USGBC Releases Annual Ranking of Top 10 States for LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual ranking of the Top 10 States in the nation for LEED with the state of Illinois placing first.

The per-capita list highlights states throughout the country that are making impactful 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,” says 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.

“Illinois has so many committed business and community leaders, policy makers and green building professionals who are using LEED to transform their built environment, producing many innovative spaces that will improve the health of our shared planet, as well as the health of the people who use those buildings every day,” adds Fedrizzi.

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 certified 174 projects representing 42,457,254 square feet of real estate, or 3.31 square feet per resident, in 2014.

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.

“Illinois has long been a green building trend setter where companies have made sustainability part of their business plan,” says Brian Imus, executive director of USGBC Illinois Chapter. “As a result, Illinois is now positioned to be a leading exporter of sustainable technology and design to emerging markets where demand for LEED is growing exponentially.”

A sample of notable projects certified in Illinois in 2014 include:

There are more than 487 USGBC member organizations with a headquarters in Illinois and more than 10,273 LEED credential professionals across the state.

The full ranking of the top 10 states includes:

 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
 
2.20
 
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
 
Not ranked
 
Washington D.C.
 
102
 
17,716,622
 
29.44

(Washington is not ranked, because it is a federal district, not a state.)

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.

More than 26,600 projects representing 3.6 billion square feet of space have been LEED certified to date, with another 42,000 projects representing 8.8 billion square feet in the pipeline for certification. USGBC launched LEED v4, the newest version of the rating system, in the fall of 2013. The latest version continues to raise the bar for the entire green building industry, which Forbes Magazine projects could be worth up to $960 billion globally by 2023. LEED v4 features increased technical rigor; new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and midrise residential projects; and a simplified submittal process supported by a robust and intuitive technology platform.

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