LEED for Healthcare - Terminally Ill?

Healthcare is a huge industry, accounting for 17.4 percent of US GDP. LEED simply hasn’t made any significant inroads into this market. There are about 10,000 inpatient healthcare buildings in the United States, totaling 2.4 billion sq.ft., along with 147,000 outpatient buildings comprising 1.8 billion sq.ft. About 30 percent of LEED-registered projects are over 100,000 sq.ft., typically a new hospital or large hospital wing.

Figure 1 shows US LEED Healthcare projects since 2010. You can see that LEED-registered projects range between 150 and 200 annually since 2012 (but only 129 in 2015), but that only 104 projects were certified in 2014 (and 95 in 2015). About 81 percent were for new construction, 17 percent for tenant improvements or remodels (LEED-CI) and only 2 percent for certifying existing building operations. At 11.3 million sq.ft. of certified project area, 2014 LEED healthcare certifications amounted to less than 0.3 percent of the total healthcare building area. 

Figure 1. LEED US Healthcare Projects, 2010–2015

LEED for Healthcare is only marginally engaged with the US healthcare industry.

LEED for Healthcare is only marginally engaged with the US healthcare industry.

It’s hard to assign a market share in the current healthcare market, because many LEED projects are small enough to be outpatient facilities (e.g., clinics) and not hospitals or inpatient facilities. But LEED’s healthcare registration and certification numbers are strikingly small for such a huge market, and there is no indication that real growth will occur in this vitally important building segment. You'd have to conclude that LEED for Healthcare is "terminally ill" and is unlikely to recover any real clout or market acceptance in this vital industry.