Green Building Statistics (2024)

Green Building Statistics

Green building, also known as sustainable or eco-friendly building, refers to the practice of designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining buildings in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient manner.

The primary goal of green building is to reduce the negative impact of buildings on the environment while creating healthier, more energy-efficient, and more comfortable living and working spaces for people.

In this article, we will cover key green building statistics including the following topics.

Key Green Building Statistics

  • According to the World Green Building Council, approximately 40% of worldwide carbon emissions are attributed to the construction of buildings and the energy needed to run them.
  • Owners report that new green buildings and renovations have an increased asset value of over 9%.

Green buildings have a 9% greater asset value

  • The United States invested over $86 billion in green building projects in 2021.
  • Building green typically can cost between 1% and 12% more than a similar non-green building project.
  • Green buildings can reduce water consumption by 20% to 30% and CO2 emissions by up to 35%.
  • The average operating cost savings in the first year for new green buildings is 10.5%.

What Makes a Building Project Green?

The three most popular green building certifications are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Energy Star, and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM).

LEED is the most common green building certification around the world whereas BREEAM is the methodology of choice in the UK and certain European countries.

Energy Star focuses solely on energy use and efficiency and can compliment other certifications.

LEED and BREEAM focus on many aspects including things like indoor air quality and building design.

Green Building Certification Criteria

Although there are many green building certifications, most focus on similar aspects of sustainable and environmentally responsible construction and operation of buildings. Here are some common aspects that green building certifications typically address:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Water Efficiency
  • Sustainable Materials and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
  • Site Selection and Development
  • Sustainable Practices
  • Innovation and Design Process
  • Regional Climate and Environmental Considerations

How Many Green Homes and Buildings Are There?

According to Business Wire, 84% of homeowners say living in a green home is important to them. In addition, 64% say they would pay more to live in a green community.

The number of LEED-certified homes grew by nearly 20% from 2017 to 2019. Overall, there were over 400,000 LEED-certified homes in the country at that time, meaning that the proportion of total homes in the country with this certification is still very small.

The top 5 states for LEED-certified residential units were:

  • California (39,296)
  • Texas (24,598)
  • New York (24,598)
  • Washington (10,521)
  • Colorado (8,091)

In 2019, the CBRE published a Green Building Adoption Index which found that 13.8% of commercial office buildings across the U.S. in the 30 largest markets were considered fully green.

In total, 42.2% of the office space across the top 30 markets was considered green-certified at that time.

42% Percent of U.S. Office Space Are Considered Green

Where Are Green Buildings Most Common?

The U.S. invested over $86 billion in green building in 2021. This put the country second in the amount invested behind China ($92 billion) and ahead of India ($26 billion).

Green Buildings by Country

As the country that started the LEED initiative, the U.S. is the worldwide leader in LEED-certified buildings and construction projects. In 2022, the U.S. was working on over 511 million square feet of LEED-certified construction projects.

China and India are next in line, having invested massively in LEED-certified projects in 2022. Here is a full breakdown of the total square feet of LEED-certified construction projects in 2022 by country.

Global Green Building Projects by Country in Square Feet

Green Buildings by U.S. State

Washington D.C. became the world’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum city.

It was also the first city to legislate for green building certification with the Green Building Act in 2006. With over 1,500 LEED certifications, Washington D.C. still leads the nation in terms of number of LEED certifications per million residents. (2,257).

