In honor of Net Zero Buildings Week June 13-17, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) highlighted a milestone reflecting the growing demand for net zero buildings: The organization announced nearly 100 net zero certifications have been earned under the LEED Zero program, representing more than 23 million square feet of space. One-fourth of LEED Zero projects earned multiple certifications, demonstrating achievement of net zero goals in several categories.
A complement to LEED certification, LEED Zero provides a clear, data-driven path to recognizing net-zero goals and signals market leadership in the built environment. In 2018, the first year LEED Zero was released, certifications were earned in every category, with one project earning certification in all four categories.
“Operating our buildings at net zero, combined with a solid green building strategy, is a cost-effective solution to tackling the climate crisis,” said Peter Templeton, USGBC’s interim president & CEO. “Reducing the carbon emissions of buildings is a critical part of solving the climate puzzle. We will continue to work together with building owners and partners from all sectors to ensure that we meet net zero goals.”
LEED Zero energy certification is awarded to net zero energy buildings and communities that generate as much energy as they use over the course of the year. LEED Zero Carbon recognizes net zero carbon emissions from energy consumption through carbon emissions avoided or offset over one year. LEED Zero Water recognizes a potable water use balance of zero over one year. LEED Zero Waste recognizes buildings that achieve GBCI’s TRUE certification at the Platinum level.
Recent years have spotlighted the need to reduce carbon emissions and accelerate efforts to achieve a low-carbon future. Buildings account for nearly 40% of all carbon emissions, and according to a 2020 UN report, buildings must reduce at least 50% of their carbon emissions by 2030 to achieve net zero by 2050. Organizations, cities, and countries around the globe are now monitoring their outputs and committing to carbon emissions reductions as well as net zero emissions.
In an effort to bring more awareness to the building sector’s contribution to carbon emissions, USGBC is taking part in Net Zero Buildings Week, joining the New Buildings Institute and other building industry partners to highlight the benefits of net zero buildings for a clean energy future.