Professionals with sustainable building credentials are in hot demand, according to a recent survey in the United States.

Unveiling the results of a study of job posting from around America, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) says the number of advertisements which specified a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) qualification increased by 46 per cent over the 12 month period to February this year to come in at 9,033.

Top fields being advertised included mechanical, electrical and civil engineering; construction management; architecture; software development; sales management; property management; and interior design.

Furthermore, in an effort to demonstrate what it believes is the supremacy of its LEED certification compared with other rating tools, the USGBC claims a further secondary study of specific green building related positions between January and March this year showed that LEED itself was the highest skill in demand, being mentioned in 59 per cent of all advertisements.

Both studies were conducted by USGBC education partner Pearson using data provided by recruiting agency Burning Glass.

Around the world, demand for professionals with expertise in sustainable architecture and construction has been increasing amid growing demand for lower operating costs, better work environments and higher environmental ratings.

A McGraw Hill study last year found that globally, more than half of firms surveyed within the industry planned at least 60 per cent of their projects to be ‘green’ in coming years, with the trend gaining momentum not just in developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Germany and Norway but also in places such as South Africa, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

According to that report, drivers behind the push for sustainability had shifted beyond ‘doing the right thing’ to hard-core business considerations such as client and market demand for lower energy and operating costs.

By comparison, only 13 per cent planned their future projects to be environmentally friendly in a similar study in 2008.

In a statement, USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi described his organisation’s rating system as a transformative force, adding that numbers of accredited LEED Aps and Green Associates now total more than 197,000.

“This figure tells a powerful story about the value that building-industry employers assign to knowledgeable, LEED-credentialed professionals,” Fedrizzi said, referring to those in the aforementioned study.