Green Buildings are Part of Climate Action and Support Healthy, Resilient Communities

Written by the experts at the Canada Green Building Council

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently announced that Canada ranked second globally on the annual list of Top 10 Countries and Regions for LEED in 2021.  In 2021, Canada certified 205 projects, representing more than 3.2 million gross square meters (GSM) of LEED space.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient green buildings with positive returns on investment.  The global LEED ranking is released annually by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  It highlights countries and territories outside the United States that are making significant strides in healthy, sustainable, and resilient building design, construction, and operations.

“Over the last two decades, CaGBC members, stakeholders and supporters have demonstrated how certified green buildings support our economy, create jobs and are better for both people and the planet,” said Thomas Mueller, President and CEO, CaGBC. 

Mueller adds that there is much work to be done to meet Canada’s climate and environmental goals.  Accelerating LEED adoption across the building sector can help Canadian buildings can achieve high levels of performance and help pursue the goal of net-zero carbon emissions. 

“The owners and teams with certified LEED projects have made tremendous progress,” Mueller said.  “They are an inspiration as we build our way forward to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.”

Looking at the Global Picture

Mainland China topped the list with more than 14 million GSM certified to LEED in 2021, followed by Canada, India, Republic of Korea, and Spain.  These top five countries represent the ever-growing international demand for certified LEED green buildings that help reduce environmental impact and support health and well-being.  The list ranks countries in terms of GSM of space certified in 2021.  The U.S. is not included in the list but remains the world’s largest market for LEED with more than 26 million GSM of certified space in 2021.

Canada’s continued presence on the top of the LEED Territories list reflects the health of the Canadian green building sector.  The McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Fort Edmonton Park Indigenous People’s Experience Cultural Centre, Aquavista at Bayside Toronto, and the Corner Brook Long-Term Care Centre are examples of recently certified projects that attest to the accessibility of LEED for projects that have special design and operations needs.

“Canada has been an early adopter of LEED and continues to lead the way with hundreds of projects certified every year,” says Mark Hutchinson, Vice President of Green Building Programs at CaGBC.  “We are committed to supporting the building sector as it transitions to green, healthy and low-carbon buildings.  LEED’s adaptable framework evolves to help buildings of all types address energy and environmental priorities.”

The full ranking is as follows:

By finishing in the top five of LEED territories worldwide, Canada maintains its positive momentum.  Across the country, LEED projects continue to demonstrate leadership in the adoption of rigorous green building practices that reduce buildings’ energy needs and support occupants’ health and well-being.

Green Buildings are Part of Climate Action and Support Healthy, Resilient Communities

About the CaGBC

The Canada Green Building Council is a not-for-profit, national organization that has been working since 2002 to advance green building and sustainable community development practices in Canada. The CaGBC is the Canadian license holder for the LEED green building rating system and supports the WELL Building Standard in Canada.

Together with our membership of over 1,200 industry organizations and more than 2,500 individual members involved in designing, building and operating buildings, homes and communities, the Council has made excellent inroads toward reducing the environmental impact of the built environment.

Acting as the voice of the green building industry the CaGBC advocates for green building policies with all levels of governments and the private sector across Canada.  The Council has also educated over 45,000 green professionals to answer the demand for knowledge and jobs this new green marketplace created.  As a result of this advocacy, education and the hard work of our members, thousands of commercial and government buildings, schools, homes, community centres, and historical structures have been retrofitted or newly constructed to green building standards.

Since 2005, these LEED buildings have eliminated 4.04 million CO2e tonnes of GHG emissions, diverted 3.82 million tonnes of waste from landfill, and saved 37 billion litres of water per year, benefiting all Canadians.