Organizational Change
U.S. Green Building Council Certifies 20,000th LEED Commercial Project

The Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) plant in Knoxville, Tenn., last week became the 20,000th LEED certification for a commercial project issued by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

As the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system, LEED guides the design, construction and operation of 10.5 billion square feet of commercial and institutional space worldwide. By using less energy, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

The Knoxville plant is the seventh LEED-certified facility for GMCR, based in Waterbury, Vt. Sustainable features of the project include a high-efficiency HVAC system, a solar reflectance roof coating and water-efficient plumbing fixtures that result in a 32 percent reduction in water use. Recycled content totals more than 24 percent of all building materials, work stations and seating, while a quarter of all building materials were harvested or manufactured within 500 miles of the project. The project also features high efficiency lighting fixtures, daylighting and lighting controls, and renewable power sources generate more than 50 percent of the required power.

“The 20,000th LEED certification belongs to an organization that shares our social and environmental values, and we applaud GMCR on its accomplishment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. "This is an important milestone in our mission to drive market transformation in the built environment to practices that make healthy, high performing buildings a fact of life.

"We've shown that LEED works, and the companies and organizations that use LEED set a high bar for leadership," he continued. "But there is much work to be done, and even as we mark this milestone, we're completing the launch of the next version of the rating system that will drive building performance to the next level."

In November 2013, USGBC launched LEED v4, the newest version of the rating system that is poised to raise the bar for the entire green building industry, which McGraw-Hill Construction projects will be worth up to $248 billion by 2016. LEED v4 features increased technical rigor; a more intuitive online technology platform and simplified LEED credit submittal requirements; as well as new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential projects.

In related news, the General Motors Enterprise Data Center in Warren, Michigan in September received Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, putting it among the fewer than 5 percent of data centers in the U.S. to achieve such certification. This marks the company’s fifth LEED-certified facility.

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