The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system dominates brand acceptance and market share in the business of green building and is a driver in the larger environmental industrial complex. So a review of LEED statistics can be telling, not only about the state of green building, but about trends and future opportunities. 

But as Benjamin Disraeli told us, “There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.” So, to keep this short blog post simple but meaningful we are going to look only at a snapshot that was the  nonresidential projects that were LEED certified during the month of April 2015 as reported by GBIG.

During April 2015, 463 projects were certified comprising 59.4 million square feet.

That is, more than 1.2 million square feet were certified each day in April. While that is a very large number, it is the lightest month this year and on an annualized basis, Green Business Certification, Inc., is certifying more than 1.8 million square feet every day, which is an increase from the 1.7 million square feet per day average in 2014.

Of those certifications it is significant that greater than 30% were Existing Buildings projects and several were recertifications. LEED is clearly no longer only about new construction.

Also interesting is that only 17 of those projects, just over 1%, were identified as schools. Given that schools are the number one project use for LEED certified building, one might have expected that number to be larger.

Rating System

Projects Certified

Square Footage Certified

New Construction


20.9 million

Commercial Interiors


3.5 million

Core and Shell


16.9 million

Existing Buildings


16 million

Retail – Commercial Interiors



Retail – New Construction



Schools – New Construction


1.6 million



59.4 million

Continuing a trend more projects were certified Gold than any other certification level. And those Gold projects were significantly larger than the average project.

With 160 projects achieving at Certified level that number is statistically similar to the 162 Gold projects. No one homogenous building type predominated and the projects were as varied as the Maui Hyatt Vacation Club to a Bank of America corporate center on Charlotte, NC, and a Kohl’s Department Store in Springfield, OH. More Wells Fargo bank branches were certified than any other single user in April and most were at the Certified level. And despite the dozens of Wells Fargo bank branches, Kohl’s certified more square footage than any other single owner in April (.. which is not surprising when considering at 3,866 square foot bank branch versus as 96,077 square foot department store).     

Certification Level

Projects Certified

Square Footage Certified



10 million



13.4 million



33.7 million



2.2 million

LEED is increasingly international and while 378 of the 463 April projects were located within the U.S., the remainder were scattered across the globe in 32 different countries. The largest number of those international certifications were in China with 15 projects totaling 5 million square feet. 10 projects were in Brazil, 7 were in Turkey and 6 each were certified in India and Germany. And there were single projects certified from the United Kingdom to Argentina and from Nigeria to Colombia.  

This snapshot from April makes clear that the state of LEED brand acceptance and market share is good and is growing.

Check out USGBC’s LEED project directory for a look at LEED projects by state. And visit GBIG to analyze LEED trends and opportunities in the business of green building.