Fact Checks

  • FACT: Rigorous, market-based standards such as the LEED program have achieved significant energy, water, and cost savings in buildings.

  • What is LEED? LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is transforming the way buildings, homes and entire communities are designed, constructed, and operated. Comprehensive and flexible, LEED addresses the entire lifecycle of a building.  (U.S. Green Building Council, http://bit.ly/UzFr9q)

  • The LEED program has grown in popularity largely because of free market success. According to USGBC, "The vast majority of LEED projects is in the private sector and receives no incentive to pursue LEED…" (Source: U.S. Green Building Council, http://bit.ly/XOBouL )

  • An independent study by the General Services Administration (GSA) found that "LEED Gold buildings are top performers," beating the national average of all buildings for water savings, total CO2 emissions, utilities costs and aggregate operational costs, among other categories. (Source: GSA Public Buildings Service (2011), http://1.usa.gov/nqPlxK ) .

  • Operational costs as a whole for LEED Gold buildings are 34% less than the national average for commercial real estate. (Source: GSA Public Buildings Service (2011), http://1.usa.gov/nqPlxK ).

  • A study conducted by the University of Notre Dame found that PNC Bank's LEED-certified branches reported annual revenues averaging more than $3 million higher than their non-certified counterparts, averaging $461,300 in extra sales per employee.  (Source: Conlon, E. and Glavas, A. (2012), http://bit.ly/XOBPFs )

  • Researchers at Notre Dame also found that PNC's annual utilities cost per employee in their LEED facilities was $675.26 lower than in non-certified branches. (Source: Conlon, E. and Glavas, A. (2012), http://bit.ly/XOBPFs )

  • Energy efficiency saves money for the taxpayers too. According to Jeffrey Zients, Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, "Investments in energy efficiency [for government buildings] over the last four years alone are expected to save as much as $18 billion in energy costs over the life of the projects." (Source: The White House, http://1.usa.gov/TIxYXb)

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