An industry effort began in 2010 and successfully led in 2014 to establishing a "Data Center" sub-category under LEED v4.
So we're now in 2015 and I wanted to see how far reaching is the industry's enthusiasm in certifying their data centers for LEED Platinum, Gold, Silver or plain "Certified".
I went to the source at the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and-not to my surprise- I was able to download a list of non-classified projects that are certified, as well in those in the review process queued up for the award notification (a systemic and lengthy process involving many disciplines and consultants). Using this available USGBC data as well as cross-checking many references from websites (...to be as inclusive as possible), I was able to globally map out the locations- as well as the Award Certification Level. This is an interactive map with metadata information available for each project that is represented by a dot.
Some observations that stand out: (1) The US overwhelmingly leads the LEED in the number of buildings certified. This is understandable as it is the country of origin for the LEED rating system where it is widely respected and implemented (and sometimes enforced!). Being a major hub for internet traffic and e-commerce also helps as rich corporations can afford the additional costs of LEED projects, but ultimately can also absorb the longer paybacks while justifying (and heavily marketing) their sustainability commitment to the public.
(2) It is encouraging to see China and Europe following suit to the US as data centers become a vital part of their economies.
(3) Latin America, Russia, Asia are at their infancy levels while there is a complete absence from Africa.
As I mentioned, this list is not inclusive of every project awaiting certification and I hope there are more from those regions. I appreciate comments by readers on projects that are on the "drawing board". However, it is also worth noting that many owners also design their facilities up to LEED standards without certifying them. As such, those projects are not considered certified no matter what language is used in marketing them.
In conclusion, LEED certified data centers are widely accepted, they are here to stay, and they are on the rise. Contact me if you have any questions on the LEED certification process for your data center.