In an effort to encourage the design and construction of greener buildings in Delaware, the state has joined the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The USGBC is a non-profit organization that, among other initiatives, administers the LEED program, which provides commercial and residential building owners and operators a specific framework for implementing measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
“As a member of the USGBC, Delaware is in a better position to advance more cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings in the state,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “By adopting more sustainable practices – as modeled through the LEED standards – we can reduce energy costs and consumption in Delaware by using resources more efficiently, while innovative companies can seize opportunities in the emerging green economy.”
According to the USGBC, buildings in the United States are responsible for nearly 40 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption and 13 percent of the nation’s water consumption.
The USGBC says greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs. The annual U.S. market in green building products and services was more than $7 billion in 2005, $12 billion in 2007 and is projected to increase to $60 billion by 2010.
The USGBC is comprised of 78 local affiliates, more than 20,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 100,000 LEED-accredited professionals. O’Mara is the first LEED-accredited professional to serve as a state environmental cabinet secretary. Delaware joins a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, teachers and students.
The LEED program, developed by the USGBC, is an internationally recognized green building certification system that verifies that a building or community is designed and built using strategies that provide energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources.