Global Green Building Adoption: The Way of the Future

Term first born in the 70′, we hear ‘green building’ and know that these buildings are sprouting up around the world, with decades of push from design experts, building standard setters and government entities, what’s the result?

First, we know that the core values behind going green are:

– Optimizing return on human capital from social responsibility

– Energy efficiency through buildings optimized for low emissions and lowered utilities

– Waste reduction through overall building pollution and environmental degradation


Green building is contributing to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from several dimensions 


There are varying levels of adoption and reasoning behind doing so across the world as different climates and areas face the global impact of high energy usage. Globally, commercial buildings account for 50% of global energy use and 42% of fresh water use while being responsible for 50% of the worlds water and air pollution and 42% of greenhouse gas emissions.


Glumac Shanghai office – the 1st LEED Platinum Certified Project in China


China is now the world’s largest green building market. In the past 10 years, the country has soared past others, with more than 1 billion square feet of certified sustainable building space than the United States. This quick adoption is due to country and city level governmental policies pushing for the adoption of green building standards for newly built and renovation projects. With the worlds largest construction market, but also the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, China is now on track to meet the goal of having over 50% of new buildings meeting green building standards.


Changning district in Shanghai – District government provided 23 million yuan ($3.34 million) in subsidies to help building managers optimize building energy efficient


Comparing the now expansive green building numbers of China, other countries are also working towards developing their usage of this building style and design. In the United States, 15% of buildings are now Energy Star or LEED Certified with 9 of the top 10 green cities developing local building ordinances with benchmarking standards similar to the programs of China. The use of governmental policy for buildings is much less widespread in the U.S. with companies choosing to follow green building standards still increasing in popularity in the country.


The REWE store in Berlin produces 40 per cent of its energy consumption by itself and consummes only 50% of energy comparing to a standard building


In Europe, the EU passed the Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB), launching green building performance into a multi-country issue, prior to that, each country managed their policies individually. The biggest goal of this plan is to have all new buildings in the EU be zero energy in 2019. Other directives have since been passed to compliment the EPB and many countries have adopted targets for Zero Energy buildings.

Respetive EPB goals from EU countries

Check out the infographic below for the top 10 countries in LEED certification around the world measured in Gross Square Meters (GSM).

The growing adoption rates of green building around the worlds shines a light on the preservation of our planet. We must continue to increase the usage of sustainable practices to decrease negative environmental impacts. By continuing on this positive path of green building initiatives, a projected 50% of buildings will be green by 2050 and we could see a 30% worldwide reduction of carbon emissions.

The creation of healthy and sustainable indoor environments also translates to a positive environmental impact including sustainable land usage and water and resource conservation.

To learn more about creating healthy indoor spaces, reach out to the gams team today or comment below to start the conversation!