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February 2016

Washington back among best states for green building

Washington reclaimed a place on the top 10 states for sustainable building practices, ending a three-year gap. The list is compiled annually by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize "significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation."

Washington, with 101 projects encompassing nearly 17.5 million square feet of LEED certified space, placed fourth on the list. Illinois ranked first, followed by Maryland and Massachusetts.

The per capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2015. Within last year's top 10 states for LEED there were 1,633 total projects certified with 275 million square feet.

"Green construction is quickly outpacing conventional construction in the U.S.," said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. "LEED has become an essential tool for the transformation of building design and construction." He also emphasized LEED construction drives economic growth, and makes communities greener.

LEED-certified spaces use fewer energy and water resources and save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, according to USGBC. Other benefits it cites are reduced carbon emissions and a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

The rankings are now in their sixth year. Illinois and Colorado are the only two states that have made the list every year since 2010. Washington, D.C. is not included due to its status as a federal territory, but USGBC called it the epicenter of green building, noting its 19.3 square feet of certified LEED space per resident led the nation in 2015.  That outperforms Washington, which had 2.6 square feet.

Rounding out the "top 10" list were Colorado, Nevada, California, Texas, Virginia and Utah.