China tops ranking in global drive towards green buildings

Counties outside the United States are moving fast to green according to the US Green Building Council’s survey of the number of buildings around the world certified under the LEED sustainable rating

Which countries and regions outside the United States made the strongest running last year in delivering green buildings?

According to the US Green Building Council (USGBC), which has just compiled a top-ten ranking for the highest number of buildings certified under the LEED sustainable rating system in 2021, several places are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and operations.

At the top of the classification is China, with 1,077 LEED projects certified in 2021, comprising more than 152 million square feet (14 million gross square metres) of LEED-certified space.

Strong sustainable showing

India and the Republic of Korea also make the top-five, while the United Arab Emirates is just behind in sixth place. Canada takes second spot in the list with 205 LEED-certified projects and Spain rounds out the top-five with exactly 100 certified buildings.

Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Taiwan, China are placed seventh to tenth, respectively. Overall, the top ten were responsible for almost 2,000 projects certified under LEED in 2021, representing 310 million square feet of LEED space.

The top-ten table of countries and regions highlights the international nature of the green buildings movement and illustrates that, despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic, demand for sustainable building is increasing.

The analysis used to create the list grades countries on the total number of LEED projects by square feet and square metres, between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021. The US is not included in the bracket, but with more than 280 million square feet certified in 2021 as meeting the criteria, it remains the world’s largest market for LEED.

Committed to bold action

A US-only ranking of the ‘Top 10 States for LEED’ was revealed, with Illinois again topping the list. Washington, Massachusetts, Colorado and Virginia rounded out the top five, while Utah made an appearance on the list for the first time since 2015.

Peter Templeton, president and chief executive of the USGBC, comments:  ‘Amid the challenges of 2021, governments, companies and other organisations committed to taking bold actions to protect the climate, their employees and their communities.’

LEED certification is applicable for nearly all building types and is based on a holistic assessment and evaluation that considers the whole life cycle of a building. LEED certification can also give a building’s occupants the confidence that the space in which they are inhabiting is reducing its impact on the environment, as well as helping them use less energy and water, avoid waste, and benefit from decent indoor air quality and comfort.

Andrew Sansom is editorial director of SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange. Salus is a content partner of WORKTECH Academy.
Find exclusive content in the


Premium content for Global Partners, Corporate and Community Members.
The latest analysis and commentary on the future of work and workplace in five distinct themes: Research & Insights, Case Studies, Expert Interviews, Trend Publications, and Technology Guides.