One of the LEED certified buildings in Illinois, the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, certifed LEED Gold.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its ranking of the top 10 states for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), the widely used green building rating system. Illinois was named the top state for 2013 with 2.29 square feet  (0.213 sq m) of space per capita certified during the year, followed by Maryland and Virginia.

“The list of the top 10 states for LEED is a continuing indicator of the widespread recognition of our national imperative to create healthier, high-performing buildings that are better for the environment as well as the people who use them every day,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of the USGBC. “As the economy recovers, green buildings continue to provide for jobs at every professional level and skill set from carpenters to architects. I congratulate everyone in these states whose contributions to resources saved, toxins eliminated, greenhouse gases avoided, and human health enhanced help guarantee a prosperous future for our planet and the people who call it home.”

The per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2013. Illinois moved into the top position last year while  certifying 171 projects.

“Both the public and private sectors in Illinois recognize that long-term investments in 21st-century infrastructure should be done in ways that reduce energy consumption and protect the environment,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. “Illinois is proud to be the nation’s green buildings leader, and we are proof that a smaller environmental footprint can help us step toward energy independence.”

The prevalence of LEED certification in the Mid-Atlantic region was reflected in the performance of Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

Washington, D.C., surpassed all the states with 106 LEED-certified projects totaling 19.5 million square feet (1.8 million sq m), representing 32.45 square feet (3.01 sq m) per resident. Maryland and Virginia followed Illinois in the second and third positions among states, certifying 2.204 square feet (0.20 sq m) and 2.11 square feet (0.196 sq m) per resident, respectively.

Newcomers to the top ten states list for 2013 and their square footage per resident are:

  • Oregon with 47 projects, 1.83 square feet (0.170 sq m);
  • North Carolina, 1.80 square feet (0.167 sq m);
  • Hawaii, 1.71 square feet (0.159 sq m); and
  • Minnesota, 1.55 square feet (0.144 sq m).

New York and California, two of the most populous states in the nation, tied for fifth place, each certifying 1.95 square feet (0.181 sq m) of space per resident.

USGBC calculates the list using per-capita figures as a measure of the human element of green building, allowing a fair comparison among states with significant differences in population and number of buildings.

The full rankings follow:

Rank State Projects certified in 2013 Square feet
certified in 2013
square footage
1 Illinois 171 29,415,284 2.29
2 Maryland 119 12,696,429 2.20
3 Virginia 160 16,868,693 2.11
4 Massachusetts 101 13,684,430 2.09
5 (tie) New York 259 37,839,395 1.95
California 595 72,729,476 1.95
6 Oregon 47 6,991,942 1.83
7 North Carolina 133 17,183,099 1.80
8 Colorado 124 8,894,187 1.77
9 Hawaii 17 2,323,379 1.71
10 Minnesota 51 8,205,155 1.55

Notable projects certified in these states in 2013 include:

  • Illinois: The Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, LEED Gold.
  • Maryland: M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, LEED Gold, home of the Baltimore Ravens.
  • Virginia: 1776 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, LEED Platinum, the first commercial building in Arlington to earn Platinum certification.
  • Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, LEED Platinum, the first university research computing center to achieve Platinum certification.
  • New York: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, LEED Silver, home of the Brooklyn Nets and future home of the New York Islanders.
  • California: SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, LEED Gold.
  • Oregon: The Edith Green–Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, LEED Platinum.
  • North Carolina: Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, LEED Gold.
  • Colorado: Fort Collins Museum of Discovery in Fort Collins, LEED Platinum.
  • Hawaii: Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Kapolei, LEED Silver, the largest certified project in the state.
  • Minnesota: The Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity in Northfield, LEED Gold, the college’s third project to earn LEED certification.