Ever Greener

By Jacob Kriss

Source: U.S. Green Building Council

Source: U.S. Green Building Council

Initially launched in the United States in 2000, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating system has seen rapid uptake. One of the preeminent reasons for LEED’s success was the leadership of the U.S. federal government. With more than 1,500 certified projects to date, the government has remained committed to green building and was an early leader in implementing it. In 2003, the U.S. General Services Administration mandated LEED certification, with a target of LEED Silver for all of its capital building projects. In 2010, it raised this requirement to LEED Gold for all new federal building construction and substantial renovation projects.

Compared to the average commercial building, the LEED Gold buildings in the GSA’s portfolio generally consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, have 19 percent lower maintenance costs, experience 27 percent higher occupant satisfaction, and generate 34 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions. A recent report from the GSA also shows the agency has successfully reduced its energy use by almost 20 percent since 2003 and water use by almost 15 percent since 2007.

The government’s demonstrated success using LEED is reflected in the strong growth in the count of its LEED-certified projects. This count is projected to increase further as the more than 4,000 LEED-registered federal government projects move toward certification and begin to offer their multifaceted benefits to taxpayers nationwide.

—Jacob Kriss is a media specialist for the U.S. Green Building Council.