View on Eiffel tower at sunsetDuring Buildings Day at the COP21 climate conference in Paris, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced their plan to increase the square footage of green buildings by 5 billion over the next 5 years. At COP21 USGBC and 25 other Green Building Councils committed to sharing in the effort to limit global warming to two degrees through new and retrofitted sustainable buildings.

As we gather around the imperatives to address climate change at COP21, we know that buildings must continue to be a key focus area for countries to reach carbon emissions reduction goals,” USGBC President Roger Platt said in a statement. “By encouraging the use of green building rating systems like LEED and EDGE in both the public and private sectors, countries can log immediate and measurable reductions of these emissions as their building stock uses less energy and water, creates less waste, saves money and creates a healthier environment for everyone.”

For this to become a reality, public and private sectors must encourage the use of green building rating systems like LEED. LEED projects are currently in 150 countries and territories, and that number will continue to increase in the next 5 years.

This commitment will impact many areas of the green building industry. USGBC plans to scale up support of green certified buildings, focus on increasing the workforce capacity by expanding educational opportunities and continue to develop relationships with educational partners worldwide. This plan will also allow USGBC to continue to work with governments to develop policies and strategies for public and private sector green buildings worldwide.

The world knows how to build bigger. The commitment to reduce green house emissions will teach the world how to build better. This means by 2018, the U.S. green building industry will account for over 3.3 million jobs, slowly dominating the entire U.S. construction sector. More green buildings mean an improvement to people’s health, wellbeing and a great increase in green building employment opportunities. Make sure you’re prepared to join the green building revolution.