Green building

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USGBC releases LEED top 10 list

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its annual list of Top 10 States for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the world’s most widely used green building rating system. Illinois topped the list, which ranks states based on the number of LEED-certified square feet per person. The top 10 states for LEED are home to 128 million Americans and together include more than 468 million gross square feet of LEED-certified space.

USGBC says buildings that are LEED-certified create healthier spaces for people, use less energy and water, reduce carbon emissions and save money for taxpayers, families and businesses.

*Included in 2017 Top 10 States for LEED list; **Washington, D.C., is not ranked as it is a federal district, not a state

“These top 10 states are examples of how we can create lasting, measurable change and improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities. A better future requires a universal living standard that leaves no one behind—and that future would simply not be possible without the extraordinary work being done in these states,” Mahesh Ramanujam, the president and CEO of USGBC, says in a press release.

As the No. 1 state for LEED certification in 2018, Illinois certified 172 green building projects, representing 5.31 square feet of LEED-certified space per resident. This is the first time Illinois has taken the top spot since 2015. Washington and Texas returned to the top 10 this year, securing the highest rankings in each state’s history. In addition, Colorado made notable strides in its LEED activity, moving from No. 10 in 2017 to No. 6 on this year’s list.

The top 10 list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects certified throughout 2018. USGBC says it calculates the list using per capita figures to allow for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and number of overall buildings.

While the top 10 recognizes progress at the building level, LEED is also now used to measure sustainability performance at the city and community levels. This year, nine of the top 10 states are also home to LEED-certified cities and communities, including Chicago; Seattle; Austin, Texas; San Diego County and more. There are currently more than 137 registered and certified LEED cities and communities around the world, representing more than 50 million people. Despite Washington, D.C., not appearing in the official top 10 list because of its status as a federal territory, USGBC says it has consistently led the nation in LEED certification. For the full list, including notable projects in each state, visit

March April 2019
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