Green Buildings by the Numbers

Last month USGBC posted Green Buildings by the Numbers, a three-page, bite-size State of the Green Building Union that simply brings together some useful stats.  This palatable little report helps a person wrap their head around the realities and opportunities for green building.  The authors seem to have attempted a sort of realistic optimism with a series of facts and percentages that say ‘there’s been progress in gaining market share for green buildings and buildings stand to make huge gains in the struggle to create a more sustainable human existence, but we’re not there yet.’  Included are a couple of specific statements on the expectations for green building market penetration (see one of the more intriguing quotes below), but the authors shied away from detailing market penetration thus far.

“By 2009, 82% of corporate America is expected to be greening at least 16% of their real estate portfolios; of these corporations, 18% will be greening more than 60% of their real estate portfolios (Source: McGraw Hill Construction (2007).  Greening of Corporate America SmartMarket Report.)”

That being said, one of the best parts of the paper is a chart specifying the total projects registered and certified for each LEED rating system.  These numbers have not always been easy to come by, so it’s good to see it laid out in black and white.  Bottom line: 16,393 registered and 2,150 certified, with the lion’s share in LEED for New Construction.

With this information it’s obvious that, right now, LEED is taking up a much larger percentage of the building industry’s mental square footage in conversations and publications than actual square footage in bricks and mortar.  HOWEVER – and the authors point this out – there are plenty of reasons to be proud of what’s been accomplished and hopeful for more victories to come.  The influence of USGBC is wide-flung with projects in all 50 states and 69 countries; they have over 17,000 member organizations, over 69,000 LEED APs, and their numbers are growing almost exponentially.

Also, because it typically takes 2-3 years to complete the LEED certification process, it’s reasonable to expect that the jump in registrations over the past 24 months will lead to a jump in certification over the next 24 months.  Not to mention, $464 million worth of construction continues to register with LEED every business day.  This isn’t put into context (how many millions of square feet are available to register every day?) but, well, it sounds pretty decent for a market transformation that isn’t meant to happen overnight.

[+] Green Building by the Numbers [USGBC, December 2008 – Word]