Snow covered Longs Peak, part of the Rocky Mountains stands tall in the background with green trees and the Downtown Denver skyscrapers as well as hotels, office buildings and apartment buildings filling the skyline.
Green living continues to be high on the priority list for many homeowners across the U.S. Every year, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) tracks how many LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects are finished each year, as well as which states rank at the top for the most LEED-certified square feet per person.
Overall, in 2019, there were 2,209 total LEED-certified projects, totaling 501.08 million gross square footage.
What does it mean to be LEED-certified? According to the USGBC, these projects “support personal health and well-being.” They also reduce carbon emissions and save money for families, businesses and taxpayers by using less energy and water.
Here’s how the top 10 rank:
1. Colorado Number of Certified Projects: 102
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 23,962,344
GSF Per Capita: 4.76
2. Illinois Number of Certified Projects: 121
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 49,363,822
GSF Per Capita: 3.95
3. New York Number of Certified Projects: 193
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 72,778,916
GSF Per Capita: 3.76
4. Massachusetts Number of Certified Projects: 101
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 24,505,512
GSF Per Capita: 3.74
5. Hawaii Number of Certified Projects: 12
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 4,083,713
GSF Per Capita: 3.00
6. Maryland Number of Certified Projects: 96
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 15,234,554
GSF Per Capita: 2.64
7. Virginia Number of Certified Projects: 98
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 19,981,112
GSF Per Capita: 2.50
8. Minnesota Number of Certified Projects: 25
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 12,708.706
GSF Per Capita: 2.40
9. Oregon Number of Certified Projects: 33
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 8,825,432
GSF Per Capita: 2.30
10. California Number of Certified Projects: 400
Gross Square Footage (GSF): 80,669,066
GSF Per Capita: 2.17
View more details in the below infographic:
Changes from last year? Virginia continues on an upward trend, and Minnesota and Oregon return to the top 10 after missing in 2018. Additionally, because Washington, D.C., is a federal district, it does not make the list; however, it leads the U.S. in green building with 52.86 square feet of LEED space per resident.
During the 2019 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, USGBC introduced a new pathway for the LEED initiative, titled LEED positive—no longer solely focusing on reducing harm, but now working towards repairing and restoring as well. “As we embark on a new decade, the USGBC community is focused on helping more projects get on the path to LEED certification and a more sustainable future,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC, in a statement. “Over the last year, the top 10 states have certified projects that serve as incredible examples of how green building can create more sustainable and resilient spaces that improve our living standard. There is still much work to be done, but the progress made across these states shows us that our work is having a tangible impact on people’s lives. As we enter our next chapter, we are committed to helping more buildings, cities and communities improve their sustainability performance through LEED.”
For more information, and to view an interactive chart of the ranking, visit USGBC.org.