Here is a table of LEED certification by state:

State/DistrictLEED certifications/million residentsLEED certifications
Alabama 39 197
Alaska 137 100
Arizona 102 741
Arkansas 76 231
California 183 7,181
Colorado 237 1,378
Connecticut 97 349
Delaware 73 73
District of Columbia 2,257 1,512
Florida 94 2,052
Georgia 102 1,106
Hawaii 167 240
Idaho 64 121
Illinois 159 2,020
Indiana 61 417
Iowa 107 341
Kansas 72 210
Kentucky 55 247
Louisiana 31 142
Maine 107 147
Maryland 235 1,453
Massachusetts 219 1,529
Michigan 76 764
Minnesota 91 519
Mississippi 37 109
Missouri 82 503
Montana 102 112
Nebraska 59 115
Nevada 94 294
New Hampshire 86 119
New Jersey 87 807
New Mexico 191 404
New York 132 2,618
North Carolina 109 1,155
North Dakota 90 69
Ohio 126 1,482
Oklahoma 37 147
Oregon 170 723
Pennsylvania 114 1,481
Rhode Island 105 116
South Carolina 73 381
South Dakota 107 96
Tennessee 79 551
Texas 97 2,862
Utah 119 398
Vermont 183 119
Virginia 209 1,804
Washington 194 1,500
West Virginia 30 54
Wisconsin 86 510
Wyoming 107 62

With over 7,000 LEED certifications, California has a big lead on runners-up Texas (2,826), and New York (2,618) in terms of the total number of certifications.

West Virginia is at the bottom of the list for both certifications (54) and certifications per million residents (30).

How Much Does It Cost to Build Green?

While green building typically costs more than similar non-green projects, there are long-term financial benefits to building green such as lower operating costs and higher asset values in the future.

According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, it only takes a 1%-12% budget increase in most cases to build green.

Here’s a breakdown of the average expected additional cost to reach various levels of LEED certifications versus building non-green:

Green Building Construction Costs by LEED Certification Level

In some cases, building green can cost just 1-2% more versus a non-green project.

Oftentimes, the LEED Platinum certification can be reached by spending 7%-12% more on a project.

What Are the Benefits of Green Building?

There are numerous benefits associated with green building practices, which can have positive impacts on the environment, economy, and the well-being of occupants. Here are some of the key benefits.

Environmental Benefits

Green buildings reduce energy consumption, lower greenhouse emissions, reduce water consumption, increase air quality, and provide an overall healthier living environment. Here are some key stats on the environmental impacts of green buildings:

  • Green buildings can reduce energy consumption by 30%-40% compared to traditional buildings.
  • Green buildings can reduce water consumption by 20-30%.
  • Green buildings can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 35%.
  • Workers in green buildings were found to score 25% higher on standardized tests of planning and critical thinking abilities.
  • Workings in green buildings reported 30% fewer ‘sick building syndrome’ symptoms such as headaches and respiratory irritation.
  • People working in green offices were found to have 6% higher sleep scores on average.
  • Workers in green buildings were found to be 16% more productive than those working in non-green buildings.

Economic Benefits

The economic advantages of green building are notable, typically resulting in lower operating costs over the long term.

Additionally, sustainable features and certifications can enhance the resale value of properties, attracting eco-conscious buyers and tenants. Here are some statistics on the economic benefits of green buildings:

  • The average operating cost savings in the first year for new green buildings is 10.5%.
  • Over a five-year period, green buildings see an average operating cost reduction of 16.9%.
  • Owners report that green buildings and renovations have an increased asset value of over 9%.

Other Benefits

Green building practices offer many additional advantages. For instance, they prioritize durability, utilizing high-quality materials and techniques that reduce maintenance needs and ensure long-term resilience.

Additionally, green buildings foster innovation in construction and design, promoting technological advancement. They also raise public awareness about sustainability, encouraging environmental responsibility in society.

Conclusion

The future of green buildings is promising, with significant potential for positive impact. The fact that buildings and their energy use contribute to 40% of global carbon emissions highlights the urgency of sustainability.

In 2021, the United States invested a remarkable $86 billion in green building projects, driving innovation.

This trend, along with impressive statistics like a 10.5% reduction in operating costs in the first year, demonstrate the practical and environmentally responsible benefits of green construction practices, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and comfortable environment for people worldwide.

Sources

The U.S. Green Building Council

Knight Frank Research

Dodge Construction Network Market Report

Global Data

World Green Building Council

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The Guardian

Building Research & Information

Times of India

U.S. Green Building Adoption Index

Business Wire

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