Korea’s Songdo International Business District (IBD) has reached another green building milestone and now totals 19.5 million square feet of LEED-certified space. Songdo IBD, an exciting new 1,500-acre city being built on reclaimed land on the coast of Incheon, South Korea, continues to bolster its position as one of the world's most ambitious LEED developments.

The numbers tell the story: The 19.5 million square foot (1.8 million square meter) figure represents 12 projects comprising an impressive 106 buildings (71 residential, 27 retail and eight commercial), and the project is still only 65 percent complete. The most recent Songdo project to gain certification is the 68-story Northeast Asia Trade Tower (NEATT), which achieved LEED Silver. The landmark NEATT at 305 meters (1,001 feet) is the tallest building in Korea.

Who is building Songdo? Songdo IBD is a joint venture between New York developer Gale International and Korean construction firm POSCO E&C, under the governance of the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority.  Gale and POSCO are true pioneers of LEED in Korea. Songdo’s many “firsts” in green building include:

  • The First LEED-certified Exhibit Hall in Asia (Convensia Convention Center)
  • The First LEED-certified Residential Tower in Korea (Central Park I)
  • The First LEED-certified Hotel in Korea (Sheraton Incheon)
  • The First LEED-certified School in Korea (Chadwick International School)

Songdo IBD is globally recognized as the world’s foremost smart, sustainable city-scale development. In 2012, the newly established Green Climate Fund (GCF) selected Songdo as the home for its Secretariat. It is anticipated that the sustainable infrastructure and technological innovations being pioneered in Songdo will have applications for many of the GCF-funded projects in developing nations. Songdo features one of the world’s largest pneumatic waste collection systems (obviating the need for garbage trucks) and a state-of-the-art cogeneration plant. Targeted citywide water recycling will reach 40% and waste recycling 76% by the year 2020. Songdo IBD is comprised of 40% green space and is a pedestrian city while also featuring a first-rate system of public transportation.

The $35 billion Songdo International Business District (IBD) is often called the largest private real estate venture in history. When complete in 2020, it will include one hundred million square feet of office, residential, retail, hotel and public space, and be home to 65,000 residents and 300,000 people will commute in daily. The city already has 36,000 residents with 50,000 commuters. Songdo IBD also is the leading example of a “ubiquitous city” in which technology is pervasive and key IT systems are linked. It has partnered with Cisco to provide TelePresence immersive videoconferencing in homes, offices and schools, among other digital initiatives. Connected to Incheon International Airport via a stunning 7.4-mile bridge, Songdo IBD is situated at the crossroads of Northeast Asia and is a 90-minute flight to Shanghai and to Tokyo, and a three-hour flight to Hong Kong. Songdo IBD is just 35 miles southwest of Seoul, and a proposed GTX train will reduce the trip between the two to 25 minutes.