USGBC Ranks the Top 10 States for LEED Certification

01/26/2017 |

USGBC names the top ten states leading the way in sustainable building design, construction and transformation in 2016

USGBC recently released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED, which recognizes states that are leading the way in sustainable building design, construction and transformation in 2016. Together, these states certified 309.12 million gross square feet of space and are at the forefront of the evolving green building movement.

The results are based on 2010 Census data in a per capita list and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified in the year 2016. 

At the head of the pack is Massachusetts, which moved from third to first place, with a total of 136 LEED-certified projects representing 3.73 square feet of certified space per resident. 

Maryland and Virginia continue to rise as they hold down the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Washington, D.C., as the center of green buildings. Illinois and Colorado are the only two states to have made the list every year since 2010, and New York has returned to the rankings after a one-year hiatus.

Washington, D.C., is not included in the list of top states because of the technicality of it being a federal territory, but is notable for its 29.04 square feet of LEED space per resident, more than any state in the U.S. 

“LEED guides our buildings, cities, communities and neighborhoods to become more resource- and energy-efficient, healthier for occupants and more competitive in the marketplace,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC. “The green building movement continues to evolve with advancements in technology, benchmarking and transparency, and the states on this list are leading the way toward a more sustainable future.”

Now in its seventh year, the ranking assesses the total square feet of LEED-certified space per resident based on U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects certified during 2016.

This year’s list has the highest average (2.55 square feet) per capita of LEED-certified space among the top 10 states since 2010. Four of the nine states included in the 2015 list increased the square feet of space they certified per resident in 2016 (Massachusetts, Colorado, California and Virginia).

Rank State Certified Gross Square Footage (GSF) Per-capita Certified GSF Total No. Projects
1 MA* 24,398,765 3.73 136
2 CO* 15,921,457 3.17 92
3 IL* 36,188,485 2.82 151
4 NY 48,405,204 2.5 211
5 CA* 88,891,641 2.39 632
6 NV* 6,397,602 2.37 22
7 MD* 13,426,623 2.33 104
8 VA* 18,444,309 2.31 155
9 WA* 15,103,478 2.25 105
10 TX* 41,942,393 1.67 211
** DC 17,476,447 29.04 120


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