In order to remain relevant in a rapidly changing market, technology must evolve; LEED, as a market transformation instrument, is no different. The suite of LEED Green Building Rating Systems has enjoyed remarkable and unprecedented growth as the building industry has sought to engage with its concepts and technical criteria. LEED has been an incontrovertible success as a tool to promote market transformation and recognize buildings with exemplary green pedigrees. As of May 1, 2008, 3.5+ billion square feet of building projects (10,000+ individual projects) have registered intent to seek LEED certification with dozens more signing up every day. LEED's rapid success presents its stewards, the USGBC membership, with an opportunity to advance the system to ensure that future buildings certified under its criteria are even greener than the stock in the pipeline to date.
LEED has always existed and enjoyed unparalleled success, in part, due to its ability to operate in the dynamic tension between the pursuit of environmental excellence and the business realities of buildings industry. While the urgency of pending environmental crises that face the coming generations weighs heavily on all of us, there is recognition that LEED cannot completely forsake market uptake for environmental priorities. Issues like global climate change may be the most urgent and dire social equity issues that we have ever faced, and they demand immediate, effective action. In spite of this knowledge, we also acknowledge that no transformation is catalyzed if the bar set by LEED is unachievable in the context of existing technological and economic boundaries.
Continuing to strike the optimal balance between market uptake and technical advancement is one of the driving forces behind the LEED 2009 work. Additionally, much has been invested in the current LEED system and, as a direct result, a concerted effort has been made to ensure that LEED 2009 capitalizes on the existing market momentum.
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