Nearly 100 net zero certifications have been earned under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Zero program, representing more than 23 million square feet of space. One-fourth of these LEED Zero projects earned multiple certifications, demonstrating achievement of net zero goals in several categories.
A complement to LEED certification, LEED Zero provides a clear, data-driven path to recognizing net-zero goals and signals market leadership in the built environment. In 2018, the first year LEED Zero was released, certifications were earned in every category, with one project earning certification in all four categories.
“Operating our buildings at net zero, combined with a solid green building strategy, is a cost-effective solution to tackling the climate crisis,” explained Peter Templeton, USGBC’s interim president & CEO. “Reducing the carbon emissions of buildings is a critical part of the solving the climate puzzle. We will continue to work together with building owners and partners from all sectors to ensure that we meet net zero goals.”
LEED Zero energy certification is awarded to net zero energy buildings and communities that generate as much energy as they use over the course of the year. LEED Zero Carbon recognizes net zero carbon emissions from energy consumption through carbon emissions avoided or offset over one year. LEED Zero Water recognizes a potable water use balance of zero over one year. LEED Zero Waste recognizes buildings that achieve GBCI’s TRUE certification at the Platinum level.
Buildings account for nearly 40% of all carbon emissions, and according to a 2020 UN report, buildings must reduce at least 50% of their carbon emissions by 2030 to achieve net zero by 2050. Organizations, cities, and countries around the globe are now monitoring their outputs and committing to carbon emissions reductions as well as net zero emissions.
In an effort to bring more awareness to the building sector’s contribution to carbon emissions, USGBC is currently taking part in Net Zero Buildings Week, joining the New Buildings Institute and other building industry partners to highlight the benefits of net zero buildings for a clean energy future.
USGBC Honors Green Buildings Leadership
Earlier this month, USGBC announced the recipients of its 2022 USGBC Leadership Awards. The annual awards recognize leadership and commitment to the green building industry and spotlight exemplary work that has been influential in the expansion of sustainable, higher-performing buildings.
“USGBC’s mission relies on the commitment of its members and the broader green building community,” said Templeton. “The USGBC Leadership Awards are an opportunity to spotlight those who have gone above and beyond and are paving the way for the next chapter in green building. Through their incredible work and dedication, this year’s award recipients show us how we can create more sustainable buildings and communities with every LEED project.”
The following six individuals and organizations have demonstrated vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of the green building industry:
- Marriott International is being recognized as a global hospitality industry powerhouse in environmental stewardship and has set the bar for treating both people and the planet with regenerative respect and care. With over 300 registered and certified hotels and resorts in more than 65 countries and territories around the world, Marriott International is the largest LEED user within the global hospitality sector.
- Prologis, a global leader in logistics real estate, has a strong track record of environmental stewardship, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. The company has a long history of designing and developing LEED buildings all over the world and was the first to launch the LEED v4 for Core and Shell Volume Program for the U.S. logistics real estate sector. It was also the first logistics real estate company to have an approved science-based target (SBT) and is enabling the net-zero journey for its customers by integrating supply chain decarbonization solutions and developing buildings with sustainable features.
- LEED Fellow and executive director for the Institute for the Built Environment, Brian Dunbar is dedicated to teaching, mentoring, and living the values of sustainability, creating a legacy of passion for LEED and for the environment and sustainability. Brian created a graduate program in Sustainable Building at Colorado State University and has taught thousands of aspiring sustainable designers and builders at CSU, across the nation as USGBC faculty, as well as in Costa Rica, Brazil, Canada, and Australia. Brian’s campus-based institute has served as a thought-leadership pipeline to ensure that the values of “People, Place, and Potential” remain at the forefront of the global movement.
Recipient of the Mayor Richard M. Daley Legacy Award for Global Leadership
- Washington, DC became the first certified LEED Platinum City in the world in 2017, has implemented a LEED building policy mandate for public and private new construction. The nation’s capital also adopted the 2020 District of Columbia energy conservation code which embraced pathways to net-zero buildings for both commercial and residential construction, adopted the Sustainable DC Plan, committing the District of Columbia to sending zero waste to landfills and reducing waste generated by 15% by 2032.
Recipient of the Kate Hurst USGBC Leadership Award
- Through her leadership role at the World Green Building Council, Cristina Gamboa oversees a global action network of 70 green building councils and their 36,000+ members. The award recognizes her work leading to COP 26 in Glasgow and daily leadership of a globally-focused sustainability organization, serving as a catalyst for international action.
Malcolm Lewis IMPACT! Award Recipient
- The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon program is a transformational industry program that has inspired future generations of sustainability professionals to explore the power and potential of clean energy through building design and performance and to inspire ingenuity and teamwork beyond the walls of the classroom.
The USGBC Leadership Award recipients were honored as part of the USGBC Live conference held last week in Washington, DC.