LEED buildings ‘need to have wider impact’

Buildings that have achieved a LEED rating are making a major impact in reducing the environmental footprint of individual buildings but the scheme is failing to make a significant impact on the wider building sector, a report has concluded.

The Green Building Impact Report, produced by Greener World Media, examined whether green buildings are living up to their name.

The report said that in the eight years since the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system was launched, it has become firmly established in the mainstream building sector.

But it said much more could be done to influence building both in the US and across the world.

The authors said: “Our findings are both encouraging and cautionary. Overall, we believe that LEED buildings are making a major impact in reducing the overall environmental footprint of individual structures.

“However significant additional progress is possible, and indeed necessary – on both the individual building level and in terms of the market penetration if LEED is to contribute in a meaningful way to reducing the environmental footprint of buildings in the US and worldwide.”

The report also concluded that LEED could help to reduce emissions from buildings by 80% from 2000 levels to 1990 levels – and LEED commercial buildings are well on track to achieve this.

However, it added: “The bad news is that the entire building sector must be hitting these reduction targets.

“LEED buildings’ relatively exemplary performance is not helping to make enough of a dent in constraining the growth of the building sector’s CO2 emissions.

“We need much more – and much more quickly – to reduce total emissions.”

Kate Martin

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