UN Habitat report highlights global impact of LEED | U.S. Green Building Council
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A new report from UN Habitat features LEED among the rating systems that promote green building worldwide.

UN Habitat recently released the report Building Sustainability Assessment and Benchmarking. Given the potential for the building sector to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, UN Habitat supports scientific, accurate and meaningful buildings assessment tools, such as LEED, to influence the sector’s complex stakeholders.  

In the context of global construction, UN Habitat finds, only a very small portion of buildings have been assessed or benchmarked, and the organization calls for more research to close the gap in green building demand, especially in low-income countries. This finding echoes the call to action from USGBC and GBCI President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam to keep building, for our community and our world. 

The new report provides an introduction to the field of sustainable construction, with an emphasis on housing, giving readers a sense of established rating systems and the legislative mechanisms and policies used to implement them around the world. A major theme of UN Habitat’s report is life cycle assessment and the need for reliable data to develop such analyses, as well as distinctions in the extent to which various rating systems incorporate life cycle assessment. The report also identifies social and equity considerations.

The LEED rating system is featured in the report as a widely used international tool, with projects certified in over 160 countries for commercial and residential construction. An overview of LEED is included, including credit categories, certification levels and minimum performance requirements. It also looks at the seven impact category goals that guided the development of LEED v4, the latest iteration of the LEED rating system. 

Here is a map of LEED’s global impact, reflecting the number of projects outside of the United States and Canada:


Graphic: Distribution of LEED projects globally.

By viewing the built environment holistically, USGBC supports UN Habitat’s goal of working toward a socially and environmentally sustainable urban future. LEED for Neighborhood Development and LEED for Cities take this approach further, to measure societal and environmental impacts in the environment beyond buildings. USGBC continues to be a leader in driving market adoption of green and efficient development, and our expanded set of tools can help create more equitable, sustainable and profitable communities.

USGBC contributed to the report.      

Read the report

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