Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that Taiwan ranked seventh on USGBC’s annual ranking of the Top 10 Countries for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system. The Top 10 list highlights countries and regions outside of the U.S. that are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation, illustrating the ever-growing international demand for LEED green buildings. The announcement comes at a time of increased international focus on climate change mitigation in the lead up to the United Nations’ COP21 climate negotiations this December.
USGBC’s recognition of Taiwan status as a world leader in the green building movement comes just one month after Taiwan’s legislature passed the landmark Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Management Act establishing highly ambitious goals for slashing national emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Taiwanese business leaders and policy makers have been outspoken about their belief that achieving a leadership position in the global sustainability movement will help the region increase its GDP and create jobs, and that controlling emissions will be key for national competitiveness going forward. Taiwan also made the Top 10 in 2014 when it finished fifth, and TAIPEI 101 is one of the most famous LEED-certified buildings in the world. In March, Taipei Financial Center Corporation announced its intent to achieve Platinum re-certification under the new LEED v4 version of the rating system for TAIPEI 101.
“Taiwanese leadership in the global green building movement and the popularity of LEED in the country shows that our movement’s broader goals of providing a healthier, more sustainable built environment within this generation resonates across the international community,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Taiwan is a strong economic power in East Asia, and its national emphasis on a green transformation of its built environment will help provide new jobs, save precious resources and provide healthier spaces for the Taiwanese people to live, learn, work and play.”
The 10 countries that made the list for 2015 are geographically and culturally diverse, representing seven of the world’s 20 largest single-nation economies by gross domestic product (GDP) (China, Germany, Brazil, India, Canada, South Korea and Turkey), as well as six of the top 11 emitters of greenhouse gases (China, India, Germany, South Korea, Canada and Brazil).
The analysis used to develop the list ranks countries in terms of gross square meters (GSM) and numbers of LEED projects to date. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. The United States, the birthplace of LEED, is not included in this list but remains the world’s largest market for LEED. The U.S. is the world’s largest economy by GDP as well as the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Every day, nearly 172,000 GSM of space is certified using LEED, and there are currently more than 69,800 commercial and institutional projects representing 1.23 billion GSM of space participating in the green building rating system. An additional 76,500 residential units have been certified under LEED for Homes. LEED projects can now be found in more than 150 countries and territories across the world.
The full ranking is as follows:
|Rank||Nation||GSM of LEED certified- space (million)||Total GSM of LEED-certified and registered space (millions)||Total number of LEED-certified and registered projects|
|5||Republic of Korea||4.81||17.47||279|
|8||United Arab Emirates||3.13||53.44||910|
LEED’s international popularity is reflective of the exponential growth occurring within the global green building industry. Increasing consumer demand has pushed the world’s green building market to $260 billion in 2013, and this industry surge has led to a corresponding increase in the scope and size of the green building materials market, which is expected to reach $234 billion by 2019.
At a time when the international community is looking to the UN’s negotiations in Paris as a historically significant chance to come up with real, binding solutions to climate change, the global popularity of LEED is a sign that a ‘green economic miracle’ is well within reach. LEED’s success demonstrates that there are proven, internationally credible solutions to some of the complex questions surrounding climate change mitigation that can help stimulate economic growth while also avoiding harmful economic disruptions. With buildings accounting for up to 30 percent of global emissions, a commitment to the rapid transformation of the global built environment seems to be one solution that the entire world can get behind.
A sample of notable projects that certified in Taiwan in 2014 include:
- Taipei: Ministry of Health and Welfare Building, LEED Gold
- Taoyuan: Chang Gung Memorial Hospital International Medical Center, Proton and Radiation Therapy Center, LEED Platinum
- Hsinchu: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing’s Advanced Backend Fab1, LEED Platinum
- Taipei: Taipei American School, LEED Gold
Support for LEED has been growing steadily in Taiwan since 2008 when the region had its first project achieve LEED-certification. There are over 156 LEED professional credentials held in Taiwan, and there are 13 USGBC member organizations based in the country. A full 79 percent of LEED-certified projects in Taiwan have been certified as LEED Gold or higher. Taipei 101, one of the world’s most famous LEED-certified buildings, celebrates the fourth anniversary of its LEED-certification this month.