Green Building Has Positive Economic Impact

  • Oct 29, 2015

It’s long been known that Green and LEED-certified spaces reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and communities.

According to a new U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) study from Booz Allen Hamilton, Green and LEED construction have now proven themselves as an economic stimulus, adding significantly to U.S. GDP, jobs and labor earnings.

From 2011-2014, the green construction market:

  • Generated $167.4 billion in GDP;
  • Supported over 2.1 million jobs; and
  • Provided $147.7 billion in labor earnings.

The study predicts that this positive economic trend will grow in the future with green construction expected to generate an additional:

  • $303.4 billion in GDP;
  • 9 million jobs; and
  • $268.4 billion in labor earnings from 2015-2018.

LEED construction specifically is projected to contribute an additional:

  • $108.8 billion in GDP;
  • 4 million jobs; and
  • $95.7 billion in labor earnings from 2015-2018.

The impact of green construction is felt strongly in Texas. The state leads the nation in the industry with a $61.7 billion economic impact on Texas GDP.  This impact translates into 720,000 jobs and labor earnings of $41.3 billion for the state. Texas is forecasted to continue to lead this positive trend through 2018 when green construction will contribute $107.1 billion to GDP along with 1,259,000 jobs and $71.7 billion in labor earnings.

“Our research shows that green building has created millions of jobs and contributed hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, with the construction of LEED-certified buildings accounting for about 40 percent of green construction’s overall contribution to GDP in 2015,” said David Erne, a Senior Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton. “This industry is certainly on the rise, and aggressive growth in the green building sector is anticipated over the next four years.”

Green buildings are defined as ones built to LEED standards, an equivalent green building certification program, or one that incorporates numerous green building elements across five category areas: energy efficiency, water efficiency, resource efficiency, responsible site management and improved indoor air quality.

In addition to national jobs, GDP and labor earnings from green buildings, the study projects significant growth in green building’s contribution to individual states’ tax contributions. LEED-related employment, in 2014, was directly responsible for $1.09 billion of individual income tax and is expected to increase to a $1.5 billion contribution by 2018.

More than 2.3 million U.S. workers are taking home $134 billion annually in large part because of green building programs like LEED, and contributing that money to their local economies. Demand for green building will only continue to grow as individuals, businesses and institutions continue to prioritize sustainable approaches to the design, construction and operations of cities and communities.

Read more in The US Green Building Council Economic Impact Study.

Learn more about Beck’s approach to sustainability.