Washington, DC might not be the place to look for an efficient Congress, but it’s definitely the place to find efficient buildings.
The metro DC region once again leads the entire country in per capita new LEED certification for buildings, according to the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The per-capita ranking is based on 2010 US Census data and includes commercial and institutional buildings certified through the LEED program in 2012.
Washington, DC itself is home to 22,246,445 square feet of LEED-certified space, which averages out to 36.97 square feet per resident. While DC does have significant advantages like a small resident population and large number of federal buildings, its per-capita amount is an amazing 10 times higher than the USGBC list’s runner-up.
DC’s Spillover Effects In Neighboring States
The federal government’s green building efforts also helped push DC’s neighboring states into the top ten. Virginia, led by the Northern Virginia suburbs, jumped up two spots from the 2011 per-capita LEED rankings to place second overall.
Virginia was also the top per-capita state with 29,709,574 square feet, an average of 3.71 square feet per resident. Maryland held firm from 2011 and ranked sixth overall with 10,954,324 newly certified square feet, an average of 1.9 square feet per resident.
Overall State Leaders Need Some Love, Too
While per-capita rankings do show green building leadership, they also tend to penalize some of the larger US states who have certified massive amounts of square footage. California led all states with 54,252,993 newly certified square feet, but only ranked 9th overall with 1.46 per capita square feet.
The same trend is visible in Texas and New York, which ranked second and third overall with 36,017,979 and 34,378,286 certified square feet, but only placed 10th and 7th respectively with 1.43 and 1.77 per capita square feet.
Regardless, the 2012 USGBC rankings underscore the significant trend toward green building. “Securing a spot on this list is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved in the green building movement in these states,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair of USGBC.
Retrofits Outpacing New Construction
A notable trend of efficiency retrofits has become apparent. LEED for Existing Buildings accounted for 53% of total square footage certified in the US, while LEED for New Construction only represented 32% of all certifications.
Approximately 2.2 billion square feet across 15,000 commercial projects have been certified through LEED worldwide through 2012, and more than 35,000 additional projects totaling 10.3 billion square feet of space are currently in the certification process pipeline. Roughly 123,000 additional residential units have also been certified under the program.