Council updates ranking of states by LEED-certified space

Illinois tops the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) list as measured by building square footage certified under the green building rating system. As the number one state in 2018, the Land of Lincoln certified 172 projects equating to 5.31 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident. The list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects certified throughout 2018. USGBC does not include Washington, D.C. in the state ranking, but notes that the District is far and away the leader in terms of 61.74 gross sq. ft. per capita, based on 145 buildings certified in 2018 and spanning 37.2 million gross sq. ft.

“Over the past 25 years, the U.S. Green Building Council, its member companies and the green building community have come together to make our planet stronger, greener and more sustainable through LEED,” says USGBC President Mahesh Ramanujam. “These Top 10 states are examples of how we can create lasting, measurable change and improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities. A better future requires a universal living standard that leaves no one behind—and that future would simply not be possible without the extraordinary work being done in these states.”

USGBC calculates the list using per capita figures to allow for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and number of overall buildings. While the Top 10 States ranking recognizes progress in building practice, LEED is also now used to measure sustainability performance at the city and community levels. For 2018, nine of the Top 10 states are also home to LEED-certified cities and communities, including Chicago, Seattle, Austin and San Diego County. There are currently more than 137 registered and certified LEED cities and communities around the world, representing more than 50 million people.

Research shows green building will continue growing through 2021, USGBC notes. Client demand remains the top reason to build green in the U.S. and occupant health and well-being emerge as the top social factor. Through LEED, USGBC pushes the market toward higher performing buildings that also improve quality of life. Recently, USGBC introduced LEED v4.1, the latest update to the rating system, and opened registration for existing buildings (LEED v4.1 O+M) and new construction (LEED v4.1 BD+C). LEED v4.1 emphasizes human health and integrates performance metrics using Arc to encourage ongoing tracking. There are currently more than 96,275 registered and certified LEED projects in 167 countries and regions.

The impact of buildings, cities and communities on people continues to be a priority for USGBC and across industries. In an effort to expand the Council’s global green building efforts and ensure that LEED is not only the de facto leadership standard, but also the pre-eminent living standard, USGBC launched the Living Standard campaign at the 2018 Greenbuild in Chicago. Focused on the belief that storytelling can lead to a more sustainable world, it aims to highlight stories—big and small—that capture how USGBC, LEED and other sustainability programs are raising the quality of life for people around the