By Derek Newberry, Advocacy Fellow
Of all the municipalities in the country, Boston, Massachusetts now ranks 5th in total LEED-certified space. Accumulating an impressive 15.4 million square feet of LEED-certified space in 2016, Boston has established itself as a clear leader in green construction and sustainable design. In addition to the 6 LEED platinum and 18 LEED Gold projects in 2016, Boston now outranks many of the greenest cities in the country including Houston, Denver, and Los Angeles, and has more LEED-certified square footage than Austin, Miami, and San Diego combined.
Boston’s impressive growth mirrors that of Massachusetts and demonstrates the ever-increasing demand for LEED certification. According to recent statistics by the national USGBC, Massachusetts achieved the highest per capita LEED-certified square footage of any state in the country in 2016 at 3.73 sq. ft. per person. USGBC Massachusetts’ executive director Grey Lee also told the Boston Business Journal, “Whether it’s an owner or a consultant or a contractor, you’ve got a lot of people paying attention to this, because the market demands it.” Lee has been a strong advocate of LEED for years and has witnessed its ability to increase value, drive demand, and distinguish property: “LEED is a global brand, and people recognize it as a third-party accountability structure that helps all parties get their game to a better level.”
In addition to the current 2017 advocacy priorities, USGBC Massachusetts continues to advocate for increased LEED certification, training, and awareness and believes in supporting a more sustainable, efficient, and environmentally conscious society. Recent state-level legislation, local and national advocacy efforts, and increasing international competition will continue to drive LEED growth in Boston and many other municipalities around the country. However, buildings in MA still account for 49% of the state’s GHG emissions and consume 50% of all energy used in the state. Clearly, continued implementation of LEED will not only reduce environmental impact, carbon emissions and decrease costs, but it will drastically improve quality of life for generations to come. Yet, Boston's current progress demonstrates a new level of commitment to sustainability and should be celebrated as a sign of future progress. Like our director loves to say, Boston is becoming a “Wicked Green” city, and nothing is going to stop it.