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LEEDers of the New School

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

USGBC releases top 10 states for building sustainability

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual ranking of U.S. states for building sustainability Tuesday, with Massachusetts topping the list. The USGBC ranking is based on LEED-certified gross square footage per capita over the past year. The LEED rating system is said to be "the world’s most widely used green building program" and was created by USGBC "as a leadership standard defining best practices for healthy, high-performing green buildings," per a USGBC press release accompanying the announcement.

JFK International Airport in Queens, New York City, N.Y.—JFKIAT photo

“It was a strong year for LEED certifications across the U.S. as companies and governments embrace LEED as a tool for meeting ESG goals and organizational commitments to climate action, occupant well-being and resource efficiency,” said Peter Templeton, USGBC president and CEO. “LEED buildings are environmentally friendly, cutting their emissions and waste, and use less energy and water. At the same time, they also help reduce operational and maintenance costs, contributing to the bottom line.”

The states following Massachusetts — where 96 buildings encompassing over 26 million square feet were LEED-certified in 2022, equating to nearly 3.7 LEED-certified square feet per resident — were Illinois (3.47 square feet per capita), New York (3.17 square feet per capita), California (2.43 square feet per capita) and Maryland (2.39 square feet per capita).

Public Storage MD21008 in College Park, Maryland.—Public Storage photo

As a federal territory, Washington, D.C., does not appear in the official top 10 list of states, but it consistently leads the nation in LEED-certified square footage per capita, in part because of the federal government and the District’s ongoing commitments to green building. In 2022, the nation’s capital certified over 46 square feet of space per resident across 115 green building projects.

The full rankings:

In 2022, the top 10 states certified 1,225 projects and nearly 353 million gross square feet under LEED.

Since it was first established in 2000, LEED’s metrics-based system has set the standard for healthy, resilient, green buildings. In 2022, USGBC surpassed 100,000 LEED-certified projects globally, totaling more than 11 billion certified gross square feet.

Additional information on the 2022 rankings, along with a listing of notable projects, can be found on the USGBC's Top 10 States for LEED page.

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