A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

This Week in Green – Nov. 22, 2010

Green Buildings Take the LEED in Good Economic News

While unemployment in the U.S. affects nearly 15 million, and the economy continues to wheeze, there is a bright spot on the horizon. Well, actually, a green spot.

According to a new report, green building construction starts were up 50 percent over the past two years and they represent a quarter of all new building starts this year.

That market, which was at $42 billion in 2008, has risen to $71 billion this year and is expected to climb to $135 billion by 2015.

But wait, there’s more. In a separate study, the total amount of LEED-certified buildings grew by one billion square feet in 2010, up to eight billion, or a growth rate of 14 percent.

Much of that growth was outside the U.S.: India, China and the United Arab Emirates boast the most overall LEED-certified square footage.

It also represents a shift toward retrofitting and renovating existing structures, two of the main tenets for the green building industry.

What that translates to is a savings of roughly 8 million tons of CO2 emissions from energy efficiency and renewables. According to the report, that figure would increase to nearly 170 tons by 2030, or 3 percent of our country’s current annual CO2 footprint.