Happy holidays from USGBC and GBCI

Peter Templeton

As 2022 comes to close, I want to take a moment to thank you for your contributions to the green building movement this year. Your hard work and dedication has strengthened our community and positioned it to grow dramatically—welcoming the next generation of sustainability professionals, as well as industry leaders who are now embracing sustainability like never before.

As I shared at Greenbuild, together we have proven that market transformation is possible and that the built environment can and must be a central part of the solution to the climate crisis, to improving occupant and community health, and to achieving social and economic equality.

In the past year, our community has accomplished so much, despite the many global challenges:

  • There are now more than 100,000 LEED-certified projects around the world, including more than 800 million square feet of newly certified space in just the past year.
  • More than 300 million square feet has been recertified and another 1.4 billion square feet of existing buildings have begun tracking performance in Arc.
  • Amidst the uncertainty of a post-pandemic economy, LEED project registrations are up more than 25% over last year.
  • The same holds true for engaged professionals, who are investing in their careers and their professional development. We’ve seen over 12,000 credentialing exams over the last 12 months, plus 200,000 hours of USGBC green building education delivered in the market.

As we look to 2023, our community is leading the shift to a low-carbon future by leveraging our expertise and our know-how to make sure every building, city and community is doing its part.

We’ve readied the market for the innovation in policy, practice and technology that is needed to succeed in meeting ambitious targets, and we’ve jump-started investment in a future economy that values higher performance, lower impacts and reduced risk…a future that protects the human, environmental and economic well-being of all communities, and prioritizes the health and equity co-benefits of climate action.

Now, we have an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate progress toward this vision.

This moment requires us to be at our best, most focused and most nimble. We must engage our entire community, as well as partners and experts from beyond our industry, to bring us closer to realizing healthy, resilient, net zero buildings and communities for all. We must leverage the momentum behind green finance and ESG goals to turn commitments into actions by organizations, cities and communities, and we must embrace new drivers, new partners and new thinking to ensure real progress is made. We are all in this together.

The next version of LEED will go further to support emissions reductions in line with the Paris Agreement and address critical imperatives including equity, health, biodiversity and resilience. These principles reflect what we have heard from you and other stakeholders and experts, and they will guide our work over the coming year.

In 2023, we also plan to double down our work with policymakers, decision-makers and practitioners to align around consistent metrics and reporting frameworks supporting regulatory compliance, ESG initiatives and organizational commitments. As we consider the future, we recognize that the entire landscape has evolved with us and around us, and in large part, because of us. We must continue to set the pace for the industry with proven and tested solutions for meeting global climate and health challenges, as well as ESG goals and performance expectations.

Additionally, as ESG commitments define new priorities for corporations, governments and institutions, we must align our work accordingly and demonstrate clearly green building’s contributions to achieving them. We will support greater transparency and accountability to validate progress toward achievement of these commitments.

Transparency, accountability and benchmarking has been a core part of the work of LEED and our community for nearly three decades—and now, we’re seeing interest in real accountability and focus on transparency in our sector like never before.

Finally, as you have heard over the past months, we will prioritize mobilizing action at scale. Throughout our history, we’ve promoted immediate actions to bridge the distance to far-off commitments and goals. The magnitude of the challenges facing us require us to apply our experience across entire portfolios and organizations. We need to leverage all opportunities for improvement and to accelerate progress toward meeting commitments to climate action, health and equity in the built environment. We know that as a global community, we have shifted the entire building industry before, and that we can and will do it again, on an even larger and more ambitious scale.

There is much work to be done, but for now, we are looking forward to a restful holiday so we can dive in refreshed and ready to tackle the new year! For now, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2023!

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