International. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced nearly 100 net-zero certifications earned under the LEED Zero program, representing more than 23 million square feet of space. A quarter of LEED Zero projects earned multiple certifications, demonstrating the achievement of net zero targets in various categories.
Complementing 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 launched, certifications were obtained in all categories and one project obtained certification in all four categories.
"Operating our buildings at net zero, combined with a strong green building strategy, is a cost-effective solution to address the climate crisis," said Peter Templeton, president and interim CEO of USGBC. "Reducing carbon emissions from 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 we meet net zero emissions targets."
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 a year. LEED Zero Water recognizes a drinking water use balance of zero for one year. LEED Zero Waste recognizes buildings that achieve GBCI TRUE certification at the Platinum level.
Recent years have highlighted the need to reduce carbon emissions and accelerate efforts to achieve a low-carbon future. Buildings account for almost 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 world are now monitoring their results and committing to reducing carbon emissions as well as net-zero emissions.
The previous week was Net Zero Buildings Week, which is an opportunity to highlight the importance of green building and the push to decarbonise our existing buildings.
In an effort to raise awareness of the construction sector's contribution to carbon emissions, the USGBC participated in Net Zero Buildings Week, joining the New Buildings Institute and other construction industry partners to highlight the benefits of net-zero buildings for a clean energy future.