons of waste LEED construction projects have diverted from landfills
  • 57% – amount of non-construction waste diverted from landfills by LEED buildings
  • 34% – fewer greenhouse gases emitted by LEED Gold buildings in General Services Administration’s portfolio, compared to average commercial building 

LEED’s impact on corporate America

  • 21 million – estimated number of employees who will be working in LEED buildings by 2030
  • 2.5 million – number of employees who currently work in LEED buildings
  • 58% – Amount of green buildings in business portfolios of corporate America
  • 30% – percentage of firms that built green in 2012 to lower operating costs
  • 20 to 1 – return on investment Adobe Systems gained from its headquarters LEED project 

Even Greater Green Building Impacts Ahead

These numbers, while impressive, just begin to scratch the surface of LEED’s potential to save money and the environment. An earlier edition in the LEED in Motion series estimated that green buildings could make up half of all US construction and be worth $248 billion by 2016.

This outlook tracks with other research examining the positive benefits green building could have in specific industry segments. For example, half of all new retail, restaurant, and hotel construction could be green building projects by 2015 and boost values between 7%-11%. In addition, the booming residential green building projects could be worth up to $114 billion by 2016.

Looking ahead to the next generation of green building, the report outlines how LEED v4 projects could help address some of our most pressing challenges like fighting climate change, building a green economy, protecting water resources and ecosystems, and enhancing social equity and environmental justice.

As USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi says in the report’s foreword, “innovation is about collective betterment.” Sounds to me like a great opportunity for the green building industry and corporate America to LEED by example.

Check out our brand new E-Bike Guide. If you're curious about electric bikes, this is the best place to start your e-mobility journey!
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.


You May Also Like


From an attempt to drive an electric vehicle at a higher altitude than any before, to BMW signing a battery deal with CATL from...

Clean Power

A gas-and-electric utility dreams of a decarbonized future for the US with an assist from green hydrogen and long duration energy storage.


Q&A with LA100 Study Lead Jaquelin Cochran For decades, power system planning has optimized costs and efficiency over the experiences of some communities, meaning...

Clean Transport

A new waste recovery scheme could add a tinge of green hydrogen to Wyoming's status as the biggest coal producer in the United States.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.