Illinois leads among all states for the second consecutive year; newcomers Georgia and Arizona show momentum with LEED in the South and Southwest.

Top 10 States for LEED Green Building Per Capita Released by USGBC

Illinois leads among all states for the second consecutive year; newcomers Georgia and Arizona show momentum with LEED in the South and Southwest.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system, ranking states in terms of square feet of LEED space per state resident.

The per-capita list highlights states throughout the country that are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water resources, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

“Every story about a green building is a story about people,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. USGBC’s annual recognition of the Top 10 States for LEED goes beyond gross square feet or number of projects and factors in LEED’s potential in a given state to be part of the daily life of the state’s residents. This per-capita approach tells a great story about how LEED has become an important benchmark in the transformation of the nation’s built environment. LEED certified buildings and the innovations they have driven contribute substantially to our national economic growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life in the communities where they are found. We commend the business and community leaders, policy makers and green building professionals in each of these states for making the commitment to create a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Now in its fifth year, the per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2014. Illinois retained its top national position for the second year in a row, with 174 LEED certifications representing 3.31 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident.

2014’s list had the highest average (2.34) of per capita space certified per resident per state since 2010, and the second highest average to date. Six of the eight states (IL, CO, MD, VA, MA and HI), which were also on the list in 2013, increased the amount of square feet of space they certified per resident in 2014. Illinois and Colorado are the only two states to make the list every year since 2010.

The full ranking is as follows:

Rank

State

Projects certified in 2014

Square feet LEED certified in 2014

Per-capita square footage

1

Illinois

174

42,457,254

3.31

2

Colorado

102

15,816,498

3.15

3

Maryland

132

15,583,423

2.70

4

Virginia

150

18,617,712

2.33

5

Massachusetts

99

14,662,950

2.2

6

Hawaii

30

2,657,808

1.95

7

California

517

69,762,936

1.87

8

Georgia

87

17,748,781

1.83

9

Minnesota

39

9,511,684

1.79

10 (tied)

Arizona

82

11,152,201

1.74

10 (tied)

New York

250

33,691,209

1.74

*

Washington, D.C.

102

17,716,622

29.44

*Washington, D.C. is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state.

USGBC calculates the list using per-capita figures as a measure of the human element of green building, allowing for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and, accordingly, number of overall buildings.

In 2014, LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance was once again the most popular rating system within the top 10 states, representing 48 percent of the total square footage certified. LEED for Building Design and Construction was the second most popular rating system in the top 10, representing 46 percent of the square footage certified and LEED for Interior Design and Construction was the third most popular rating system, representing 6 percent of total square footage certified in these states in 2014.

Collectively, 1,662 commercial and institutional projects became LEED certified within the top 10 states in 2014, representing 251.7 million square feet of real estate. Worldwide, 4,502 projects were certified in 2014, representing 675.7 million square feet.

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