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Which 10 states rank highest for green buildings?

Each year, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) ranks the top 10 states that achieve the highest level of certified green buildings.

In 2018, the top state was Illinois for its 172 new projects that were certified for USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The Top 10 states for LEED are home to 128 million Americans and together include more than 468 million gross square feet of LEED-certified space. States are ranked by the number of projects certified and the total number of square feet per person. Buildings that are LEED-certified create healthier spaces for people, as well as use less energy and water, reduce carbon emissions and save money for families, businesses and taxpayers.

“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,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC president and CEO. “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.”

As the top state in 2018, Illinois certified 172 green building projects representing 5.31 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident. The Top 10 list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects certified throughout the year.

The 2018 top 10 states are:

RankStateCertified Gross Square Footage (GSF)GSF Per CapitaCertified Projects

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

Projects in each state in 2018 include:

  • Illinois: Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital is LEED Silver and part of a redeveloped campus that opened in March 2018 with more 700 physicians providing primary, specialty and emergency care.
  • Massachusetts: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, LEED Platinum, served as a prototype for the Cambridge Green Schools Initiative and changed the way the district uses building energy to save resources and as a teaching tool for students.
  • Washington: The LEED Platinum Seattle Fire Station 22 was designed to support firefighters and reuse and conserve non-potable water to meet the station’s needs.
  • New York: Albany Damien Center Residences is a LEED Gold housing project that provides long-term housing stability for more than 400 chronically homeless people living with HIV and AIDS.
  • Texas: The LEED Silver Austin Animal Kennel expanded its facility to meet the city’s growing “no kill” community and provides an additional 44 kennel spaces, plus play yards and adoption rooms.
  • Colorado: Jones Hall at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind is a historic building that achieved LEED Gold and provides a place for visiting families to stay.
  • Hawaii: Hawaii Convention Center achieved LEED Gold and is focused on measuring environmental performance to improve visitor experience.
  • Virginia: Operation Smile’s Global Headquarters used LEED is part of its commitment to make the world a better place with its new LEED Gold office in Virginia Beach.
  • California: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory achieved LEED Gold for Building 301 using LEED v4.1. LEED is used across the campus to compare progress and improve building performance while meeting federal guidelines for sustainable buildings as a contractor to NASA.
  • Maryland: The Merriweather Post Pavilion Stagehouse is a LEED Silver home-away-from-home for touring artists performing at the venue.

For more information on LEED certified buildings, visit. USGBC.

Photo: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School in Cambridge, MA was certified LEED Platinum in 2018.

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