Remember when McDonalds’s signs actually featured a running tally on its number of burgers served? The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) seems to be approaching a similar tally with a recent release chronicling the number of commercial projects that have earned LEED green building certification since the program’s inception at the turn of the millennium: 12,000.

“Twelve years after the first 12 projects earned LEED certification, the green building community has reached a significant milestone,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chair, USGBC, in a statement. “The momentum for green buildings is rippling around the globe, enhancing the built environment for generations to come.”

image via U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The 12,000th commercial project to earn LEED designation, in case you were wondering, is the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (Texas) headquarters and visitor center, which earned certification at the Gold level. The building—funded through the Recovery Act and rebuilt after the original center was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008—will house new wildlife exhibits, an environmental education center and National Parks employees.

The project takes its place among  more than 137,000 LEED registered and certified projects, homes, communities and neighborhoods around the world. (One day, we hope, the website of the USGBC will simply say, “billions and billions served.”)

This announcement comes at a significant time for the USGBC, which is currently deciding on the changes to its current standards via its trademark open voting process among member organizations. These changes are aimed at strengthening the benefit of the program to the environment, as well as to increase its utility to architects, home builders, and other building design professionals seeking those all-important LEED points. (Though this year’s proposed changes, as you may recall, have been met with less than love from the Forest Stewardship Council.)

More information about the LEED 2012 standards is available online.

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