Washington State Ranks 5th for LEED Buildings

Source:  Ashley Katz, Media Manager, U.S. Green Building Council, January 19, 2012.The 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.

The top ten states (and DC) are:

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, DC which is distinguished as the oldest LEED-certified project in the world; the LEED Platinum Casey Middle School in Boulder, CO; the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago, IL; Frito-Lay in Lynchburg, VA, which earned LEED Gold for the operations and maintenance of an existing building; the LEED Silver Hard Rock Café in Seattle, WA; Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, MD; Yawkey Distribution Center of The Greater Boston Food Bank in MA; the LEED Gold Austin Convention Center in TX; SFO’s LEED Gold Terminal 2 in San Francisco, CA; the LEED Platinum Hotel Skylar in Syracuse, NY; and the LEED Platinum Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, MN.

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.