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New Report Gauges Impact of LEED Buildings

Latest News > Green Building News

Buildings certified under the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design rating system) have saved billions of gallons of water and energy equivalent to burning 1.3 million tons of coal for electricity, but their impact hasn’t been enough to overcome global climate change, states a new report from

The report is intended to be the first comprehensive look at the real and verifiable environmental improvement claimed for LEED-certified buildings. The report, authored by Rob Watson, executive editor of, was released at the annual conference of the U.S. Green Buildings Council.

Although LEED buildings are reducing the environmental impact of individual sites, significantly greater market penetration is needed for green buildings to have a meaningful global impact, the report found.

"Overall, we believe that LEED buildings are making a major impact in reducing the overall environmental footprint of individual structures," Watson said. "However, significant additional progress is possible and indeed necessary on both the individual building level and in terms of market penetration if LEED is to contribute in a meaningful way to reducing the environmental footprint of buildings in the U.S. and worldwide."

Buildings consume about 40% of the world’s energy and contribute approximately one quarter of global greenhouse emissions. In addition to saving water and energy, the report credits LEED buildings with producing millions of dollars in employee productivity gains, avoiding thousands of tons of soil erosion and creating a multibillion dollar market for green building materials used in their construction.

"The question is whether progress is happening at sufficient speed and scale to adequately address our needs for cleaner air and water and a stable global climate," said Executive Editor Joel Makower. "As much as the building sector has made over the past decade, there is much, much more to do. Click here to read more or download the report.