LEED Trends in 2004

Four years after its debut, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System continues to make inroads into the development industry. There are over 1,200 registered projects now, and five new LEED products in development. Council membership is now over 4,500 companies, with many of those new members joining because of LEED.

What is driving such a cautious and conservative industry to accelerate adoption of something new and different — even risky — at such a pace? The answer is complex but clearly revealed through five key trends: knowledge based demand, wide owner adoption, deep sector penetration, strong creative demographics, and innovators pushing limits.

Knowledge-Based Demand

There is a growing concern about the consequences of what and where we build. Building owners are increasingly focused on how their projects can create environmental, economic and social benefits, as opposed to impacts….

Wide Owner Adoption

LEED seems to be just as appealing to the private sector as to the public sector — the trend is running at about a 50/50 split….

Deep Sector Penetration

As most owners learn that a goal of LEED certification can also lead to people, prosperity and planet performance improvements, they are using the standard in new ways to fit their building typology. LEED has been used to drive the design of offices sure, but it is also driving design of schools, wastewater plants, military barracks, retail, courts, banks and even jails!…

The Creative Demographics

As you investigate LEED certified buildings, a curious pattern emerges at the highest level of the development teams. On green building projects that push the envelope you will invariably find the creative class present….

Innovators Pushing Limits

In the diffusion of innovation theory, innovators lead their peers to new technologies and strategies. As their efforts become known, the early adopters and early majority begin to implement the same moves. A singular characteristic of innovators is that they are not afraid to fail, and if they do so, they are not afraid to try again. Early adopters are also driven by the need for something different, not by cost issues….

Right Time, Right Place

These five trends indicate that the time for change in the development industry is upon us. Quality information about what we build and its effect on the environment and people is widely available. Owners are asking for a new outcome; they want to change the relationship of man and the built environment. These concerns are universal: all market sectors are experiencing the same phenomenon.

People are beginning to act. The creative class, those readers of labels, are reading about buildings and they want to buy the best. Best for their people, best for the environment, and best for their business. And at the forefront of this movement are the innovators. They understand that sustainable development is not an option; it is essential for our nation, for the world. They are putting the lead in LEED.

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