From: Andrea Ward , BuildingGreen, More from this Affiliate
Published March 26, 2009 10:50 AM

LEED Projects Doubled in 2008

If you use LEED numbers as a gauge, 2008 was a success for green building. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) confirmed that numbers of both LEED-registered and LEED-certified projects doubled in 2008—from about 10,000 registered projects at the end of 2007 up to more than 20,000 by the end of January 2009, while square footage of LEED-certified construction rose 92%, from 148 million to 284 million square feet.

USGBC is optimistic that the growth in LEED projects will continue in spite of the recent economic upheaval. “We’re feeling confident that this truly represents a shift in the market,” said Rachel Gutter, senior manager for the education sector at USGBC. Gutter noted that despite, or even because of, the slowdown in new construction, property owners are looking for ways to upgrade existing facilities.

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With the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance program recently revamped and the launch of a LEED portfolio program on the horizon in late 2009, USGBC is ready to manage a surge in greening existing facilities, Gutter said. “We could double registration overnight if a few key retailers signed on” to the portfolio program, she said.

It remains to be seen whether USGBC will meet its goal, announced at the 2006 Greenbuild conference, of 100,000 LEED-certified commercial buildings and one million certified homes by 2010 (see EBN Dec. 2006). “Like many goals dealing with climate change, it’s an ambitious one,” Gutter acknowledged, “but not out of reach.”

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