Washington, D.C. Leads U.S. in LEED-Certified Buildings

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Washington, D.C. leads the nation by a wide margin in LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, according to a report released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC’s report ranked the top 10 states based on 2010 U.S. Census data.

The District of Columbia leads the country with a whopping 31.5 square feet of LEED-certified square feet of space per person in 2011. Colorado ranked number two overall, and was the top-ranked state with 2.7 square feet per person.

Illinois, Virginia, Washington State, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, California, New York State, and Minnesota rounded out the top ten rankings. California had the most space to earn LEED certification in 2011, with more than 71.5 million square feet.

The USGBC’s LEED certification program is recognized across the U.S. and world as the foremost system to design, construct, and operate green buildings. Over 44,000 projects currently participate in LEED’s commercial and institutional rating systems, comprising more than 8 billion square feet of space in all 50 U.S. states and 120 countries. Nearly 16,000 homes have been certified by the LEED for Homes rating system, and more than 67,000 homes have been registered in the system.

Two notable factors contributed to D.C.’s top rank and huge margin over all other states, according to Ashley Katz, USGBC media manager. “The District packs in a substantial amount of green buildings due in part to the tremendous leadership from the federal government,” she said. Nearly 30 percent of all U.S. LEED projects are government-owned or -occupied buildings.

Katz also attributed D.C.’s lead to its low residential population compared to its total number of buildings, its small geographic area, and its high commuter rate from Virginia and Maryland.

Several newly certified projects completed the LEED process in 2011, including the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C.—the oldest LEED-certified project in the world. Other notable 2011 certifications include the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois; SFO Airport’s LEED-Gold Terminal 2 in San Francisco, California; and the LEED Platinum Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In December 2011, USGBC announced that LEED-certified existing buildings surpassed new construction by 15 million square feet on a cumulative basis.

Graphic courtesy of U.S. Green Building Council

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