Which States Have the Most 'Green' Building Space?


Illinois led the nation in 2013 with the most building space per capita certified to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standard, according to a ranking released Feb. 18.

Illinois certified 171 projects representing 2.29 square feet of LEED space per resident, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which developed the voluntary LEED standard, said in its ranking of the top 10 states for LEED in 2013.

“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,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said in a statement. “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 annual ranking is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2013. The USGBC uses per-capita figures to allow for a fair comparison among states with significant differences in population and number of overall buildings.

Maryland and Virginia ranked second and third on the 2013 green building list, certifying 2.20 and 2.11 square feet, respectively, of LEED space per resident. Other states in the top 10, in ranking order, were Massachusetts, New York, California, Oregon, North Carolina, Colorado, Hawaii and Minnesota.

Washington, D.C., had a far higher per-capita rate of LEED certifications in 2013, with 32.45 square feet of space per resident. Washington, which is not part of the council's state ranking because it is a federal district, has the highest per-capita rate due to the large number of federal buildings that meet the standard.

The top 10 states collectively certified 1,777 commercial and institutional projects to the LEED standard in 2013, representing 226.8 million square feet of real estate.

LEED, which was updated in July, is the most widely used and recognized green building rating system in the world.


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