Someone holding a house made from plants

Top 10 States for Green Building

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released its annual list of the states with the most LEED-certified space per resident (measured in square feet), and some of the places included might be surprising. It may seem strange to use space per capita to measure the impact of green building rather than number of projects or total square feet, but according to Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the USGBC, this method “factors in LEED’s potential in a given state to be part of the daily life of the state’s residents. This per-capita approach tells a great story about how LEED has become an important benchmark in the transformation of the nation’s built environment.”

You’ll find the full 2015 list reproduced below along with details on changes from 2014’s list, but first, here are a few key facts and interesting tidbits on the list itself:

  • Illinois and Colorado are the only two states to make the list all five years it has been in existence.
  • Although Washington, DC is not included on the official list because of its designation as a federal territory, its addition would effectively ruin the competition. DC’s mixture of numerous LEED-certified projects combined with a relatively small population create a per-capita square footage that is nearly 10 times that of any of the states on the list.


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  • The mid-Atlantic region is the hottest area for green building. In addition to Washington, DC’s prominence, Maryland and Virginia have been in the top four for the past two years and while North Carolina is not included in the 2015 list, it placed seventh in 2014.
  • The south and southwest regions of the US are showing serious growth in green building. Both Georgia and Arizona cracked the top 10 for the first time.
  • Even though Maryland showed an increase in LEED-certified projects and per-capita square footage, the Free State still lost its number two spot to Colorado, with the Centennial State nearly doubling its per-capita square footage from 1.77 to 3.15.
  • Two LEED rating systems make up 94% of the square footage certified within the top 10 states, with LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance proving the most popular (48%) while LEED for Building Design and Construction was a close second (46%). LEED for Interior Design and Construction was a very distant third, accounting for just 6% of total square footage certified in these states.

USGBC Top 10 States for LEED 2015 List:

Chart showing the top 10 States for Green Building

by: Freddie Rohner, iHire
July 06, 2015

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