Green Construction Rapidly Growing

According to a new study on green construction, the industry is rapidly growing and contributing billions of dollars to the US economy. The study claims that green construction in Georgia will have a $33.37 billion economic impact between 2015 and 2018. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings will bring our state an economic impact to the tune of $8.63 billion.

The press release from the U.S. Green Building Council is below

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (Sept. 16, 2015) – The green building sector is outpacing overall construction growth in the U.S. and will account for more than 2.3 million American jobs this year, according to a newU.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) study from Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH).

The 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, released today by USGBC and prepared by Booz Allen, finds the green building industry contributes more than $134.3 billion in labor income to working Americans. The study also found that green construction’s growth rate is rapidly outpacing that of conventional construction and will continue to rise.

By 2018, the study finds, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs–more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector–and generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings. The industry’s direct contribution to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion from 2015-2018.

“Green building is playing a massive role in the U.S. construction sector, the clean and efficient energy sector and the U.S. economy as a whole,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “More than 2.3 million U.S. workers are taking home $134 billion annually in large part because of green building programs like LEED. Demand for green building will only continue to grow as individuals, businesses and institutions continue to prioritize sustainable approaches to the design, construction and operations of our built environment.”

The new USGBC analysis also explores the multifaceted economic contribution of green construction to the U.S. economy and individual U.S. states, quantifying the economic impact of green building and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

“Our research shows that green building has created millions of jobs and contributed hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, with the construction of LEED-certified buildings accounting for about 40 percent of green construction’s overall contribution to GDP in 2015,” said David Erne, a Senior Associate at Booz Allen. “This industry is certainly on the rise, and aggressive growth in the green building sector is anticipated over the next four years.”

In addition to national jobs, GDP and labor earnings from green building, the study projects significant growth in green building’s contribution to individual states’ tax contributions and environmental asset indicators at both the national and state levels.

Total state earnings related to LEED building construction projects are estimated to total $8.4 billion by 2018. In Texas alone, almost 1.26 million jobs in the green building sector are projected between 2015 and 2018. As a result, green building will also contribute to significant savings across energy, trash, water and maintenance costs.


  1. Ellynn says:

    Too bad the state of Georgia banned any form of LEED Construction in state funded buildings in order to make the lumber industry happy. Deal signed the bill in May. Went into effect on July 1, 2015. It basically stopped all green building incentives and certification on state funded projects, which are the majority of the large scale new construction in this state (not counting housing) in areas not in the Atlanta metro…

  2. saltycracker says:

    Interesting, recently had a conversation on this. It is a good idea but the bureaucracy is driving the frustration and costs off the charts of reason. It’s a boon for the architects, the point system and documentation for certification are complex and long delayed in the “system”.

    What should take 30 days can take years and incredible man hours satisfying point by point. Added cost needs to be built in just to wait a year or two or three to get certified. Lots of times the building is occupied but the contractor not fully paid until certified even if the points are not his. It is easy to pass the blame around if the bureaucrats can make it possible.

    Responsible construction companies spent a lot of money getting folks certified, support the idea but find themselves bearing unnecessary costs driven by special interests and bureaucracy.

    That’s my friends version.

    • Ellynn says:

      We have seen very little cost added to over all construction of a project. Most of our in house standards already meet or exceeded some of the material and methods LEED Some of the HVAC and insulation requirements are already . Paper work is a bear, but some of our long term projects have resulted in lower use and maintenance cost. We have not found a delay in payment to subs or contractors, even through certification can take months from USGBC. I don’t see this a boon to architects. I do see this as a boon to taxpayers, since it lowers energy cost of the life of the building.

  3. eehrhart says:

    USGBC and LEED certification are a huge waste of taxpayer dollars on a con backed by extremists environmental activists. Millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted on acquiring the seal of approval sticker from this organization. For this group to aggregate the total construction dollars being spent, and laying claim to such as a boon to taxpayers and jobs is an utter absurdity.
    Sustainable design makes good business sense and ANY first year design professional can create sustainable drawings and ANY contractor can build a sustainable building WITHOUT having to pay green activists for the privilege of a sticker and a pat on the back. 2 years ago I asked the Board of Regents to study how many buildings on a certain campus,(14) had been designed to a LEED silver level or better and how many had actually pursued the certification? The final question was what was the cost differential which resulted from such pursuit of the LEED sticker. The numbers were appalling. All 14 structures were designed to the same level, but the LEED stickers pursued on just 4 of the buildings cost was over 2.1 million in taxpayer funds. This was a massive waste of funds better spent on our students education than lining the pockets of USGBC in Washington. We put a stop to the practice immediately.
    The state of Georgia was wasting millions on this practice until we put an end to it and proudly so.
    Georgia even has a free program administered by the state agency which reviews plans and specs, ( Georgia Peach Standards), which offers the same type sustainable design review without the social activism attached to USGBC.
    For example, in the above example about the Georgia lumber industry which was just one of the many extortion schemes practiced by LEED certifiers, they did not like timber from Ga so they just excluded it with no sustainable science to back up their claim. News flash; those timber farmers pay Ga taxes too and have every right and freedom and expectation to be treated equally with others to compete to sell their product without having to ask ‘mother may I ” from green bureaucrats in Washington.
    Georgia needs go much further to restrict the waste of taxpayer funds on this scam and I am sure we will see more responsible legislation this year limiting the taxpayer funds which can be spent on such a con job while continuing to support and encourage real sustainable practices which do not come with a political activism cost paid by our hard working taxpayers.

    • Ellynn says:

      Using Board of Regent buildings as a point of comparison is not a very good example of Taxpayer lost and gain regardless of LEED, Georgia Peach or any other rating system . GSFIC reviewed building have twice the amount of paperwork, and pointless levels of red tape and CYA related regulations/standards and in general cost more then other building of similar scope and size used in other taxpayer funded systems, such as K-12 education and city/county business use.

      I agree with you that any first year design student can create a building that has green and sustainable principals. The problem is, most Title II entities don’t want to do it. They don’t want to pay XX for more energy saving windows, They don’t want to add cost to a building for basic design items like sun shades and motion detection light switches. They don’t want to pay for items that are already required by code that are green or energy saving. But you allow them to have federal and/or corporate grants or credits (which most require LEED certification), they are willing to do so. Most of this is at little or no cost to them if the building was designed correctly to begin with, and will lead to long time taxpayer savings on energy and utility use.

      Is it a over rated system? Yes in some ways it is. Does it have flaws? Of course. So does the whole public construction sector, on almost every level.

      As to the Georgia timber industry, the amount of Georgia grown wood used in Georgia taxpayer funded buildings is little to none, with or without LEED. Almost every building the taxpayer’s own are non-combustible building by either the building code or the fire code, due to the occupants or the size of the building. Incidental woods that would be covered in Section 603 of the IBC (and most likely Georgia grown) have no related standing in LEED or Georgia Peach, and have no effect on either rating system. The only credit Georgia grown timber would not reach was a non-mandatory credit that is used mainly when a building is working for a Platinum rating, which most taxpayer owned buildings in this state (or any state) can not achieve.

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