LEEDing the Way: A Billion Square Feet of Green Buildings

The Observer is constantly buffetted with press releases about the latest LEED-certified apartment building/restaurant/hair salon/dog kennel. On the one hand, it is great news that “green” design has become so mainstream, even if it is as much a marketing scheme as an earth-saving one. On the other hand, though, there are so many releases, and LEED is so mainstream now, that such certified projects stopped being news a few years ago.

That said, a release just hit the inbox that could not be ignored: The U.S. Green Building Council–which came up with the whole green-is-good, let’s-standardize-and-certify LEED program–just announced that 1 billion square feet of buildings, many of them in the United States, have now been certified. Given that the program is just celebrating its 10th anniversary, that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.

And yet we still have an incredibly long way to go. New York City has 5 billion square feet alone. Add to that the rest of the nation, to say nothing of the world, and it’s hard not to wonder if we’ll ever get our carbon output under control.

“This traction demonstrates the transformation of the way we design, build and operate buildings,” Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the USGBC said in a release. “Not only does green building contribute to saving energy, water and money, it also creates green jobs that will grow and energize our economy.”

Considering some experts insist buildings account for up to half of all carbon emissions, this is something we must get under control. Hopefully, there’s enough time for that.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo LEEDing the Way: A Billion Square Feet of Green Buildings