In the 2009 Green Building Market & Impact Report published November 4 by GreenerBuildings.com, it was stated that despite losses faced by most segments of the construction marketplace over the past year, green building activity managed to sustain an impressive growth.
Floor area registered and certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating system was estimated to have increased by over 40 percent compared to last year’s totals, accounting for a cumulative growth total of over seven billion square feet worldwide since LEED was launched in 2000, according to the report.
The annual report, researched and composed by Rob Watson, the “Founding Father of LEED,” assesses the impacts green building has on not only the environment, but the overall building market as well. Although dramatic declines in new U.S. non-residential construction are bound to result in a severe plummet of construction starts, registrations for LEED construction projects in the U.S. are expected to exceed a startling one billion square feet in 2009. Outside the U.S., in regions such as the Middle East, China, India, Germany, and Italy, green building has boomed, with LEED projects reaching nearly 800 million square feet of registered projects.
The following are some of the report’s most critical findings:
- Total water savings from LEED through 2009 is estimated at 15 billion gallons, comprising .5% of annual non-residential water use. But, by 2030, LEED results in nearly 1.3 trillion gallons of saved water, which represent a noteworthy 30% reduction of annual non-residential water use.
- An average of at least 580,000 employees are currently enjoying improved indoor environments in LEED buildings at present. Looking ahead, the “green building workforce” is expected to approach 29 million by 2020, and almost 64 million strong by 2030. The productivity benefits from LEED buildings to date are estimated at $230 million to $450 million. This number is expected to reach between $11 billion and $22 billion by 2020, and $25 billion and $49 billion by 2030.
- An average of over 60% of C&D Waste is diverted from LEED projects, totaling 25 million tons to date and reaching almost 800 million cumulative tons by 2030.
- Growth in LEED for Schools is anticipated to exceed 65%. LEED Retail has not grown as much as expected, in part due to delays in finalizing the update of the Retail Application Guide and project classification issues between the CI and LEED Portfolio programs.
- LEED for Existing Buildings (EB) certified almost 15% more floor area in 2009—over 10 million square feet—than did LEED for New Construction (NC) and added over 65% new floor area, demonstrating a welcome trend toward the green operation of buildings.
By Kristen Kubilus. Kristen can be reached at email@example.com.