- The U.S. Green Building Council announced Thursday that it will commit to scaling green buildings to more than five billion square feet over the next five years through the LEED and EDGE green building rating systems. The USGBC made its announcement during Buildings Day, an event at the COP21 climate conference in Paris.
- The USGBC and 25 other international Green Building Councils made commitments during COP21 to support sustainability of buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to limit global warming to 2 degrees. Buildings account for one-third of global emissions, according to the USGBC, and green buildings are cost-effective solutions to climate change.
- LEED is the world's most widely used green building rating system, and LEED projects can be found in more than 150 countries. EDGE is a green building certification system for new residential and commercial buildings in developing countries.
"As we gather around the imperatives to address climate change at COP21, we know that buildings must continue to be a key focus area for countries to reach carbon emissions reduction goals," USGBC President Roger Platt said in a statement. "By encouraging the use of green building rating systems like LEED and EDGE in both the public and private sectors, countries can log immediate and measurable reductions of these emissions as their building stock uses less energy and water, creates less waste, saves money and creates a healthier environment for everyone."
The USGBC has declared several areas of focus and its commitment to each, including green certified buildings, workforce capacity, finance, government policy and strategy, and measurement and accountability. Read the full descriptions of the plans for each area here.
The building industry has been experiencing a measurable change in mindset around green building and sustainability. According to Dodge Data & Analytics' World Green Building Trends 2016 report, green building is doubling every three years. In addition, The Urban Land Institute’s Greenprint Center for Building Performance’s sixth annual Greenprint Performance Report, found that real estate property management firms are significantly reducing their properties' energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
And in advance of the COP21 conference, 54 building and real estate companies — including international construction giant Skanska, software company Autodesk and engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti — signed on to the Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration, which urges policymakers to seize one of the "greatest economic opportunities of the 21st Century" in tackling climate change,.