LEED for all in 2020 and beyond

USGBC’s new initiatives support Colorado as a green leader
(Photo: Llfede, Dreamstime.com)

USGBC Colorado is entering a new decade at the top of its game. From its recognition in the Top 10 States for LEED list to implementation of new initiatives, Colorado is already off to the races in the new year and new decade.

We’re No. 1

There are few better indicators of leadership in the green building realm than to be consistently ranked among the Top 10 States for LEED. Colorado has been in the top 10 states for LEED since the list’s inception in 2010. It jumped from sixth place in 2018 to first in 2019, a position it has held only once before in 2011.

The annual ranking is based on the number of LEED-certified square feet of space per person in the previous calendar year. Colorado saw a total of 102 projects earn LEED certification in 2019, representing 4.76 square feet of certified space per person.

[Related: Why documenting LEED standards matters]

Every project that certified last year, and all those that are registered, have reason to be proud. With green building expected to grow globally through 2021, the need for skilled professionals to support green building projects across both residential and commercial projects has never been more important. Across the U.S., there are more than 165,000 LEED green building professionals with the knowledge to help cities and communities transition to greener buildings and spaces. Colorado has a robust workforce of its own, and is home to 6,339 LEED professionals with the skills to help businesses, organizations and homeowners meet their sustainability goals.

New initiatives

With increasing calls to reduce or neutralize energy use and rehabilitate existing buildings, we are leveraging LEED and the Arc performance platform to support this and the rapid scaling of existing building improvement. USGBC launched a number of new initiatives at the end of 2019 supplementing LEED that will tackle how our cities and communities adapt to a changing climate; how builders can find healthier and more sustainable building products with our Better Materials platform; how we can use our collective power to begin regenerating our world with LEED Positive; and how we as an industry can take a proactive stance in the fight for equity with LEED Equity, improving our world to be a better, safer and healthier place for future generations.

[Related: Colorado among top 5 states for green homes]

Twenty-five years ago, there was no way to know if a building was truly green and no agreed upon guidelines to help those who wanted to build green. Now, as we enter a new decade, LEED continues to evolve into a more dynamic rating system that can be used in a variety of building types. Whether its apartments, high-rise condos or single-family homes, USGBC is encouraged by the robust growth of LEED. With a vision of green buildings for all, the organization is continuing to work closely with builders and developers across the residential sector to create homes that are more resilient, help mitigate the effects of climate change and can bridge the equity gap.

Charlie Woodruff is regional director for the mountain region at U.S. Green Building Council.

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