A recent study by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGCB) and Booz Allen Hamilton reported that green building construction not only supports the environment but can have a dramatic impact on the nation’s job creation and economic structure.
According to a comprehensive report on environmental sustainability released this year, green construction spending currently supports over 2 million jobs and generates over $100 billion in gross domestic product and wages. By the year 2013, this study estimates that green buildings will support nearly 8 million jobs across occupations ranging from construction managers and carpenters to truck drivers and cost estimators.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a green building program put into effect by USGCB, reported to have recently surpassed a total footprint of 2 billion square feet. A plan for another 7 billion square feet globally is currently in the works. The LEED program is widely used and recognized and executes the green design, construction, maintenance and operation of green buildings. Spending from this program has already created 15,000 jobs since 2000, and by 2013 USGCB’s study predicts an additional 230,000 jobs to be created.
“Nearly 50,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems comprising nine billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 130 countries,” a press release from USGBC stated, “in addition, nearly 23,000 residential units have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with nearly 86,000 more homes registered.”
The plan is to upgrade older outdated buildings and to build new buildings with sustainable features like rooftop gardens, heat and water recycling systems, commercial recycling systems, solar panels and drought-resistant landscaping. These developments boost industries and create jobs.
The U.S. Green Building Council announced that their portfolio consists of 300 LEED-certified projects in 20 countries since the beginning of July 2012. They are working on high-rated green building projects such as Google in Mubai, which earned a platinum rating. Other LEED platinum-rated projects included the Vestas Technology Center in Denmark and the Ernst and Young Plaza in Los Angeles.
The LEED rating system is based on points for green advancements in different categories such as new construction or existing buildings. The ratings are certified, silver, gold and platinum. The points are based on factors such as water efficiency, materials used, energy and atmosphere, innovation and sustainability.
The popularity of construction going-green methods is growing to a large scale. Other high-profile green building projects include the recent 2012 London Olympics. Planners and commissioners used recycled materials and environmentally-friendly construction to erect the Olympic stadium and park.
Another factor in determining a building’s LEED rating is it’s indoor environmental quality. According to Dave Winzelberg of the Atlantic, this and other aspects of the green building effort are creating an appeal for tenants, “now there is a higher demand for healthier working space, and a recruiting edge for companies headquartered in green buildings,” he said.
Winzelberg adds that studies have shown reductions in asthma, allergies, depression and stress from employees of companies housed in green buildings. This ultimately increases the productivity of green workplaces.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED system has innovated green technology in projects all over the world and sets their ultimate goals at market transformation through creating an affluent future through sustainability and “cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.”
Authored by: Jack Vaughan Jack grew up playing football and would give his left arm for Manchester United. Although he’s tough to get a hold of during the World Cup, his journalism background gives him an amazing platform for writing.