Taryn Holowka

LEED helps us achieve buildings, neighborhoods and cities that have a lower carbon footprint.

The scientific consensus is clear: Earth's climate is warming. Climate change is already affecting us all through sea level rise and an increase in extreme weather events. This, in turn, is changing the way we make choices about the built environment.

Internationally, commitments such as the Paris Agreement and the Global Covenant of Mayors have brought leaders together in taking action for sustainability. On the U.S. state and city levels, leaders are planning for long-term resilience, and local climate impact reduction strategies are so important that they can now influence a city's credit rating.

Reducing carbon emissions through LEED

This is a critical point for our world, and at USGBC, we work to mitigate the effects of climate change through green building. Buildings represent 41 percent of total U.S. energy output, which means we have a big opportunity to improve our structures and decrease their energy use. USGBC's LEED rating system helps us achieve buildings, neighborhoods and even cities that use less energy and fewer resources and have a lower carbon footprint.

Through specific, credit-based strategies and rigorous standards, LEED guides builders and occupants alike to structures they can be proud of, structures that add as little as possible to our world's greenhouse gas emissions and water and energy use.

Of the 100 total points in LEED v4, 35 reward climate change mitigation strategies. These include four different greenhouse gas emissions reduction credits, as well as credits for sustainable site location, access to public transportation, water use, energy performance, carbon offsets and life cycle impact reduction.

Climate topics at Greenbuild 2018

At this year's Greenbuild conference, which will be held in Chicago from November 14 to 16 at McCormick Place, there are several opportunities to learn more about how LEED addresses climate change. Don't miss these key sessions:

LEED and Climate Change

Wed., November 14, 3–4 p.m.

LEED’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment goes well beyond building energy efficiency; the rating system continuously advances decarbonization by addressing building life cycle assessment, transportation and the water-energy nexus. Join USGBC for insights and case studies from sustainability professionals, including those managing global real estate portfolios and experts on climate and energy, on how LEED can be used to enhance the value of their global assets and demonstrate leadership in the era of decarbonization.

Walking the Talk: Using LEED v4 to Energize a Community

Wed., November 14, 1:30–2:30 p.m.

With its new Utilities Administration Building (UAB), the City of Fort Collins, Colorado, exemplifies how one building can drive ambitious community climate goals. The project team designed UAB to support the city’s Climate Action Plan, which targets carbon neutrality by 2050). The city focused on pursuing all the available LEED v4 energy credits, and UAB ultimately achieved Platinum certification under LEED v4. Learn how a client, design team, operations team and occupants can work together to secure these credits, particularly Optimize Energy Performance, and to demonstrate the building's value to occupants, the community and the industry at large.

Learn more at Greenbuild