Green building movement becoming increasingly global

The green building movement is becoming increasingly global, according to the latest rankings of countries that are making significant progress in the design, construction and operation of sustainable assets.

Glumac’s office in Shanghai, which received LEED Platinum certification

The United States Green Building Council’s Top Ten Countries and Regions for LEED in 2023, which has just been published, shows that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are new entrants in the global rankings, while China continues to top the list.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used green building rating system. LEED certification provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings, which offer environmental, social and governance benefits. 

The annual rankings show “remarakable progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, health impacts and operating costs in buildings around the world,” the USGBC said. The list ranks countries based on total LEED-certified space between 1 January and 31 December 2023.

China topped the list again last year, with 1,563 LEED projects certified, representing over 24.5 million sq m. Canada ranked second with 280 projects encompassing nearly 8 million sq m. India came third with over 7.2 million sq m.

Turkey entered the top ten for the first time at number four with 36 LEED-certified projects representing more than 2.9 million sq m, among them the high-profile Okmeydani Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia was also a new entry at number six, showing how the Middle East is engaging more with the sustainability challenge.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia replaced Sweden and the Philippines, which were in the 2022 top ten rankings.

At COP28 in Dubai last year over two dozen countries, including the United States, joined the Buildings Breaktrough, a partnership that commits to the vision that resilient buildings with near-zero emissions will be the “new normal” by 2030.

The USGBC rankings exclude the United States, which remains the world’s largest market for LEED, with 55 million sq m certified in 2023.

In 2023, there were more than 6,000 LEED commercial projects worldwide.

Top 10 Countries and Regions for LEED in 2023
RankCountry/RegionProject CountSquare FeetSquare Meters
1Mainland China1,563264,287,540.1324,553,139.67
6Saudi Arabia5723,341,412.462,168,490.27
9South Korea6720,219,534.971,878,458.08
Source: USGBC