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The Top 10 States for LEED Green Building Per Capita in Nation

Published on 4 Feb 2015Written by Marisa Long Posted in Media

Illinois leads among all states for the second consecutive year; newcomers Georgia and Arizona show momentum with LEED in the South and Southwest

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED, the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system, ranking states in terms of square feet of LEED space per state resident. The per-capita list highlights states throughout the country that are making significant 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,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. 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.”

Now in its fifth year, 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 retained its top national position for the second year in a row, with 174 LEED certifications representing 3.31 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident.

Two newcomers to the list, Georgia and Arizona, show that 2014 was a year of major growth for LEED in the South and Southwest regions of the country, while the continued strong performance of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have helped the mid-Atlantic region remain the epicenter of green building across the country. Washington, D.C., which is not included on the official list of top states due to its status as a federal territory, is notable as it continues to lead the nation with 29.44 square feet of space per resident certified in 2014. Maryland and Virginia finished third and fourth respectively and both states increased their per capita totals to 2.70 and 2.33 square feet of LEED space per resident in 2014.

The full ranking is as follows:

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 2.2
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
* Washington, D.C. 102 17,716,622 29.44

*Washington, D.C. is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state.

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.

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.

 Marisa Long

Public Relations & Communications Director U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC staff


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LEED Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non profit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

Chemline, Inc. is a member of The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has the potential to provide LEED points.