Early in March 2009, four international sustainable building organizations signed an agreement to develop a common metric for measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in new homes and other buildings. The organizations—BREEAM, a program of United Kingdom-based BRE Trust and BRE Global; the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA); and the UK Green Building Council—will form a working group to develop the CO2 emissions metrics and will align their respective green building rating tools—including USGBC's LEED and GBCA's Green Star programs—to provide consistency in measurement and reporting.

With the world's focus on sustainability shifting more toward reducing CO2 emissions from buildings, demand for a universal method for measuring emissions and for greater consistency and comparability among the many green building rating systems in operation has been growing. The allied organizations seek to achieve this goal.

"The Memorandum of Understanding sets the stage for true progress by focusing on performance that is measurable and verifiable," said USGBC's president and CEO, Rick Fedrizzi. "As we work to alleviate the role buildings play in climate change—nearly 39 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States—it's vital that we are able to measure carbon emissions in a consistent, reliable way."