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US Green Building Council to launch new ratings system

The Arroyo, in Santa Monica, California, is certified 'platinum' by Leed USGBC
The Arroyo, in Santa Monica, California, is certified 'platinum' by USGBC's Leed rating system
  • First update to organisation’s policy in 10 years
  • Tough sustainability targets for construction
  • UAE has almost 1,500 Leed-certified buildings

The US Green Building Council is launching a new ratings system to measure structures against tough sustainability targets.

It is the first time in 10 years that the organisation has updated its policy, with the industry largely relying on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed) green building system.

According to the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leed provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, which offer environmental, social and governance benefits.

“We have a much clearer pathway for where we need to go to decarbonise our buildings to get to net zero and we’re aligned the system to those goals,” said Sarah Zaleski, chief products officer at the USGBC.

Logo, Text

As of 2023 there were more than 105,000 Leed-certified buildings and over 205,000 Leed-accredited professionals in 185 countries worldwide.

In the UAE almost 1,500 buildings are certified.

In September, the USGBC introduced a draft of its Leed v5 for Operations and Maintenance rating system for existing buildings. It is scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year.

Zaleski explained that the new system requires building operators to create a decarbonisation pathway, noting the journey to take them to net zero by 2050.

The buildings and construction sector currently accounts for almost 40 percent of all carbon emissions and 36 percent of energy consumption.

A report from real estate consultancy company JLL said the operational costs of outdated, energy-inefficient buildings would surge due to the rising prices of utilities and the need to adhere to increasingly stringent energy efficiency regulations.

By 2030, the UAE aims to reduce emissions in the building sector by 56 percent compared to 2019 levels. 

The launch of the UAE National Demand Side Management (DSM) programme in 2021 looks to cut energy use by 51 percent and 40 percent of water demand for the built environment by 2050 compared to business as usual.

On Wednesday Dubai developer Damac Properties’ Damac Lagoons project became the UAE’s first pre-certified Leed Platinum community development.

Globally, though, Zaleski admitted that there is “still a lot of work to be done”.

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