China tops list as demand for sustainable buildings outside of the US continues to drive LEED, green construction
India ranks third on the US Green Building Council’s annual ranking of the top 10 countries for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings.
The top 10 list highlights countries outside of the US that are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and market transformation. These countries represent the ever-growing international demand for LEED-certified green buildings.
This year, China moved from second to first on the list as the largest user of LEED, with 34.62 million gross square meters (GSM) of certified LEED space. Canada, India, Brazil and the Republic of Korea rounded out the top five countries on the list, respectively.
“By recognising these leading countries, we are showcasing the exponential growth of LEED in the global marketplace and an international commitment to the creation of a sustainable built environment,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “As we pursue a worldwide effort to mitigate climate change, LEED and the green building industry have created a path forward for market transformation while changing the way we think about how buildings, communities and cities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated.”
Global green building is expected to double every three years, according to a Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, to which USGBC was a contributing partner. Conducted in 70 countries, the report found that emerging economies like China, India and Brazil will be engines of green growth, with development varying from two-fold to six-fold over current green building levels. Increased consumer demand has also pushed the world’s green building market to a trillion-dollar industry, a surge that has led to a corresponding increase in the scope and size of the green building materials market, which is expected to reach $234 billion by 2019.
The analysis used to develop the list ranks countries in terms of cumulative LEED-certified GSM space as of December 2016. LEED-certified spaces use fewer energy and water resources; save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and prioritise environmental and human health.
Currently, there are more than 82,000 commercial projects participating in LEED, totalling more than 1.4 billion GSM of space worldwide. An additional 112,000 residential units have been certified under LEED Homes. An estimated 170,000 GSM of space achieves LEED certification every day in more than 162 countries and territories across the globe.
As buildings currently account for an estimated one-third of global emissions, green buildings are one of the most cost-effective solutions to climate change because they generate significant environmental, economic and societal benefits. Last year, USGBC joined 25 other green building councils from around the world to commit to scaling the use of LEED over the next five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that the building and construction industry plays its part in limiting global warming. USGBC is working toward a net zero carbon designation to recognise leaders in the building sector, and to drive reductions in the carbon footprint across the buildings sector as is necessary for successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. All of the countries on this list, with the exception of Taiwan, have signed the historical Paris Agreement.
USGBC’s list of Top 10 Countries for LEED Green Building
*Gross square meters are reported in millions. Data reported as of December 2016.
**The US, where LEED originated, is not included in this list, but remains the world’s largest market for LEED.