By Derek Newberry, Advocacy Fellow
USGBC National recently contributed to UN Habitat's Building Sustainability Assessment and Benchmarking report. This report covers the impacts of buildings on the environment, especially in regards to climate emissions, discusses the benefits of benchmarking through systems such as LEED, and the political, social, and economic factors impacting the development of building sustainability around the world. Successfully reducing emissions from and creating accurate assessment tools for the built environment will be critical in achieving international climate change mitigation agreements including the Paris Agreement
USGBC has worked diligently to expand LEED awareness and advocate for a safer and cleaner world. At the end of 2016, USGBC released a list of the top countries and regions with total LEED certification outside of the US. This showed that outside of North America, China and Southeast Asia have the most LEED projects followed by Europe, Russia, and Latin America. Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia have the next most and leed certified space and Sub-Saharan African, Australia and Oceania make up the rear. China recently surpassed an impressive milestone by certifying over 1,000 LEED buildings and continues to build more. Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC and GBCI recently expressed the impressive impact of LEED around the globe and the ever growing number of opportunities for climate change mitigation and sustainable building.
Overall, USGBC continues to promote and advocate for LEED and sustainable building practices at a global level. It supports the UN Habitat’s mission and believes in expanding equitable sustainability throughout communities and societies around the world. Taking a more holistic approach in the over 160 countries with LEED will not only accelerate progress on initiatives like net zero buildings, carbon pricing policies, and climate adaptation, but it will further global understanding of environmental protection and understanding for such policies' lifelong benefits.