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DC, Virginia, Colorado Top List for LEED Certification

Linda Hardesty

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of the top 10 states plus District of Columbia for new LEED certifications in 2012, and once again, the District of Columbia tops the ranking, with 36.97 square feet of LEED space certified per resident in 2012.

DC has rather unfair advantages of being a city rather than a state and having a high density of large federal buildings. Meanwhile, Virginia moved into the position as the top state, with 3.71 square feet certified per resident in 2012, overtaking Colorado, with 2.10 square feet certified per person.

Other top states include Massachusetts, which moved up three positions from 2011, with 2.05 square feet per person; Illinois, with 1.94 square feet; and Maryland, with 1.90 square feet of LEED space certified per resident in 2012.

Reflecting the ongoing trend of LEED existing buildings outpacing their newly built counterparts, in 2012 the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system accounted for 53 percent of total square footage certified in these states, compared to 32 percent certified under LEED for New Construction.

The per-capita list is based on 2010 US Census data and includes commercial and institutional buildings certified under LEED, through which approximately 2.2 billion square feet of space has been certified worldwide through 2012.

Asked if the health of a state’s economy might impact LEED certifications, a spokesman for the USGBC said, “There are many reasons why more green building may take place in one state than another. These may have to do with state and local government policies related to green building, which can vary widely, or the prevalence and advocacy activities of USGBC chapters within each state.”

Worldwide, more than 15,000 commercial projects have certified under LEED, with more than 35,000 additional projects in the pipeline, totaling more than 10.3 billion square feet of space.

Projects that certified in 2012 included:

  • The Chicago Center for Green Technology in Chicago, a LEED Platinum
  • US Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory Research Support Facility in Golden, Colo., LEED Platinum
  • Xcel Energy Headquarters in Denver, Colo., LEED Platinum


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