USGBC reports square footage of LEED-certified existing buildings surpasses new construction
December 9, 2011 - LEED-certified existing buildings are outpacing their newly built counterparts, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), adding that as of this month, square footage of LEED-certified existing buildings surpassed LEED-certified new construction by 15 million square feet on a cumulative basis.
By Alyssa Dalton
Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, noted that most existing commercial buildings are energy guzzlers, so “making these existing buildings energy and water efficient has an enormous positive impact on the building’s cost of operations.”
“This new data marks the first time that LEED-certified existing buildings have surpassed LEED-certified new construction cumulatively,” he continued.
USGBC points to the recently LEED-certified Empire State Building in New York, N.Y., as an example, which has predicted it will slash energy consumption by more than 38%, saving $4.4 million in energy costs annually, and recouping the costs of implementation in only three years. Similarly, the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, Calif., has earned LEED Platinum certification as an existing building, 39 years after it was originally built. The landmark’s onsite co-generation plant saves an average of $700,000 annually in energy costs, said USGBC.
In its Green Outlook 2011 report, McGraw Hill Construction found that by 2015, the green share of the largest commercial retrofit and renovation activity will more than triple, growing to 25 to 33% of the activity by value-a $14 to $18 billion opportunity in major construction projects alone. A recent report by Capital-E also found that efficiency financing has the potential to soar from $20 to $150 billion annually and create more than one million jobs.