In response to repeated requests for USGBC to establish a benchmark of Houston’ s progress in the adoption of green buildings practices, primarily via the prevalence of LEED projects, Angela Bejarano and I co-authored Greening Our City: Houston 2012 report on Sustainable Buildings. I presented it at the 2012 IREM Energy Stars Luncheon at the Westin Memorial City on July 19.
This report reflects the beginnings of the recovery after the recession and how LEED registrations are bouncing back from a steep decline. Commercial projects dominate LEED projects in Houston. Houston ranks 5th in the number of LEED certified projects and 3rd in the square footage of projects certified in U.S. cities. Houston is second only to Chicago in the number of LEED registered schools as HISD has taken the lead in certifying its schools.
The report does find some shortcomings. Healthcare has a surprisingly low representation of LEED projects throughout the US and Houston is no exception. Houston also has a low ratio of LEED Accredited Professionals per capita.
One of the most surprising findings was that the growth of LEED projects in Houston has mirrored the growth of LEED use in more aggressive cities which either mandate LEED or provide heavy incentives. Houston’s LEED growth is almost exclusively market-driven.
The full report is available here: USGBC_GreeningOurCity_2012