One of our main focus is preparing for the next 20+ years and sustaining LEED'S explosive growth trajectory, writes Mahesh Ramanujam, President & CEO, USGBC and GBCI
One of our main focus is preparing for the next 20+ years and sustaining LEED’S explosive growth trajectory. So, in the last few years, we have shifted our vision to prepare ourselves for the future, writes Mahesh Ramanujam, President & CEO, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)
More than 20 years ago, the USGBC started as a vision; today, it is an unparalleled community of sustainability-focused and like-minded people responsible for anchoring one of the most important environmental movements of our time. In 2000, the very first LEED green buildings were certified, propelling the multi-billion-dollar global green building industry and spurring explosive growth in energy-efficient, green buildings across the globe.
In 2008, USGBC created GBCI, an independent certification and credentialing organization, to accelerate the mission of USGBC and the adoption of LEED. In 2015, USGBC incorporated GBCI in India and opened an office in Gurgaon, to provide stronger, on-the-ground customer support for regional project teams. This new operational hub better positions GBCI to deliver fullservice onsite certification and verification.
GBCI works with business and government officials to help address and meet the priority needs of a rapidly urbanizing India. Its new office improves India’s access to resources, helping accelerate the greening of the nation’s built environment.
Today, LEED is the most widely used green building rating program in the world, and one of the single most powerful economic development tools for revitalizing and scaling sustainable buildings across the globe. LEED has become a full-scale global movement, with nearly 90,000 registered and certified projects and more than 19.15 billion square feet participating in LEED across 165 countries and territories. Every day, 2.2 million square feet of building space certifies to LEED.
Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As the demand for more sustainable building options increases, green construction is becoming increasingly profitable and desirable within the international construction market.
In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40% of national CO2 emissions and out-consume both the industrial and transportation sectors. But Leed-certified buildings have 34% lower CO2 emissions, consume 25% less energy and 11% less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills.
The market is responding to these cost savings and environmental benefits at a dramatic rate. According to a Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 Smartmarket Report, the global green building sector continues to double every three years, with survey respondents from 70 countries reporting 60% of their projects will be green by 2018.
Green building is cost-effective
• Upfront investment in green building makes properties more valuable, with an average expected increase in value of 4 percent. By virtue of lowered maintenance and energy costs, the return on investment from green building is rapid; green retrofit projects are generally expected to pay for itself in just seven years. • Green buildings reduce day-to-day costs yearover-year. LEED buildings report almost 20% lower maintenance costs than typical commercial buildings, and green building retrofit projects typically decrease operation costs by almost 10% in just one year. • Between 2015 and 2018, Leed-certified buildings in the United States are estimated to have $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in maintenance savings, and $54.2 million in waste savings.