New USGBC Report Estimates More Than 1.2 Million People Experience a LEED-Certified Retail Space Every Day

‘LEED in Motion: Retail’ report also reveals nearly 8,000 retailers worldwide participate in LEED.

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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced a new report detailing the extensive involvement of the retail industry with LEED and the impact of the globally recognized green building rating system on retail development and the consumer experience. The release of the LEED in Motion: Retail report was announced at USGBC’s annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo, currently taking place in New Orleans.
The report is the latest in USGBC’s popular LEED in Motion series designed to equip readers with the insight and knowledge to understand LEED and to make the case for sustainable building practices worldwide.
“All of us are consumers,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “LEED enables retailers to make sustainable business decisions and empowers consumers to make choices they feel good about. LEED is used by ‘big box’ retailers and mom and pop shops alike, from end-to-end across the global economy. The LEED in Motion: Retail report demonstrates the power of green building to impact consumer experience and, ultimately, the bottom lines of retailers across sectors.”
Highlights of the LEED in Motion: Retail report include:

  • USGBC’s conceptualization of the future of retail, emphasizing the economic and social benefit of green building for retailers of all sizes and types.
  • Interviews with industry leaders including Jonathan Balas, senior manager of global sustainability for Yum! Brands and Curt Radkin, senior vice president of corporate properties for Wells Fargo & Company.
  • Profiles of site-specific retail projects including the Destiny USA shopping complex in Syracuse, the Nike Store at the Unicenter in Buenos Aires and the Ušće Shopping Mall in Belgrade.
  • Listing of the top 10 U.S. states and the top 10 countries with LEED for Retail certified projects.

The report outlines the many ways LEED certification delivers a superior consumer experience, including the benefits of circulating fresh air, setting a consistently comfortable temperature and utilizing daylight wherever possible. Additionally, the report shows that 100 percent of those retailers participating in LEED reduced the pollution and land development impact of their buildings by meeting LEED’s sustainable site standard.

The report also includes a foreword from Starbucks, which achieved a milestone this year as it opened its 500th LEED-certified store. Profiles of Target, with 143 LEED-certified stores, and Kohl’s, with 434 LEED-certified stores are also included. 

“Achieving the milestone of 500 LEED certified stores is an important moment for Starbucks as it is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to reduce our impact on the environment,” said Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact, Starbucks. “More importantly though, it represents the possibility for green retail and the value of working together to achieve solutions at scale. We are proud of our collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, the role LEED plays in our business and the possibility it holds as we continue to identify new and innovative ways to raise the bar in green building.” 
In 2007, USGBC launched a pilot program to specifically address the needs of retailers. Subsequently, the LEED for Retail rating system was formally established in 2010. Some of the prominent adopters of LEED for Retail include Bank of America, Starbucks, Target, Wells Fargo, Walgreens, Nike and Yum! Brands. Additionally, many retailers utilize LEED volume certification, which saves participants time and money as they develop multiple properties with similar attributes – a great fit for big box and chain retailers.
“The holiday season is approaching quickly, a time when retailers go the extra mile to meet consumer demand, not just for products and services but also for an enriching shopping experience and a set of values in line with their own,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, COO, USGBC. “The nearly 8,000 retailers already participating in LEED have a leg-up as they actively address the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit every day.”
The LEED in Motion: Retail report is currently available to download for free on the USGBC website: