Thursday, January 19, 2012

Top 10 States for LEED Green Buildings

Ashley Katz
Media Manager
U.S. Green Building Council

Today, USGBC released its top 10 list of states with the most LEED-certified building square footage per capita. The District of Columbia leads the nation, with more than 31 square feet of LEED-certified space per person in 2011, and Colorado is the leading state, with 2.74 square feet per person in 2011. Other top states include Illinois, Virginia and Washington, with 2.69, 2.42 and 2.18 square feet of LEED-certified space per person, respectively.

See the full rankings below:

1. District of Columbia - 31.50 sq. ft. per capita
2. Colorado - 2.74
3. Illinois - 2.69
4. Virginia - 2.42
5. Washington - 2.18
6. Maryland - 2.07
7. Massachusetts - 2.00
8. Texas - 1.99
9. California - 1.92
10. New York - 1.89
11. Minnesota - 1.81

The metrics: Our list is based on official U.S. Census data from 2010, and square footage totals were crunched by our LEED Operations team.

Why per capita? Buildings are for people, so by looking at the hard data with the population they serve in mind creates a snapshot of the states that excelertate their portfolio of LEED-certified places to work, play, learn, live, heal, etc. in 2011.

Why did we include 11 entries in the top 10 list? Since D.C. is a federal district and not a state, we wanted to cover all the bases and make sure we included 10 states, but also underscore the District’s leadership in green building.

Why does D.C. eclipse the other states per by such a large margin? A few reasons. Although Washington, D.C. is a very small geographic area compared to U.S. states, the District packs in a substantial amount of green buildings due in part to the tremendous leadership from the government (nearly 30% of all LEED projects are government-owned or occupied LEED buildings, and the federal government alone owns and operates some 500,000 buildings) . On top of that, D.C. has a low residential population in comparison to the number of buildings it contains, on account of its small size and high commuter rate from Virginia and Maryland.

The rankings above reflect many buildings, but some notable, newly certified projects in 2011 include the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., which is distinguished as the oldest LEED-certified project in the world; the LEED Platinum Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colo.; the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago, Ill.; Frito-Lay in Lynchburg, Va., which earned LEED Gold for the operations and maintenance of an existing building; the LEED Silver Hard Rock CafĂ© in Seattle, Wash.; Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.; Yawkey Distribution Center of The Greater Boston Food Bank in Mass.; the LEED Gold Austin Convention Center in TX; SFO’s LEED Gold Terminal 2 in San Francisco, Calif.; the LEED Platinum Hotel Skylar in Syracuse, N.Y.; and the LEED Platinum Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minn.

In terms of totals, there are more than 44,000 commercial projects participating in LEED, comprising more than 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries.

Without further ado: Congratulations to the top states! The list above is leading our country in creating healthier, more efficient buildings that serve our communities and our planet.

The Stadium!Me Look SkywardWolf Law Building, Baseline and BroadwayRoof gardenKohl's Children's Museum 310Hyatt Building Starbucks in Virginia SquareTransit Center 146Columbia Center / Bank of America tower - IMG_1466Davenport Hotel - Hall of the DogesUniversity of Maryland University College Inn & Conference CenterLeft Turn Only Boston at lunch hour 001-300MA Boston - Children's MuseumWilliams Tower - TopTransamerica Pyramid.Capella Tower
Read the press release »
Access the full LEED-certified project list »


  1. Jennifer and Ashley,

    Thanks so much for the update. Living in Colorado and working on LEED projects I am especially proud of our state. Though I am currently looking for work, LEED has been a great addition to my list of skills and I am hoping I will be tangled up in its intracies again shortly.

  2. What a great program you have. It inspired me to make it the subject of my latest podcast!

    Keep up the good work.

    Karl Trautman

  3. Hi Jennifer,

    I do not agree with the methodology of normalizing by per capita. It does not show how different sectors are doing- commercial vs residential. As a professional in commercial world, I care about my representative population. Please consider revising

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  5. Great article about Green Buildings, i'm interested about all articles about this topic and i need add Nevada to your list also. thanks for share.

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  7. Not surprised to see my state not up there, but am surprised to see New York. I think we will see a large jump from Texas after they passed the mandatory green building. I don't know all the implications of green building but I am assuming there is going to be a jump in modular homes nationwide.

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  9. Wow that's an wonderful list and good to hear that these states are so far forward in taking and applying these things to their states to make feel proud that they are environmental friendly.I think every nation should follow these steps to make a good and livable environment.Thanks for such a nice post.
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  10. Really awesome list provided hope other states in world follow the same.Thanks for such a nice post.
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