Earlier this month, while few people were watching, the 20,000th LEED commercial project was certified! Wow.

In the event you missed the huge happening on December 4th, it is a LEED 2009 Commercial Interior Certified project in Knoxville, Tennessee. This green tenant improvement portends enormous business opportunities associated with the U.S. Green Building Council and the existing built environment. 

The sustainable build out is the 32,308 square feet corporate offices of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a publicly traded brand of coffee that produces organic, fair trade, and specialty gourmet coffees. This is the 7th LEED certified project associated with the company.  

It scored 47 of 110 possible points placing it in the top 86% of projects in this rating system version. So, it really is very green. The project earned 8 points in credit WEc1 for a 35% reduction in indoor potable water use. It scored 2 points on credit EAc1.1 for a 20% reduction in lighting power density. And it secured 2 points on credit MRc4 for 10% recycled content on building materials.

That this milestone project is located within Tennessee is apropos. Not only is it within the United States, a big deal with the internationalization of LEED, but Tennessee is not Washington DC, with the most LEED projects per capita and it might not be the location one would guess for a LEED project. That said, “The Volunteer State” has 212 LEED certified projects encompassing 26.09 million certified square feet.

Also incredibly positive is that this office is the 4,932rd LEED for Commercial Interiors 2009 project.

USGBC describes LEED for Commercial Interiors as “the green benchmark for the tenant improvement market.”

LEED for Commercial Interiors gives tenants who do not always have control over whole building operations, the power to make sustainable choices. Making these choices during tenant improvements and interior renovations can dramatically affect the indoor environment.

This rating system was developed specifically for tenants in commercial and institutional buildings who lease their space or don’t occupy the entire building.

LEED for Commercial Interiors projects are ideally suited to be located with LEED for Core & Shell buildings and are also regularly located within LEED for Existing Buildings.

And while this is project is a noteworthy milestone, the “bigger deal” may be that there are more than 36,000 other commercial and industrial projects currently in the LEED pipeline creating huge business opportunities.  

You can learn more about the 20,000th project at GBIG.