The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced that 3 billion square feet of building space around the world has been Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified. In 2012, McGraw-Hill estimated that green building made up about 30 percent of commercial construction and that it would rise to 48 percent by 2015. The company now estimates that green construction will bring in $248 billion in 2016.
Sourceable reported that the USGBC has now certified 20,000 commercial buildings in the United States. In Canada, 140 LEED projects have been certified in just the first quarter of 2014.
LEED and the job market
Though these figures are impressive, it can be difficult to gauge exactly what effect green construction has on the people and companies using the buildings.
"More than 4.3 million people live and work in LEED buildings," USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi said. "As our numbers continue to gain momentum, the impact is significant – jobs are created, revenue is generated and well-being is prioritized – proving every day that LEED works."
In addition to pointing out the revenue generated by green building, McGraw-Hill discussed the jobs created. Its 2012 report found that construction companies with 50 percent or more environmentally friendly projects were more likely to be looking for experienced new hires. Jobs are also being created by the high demand for green buildings, as specialists are needed to bring these structures into compliance and find ways to use approved materials and practices. Clean Technica analyzed a USGBC report and found that 2.5 million people currently work in LEED-certified buildings.
LEED and the environment
Of those companies with LEED-certified buildings, 30 percent said that they pursued them to cut operating costs. That strategy seems to have worked, as the program's major impacts are visible in the reductions it has made in wasted materials and energy. Clean Technica found that many certified buildings used one-third less energy than the average building. It also reported that 80 million tons of waste were kept from going into landfills thanks to LEED construction projects.
Building with these ideas in mind from the start can save developers money in the long run and allow them to save energy and waste right from the start. This not only helps the environment and the people working in those buildings, it can improve consumer confidence as well. A recent Navigant survey found that consumers feel much more favorably toward companies that implement green practices.