The US Green Building Council just reported that the total LEED-certified square footage for existing buildings in the US has officially exceeded the square footage for new construction. This is a milestone for LEED.
The total size of existing commercial buildings in the US has reached 60 billion square feet. In the past, most of these had consumed enormous amounts of energy and water. USGBC, however, has made it a point to curb the exorbitant consumption of existing commercial buildings.
USGBC with its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating and assessment system, has launched the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. Otherwise known as LEED-EBOM, the program was only launched in 2008. Yet, the response of existing commercial building owners and managers has been overwhelming.
In three years, the certifications under LEED-EBOM have caught up with certifications for newly constructed commercial buildings. This month, the total square footage under LEED-EBOM has finally exceeded that under LEED-NC, or certifications under new construction. The difference is around 15 million square feet, as 640 million square feet of certified existing commercial buildings exist, while new construction amounts to 625 million feet.
Around 1.675 billion square feet of all buildings are already LEED-certified. In early 2010, LEED certified buildings have passed the 1 billion mark—and in a little less than a year, the size has almost doubled. By 2012, around 2 billion square feet of buildings is estimated to be LEED-certified. Such is the influential growth of LEED-certified buildings.
A few existing commercial buildings that have been LEED-certified by retrofitting are the Empire State building, the Taipei 101, and the Transamerica Pyramid. Among these three, the Transamerica Pyramid has reached the highest level of LEED-certification with a Platinum status.
What this means is that newly constructed buildings should catch up with existing buildings in terms of LEED certification. For high-grade quality green buildings, Norsteel is the obvious choice.