WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released its ranking of the Top 10 States for LEED®, the world's most widely used and recognized green building rating system. The list highlights the regions around the country that are at the forefront of sustainable building design and transformation. Utilizing less energy, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
"The list of the Top 10 States for LEED is a continuing indicator of the widespread recognition of our national imperative to create healthier, high-performing buildings that are better for the environment as well as the people who use them every day," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. "As the economy recovers, green buildings continue to provide for jobs at every professional level and skill set from carpenters to architects. I congratulate everyone in these states whose contributions to resources saved, toxins eliminated, greenhouse gases avoided, and human health enhanced help guarantee a prosperous future for our planet and the people who call it home."
The per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2013. Among states, Illinois moved into the top position for LEED, certifying 171 projects representing 2.29 square feet of LEED space per resident.
"Both the public and private sectors in Illinois recognize that long-term investments in 21st century infrastructure should be done in ways that reduce energy consumption and protect the environment," said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. "Illinois is proud to be the nation's green buildings leader, and we are proof that a smaller environmental footprint can help us step toward energy independence."
The mid-Atlantic region reigned in 2013 with Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia all topping the list. Washington, D.C., had 106 LEED-certified projects representing 32.45 square feet of space per resident. Maryland and Virginia followed Illinois in the second and third positions, respectively, certifying 2.20 and 2.11 square feet of LEED space per resident in 2013.
Newcomers to the top 10 states list from 2012 include:
Oregon, which certified 47 projects representing 1.83 square feet per resident in 2013;
North Carolina, with 1.80 square feet per resident;
Hawaii, with 1.71 square feet per resident; and
Minnesota, with 1.55 square feet per resident.
New York and California, two of the most populous states in the nation, tied for fifth place, with each certifying 1.95 square feet of space per resident in 2013.
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.
Reflecting the continued trend of LEED existing buildings outpacing their newly built counterparts, in 2013 the LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance rating system accounted for 48 percent of total square footage certified in these states. This compares to 43 percent of square footage certified under LEED for Building Design and Construction and 9 percent certified under LEED for Interior Design and Construction.
The full ranking is as follows:
5 (tie) New York
5 (tie) California
7 North Carolina
* Washington, D.C.
*Washington, D.C. is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state.