This year 16 buildings in SC (3.2 buildings per month) achieved LEED Certification. In 2010 there were 2.8 buildings per month. In 2009, there were two buildings per month and in 2008, there was less than one building per month. In SC, 100 buildings have achieved LEED Certification out of 420 registered projects, so many more are expected. The USGBC ranked South Carolina fifth in the nation for Green Building space per capita in March 2011.
What is driving this Green Building growth? Local and regional governments are establishing guidelines for sustainability. Greenville has established a Green Ribbon Committee to promote initiatives for reducing the City’s environmental impact and to distinguish itself as a leader in sustainability. The committee chair, Doug Webster, was a member of the USGBC SC Chapter Steering Committee in 2010. The ten counties in the Upstate “Ten at the Top” established a vision statement and task force focused on sustainable growth, which encourages the implementation of Green Buildings.
There are now over 1,200 LEED APs (Accredited Professionals) in South Carolina. Some companies now require employees to obtain and maintain LEED accreditation, which requires ongoing continuing education.
Europe’s Passive House standard focuses on energy reduction, while the USGBC LEED rating system considers energy and water conservation, indoor air quality, recycled content and reuse of existing buildings.
LEED has prompted manufacturers and suppliers to develop affordable green materials, which, in turn, have enabled the industry to build green for less. Ten years ago, you had to look hard to find products that could support green building and they were more expensive. Now, most building product manufacturers offer green products so they are easy to find and not much more expensive.