LEED per resident per U.S. State

The U.S. Green Building Council, USGBC, has issued its annual list of the top 10 states for new LEED certifications in 2012, accompanied by an infographic.


The per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional buildings certified under LEED, through which approximately 2.2 billion square feet (204,386,688 square meter) of space has been certified worldwide through 2012.

Aside from the ranking, we find three facts interesting:

1) The huge gap between state number one, District of Columbia (36.97 square feet or 3.43 square meter of LEED space certified per resident in 2012) and the rest. The number two on the list, the Sate of Virginia, reports a 3.71 square feet (0.34 square meter) of LEED space certified per resident in 2012. Diving deeper into local demographics, geographies and built-up space would make the ranking more insightful.

2) The figures are in general disappointingly low. We have tried to find some reliable figures about the percentage of space that is now LEED-certified against space that is not LEED-certified but have serious doubt about the quality of the figures we were able to find.

3) There is no mention about at which LEED-level the space is certified; only about the growth percentages in each level. Adding this layer would add great information value to the figures.

In 2012, reflecting the ongoing trend of LEED existing buildings outpacing their newly built counterparts, the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system accounted for 53 percent of total square footage certified in these states, compared to 32 percent certified under LEED for New Construction. The full ranking, which includes 10 states plus Washington, D.C., lists the square footage of certified projects in 2012:

1. District of Columbia: 22.2 million total square feet / 36.97 square feet per capita

2. Virginia: 29.7 million total square feet / 3.71 square feet per capita

3. Colorado: 10.5 million total square feet / 2.10 square feet per capita

4. Massachusetts: 13.3 million total square feet / 2.05 square feet per capita

5. Illinois: 24.9 million total square feet / 1.94 square feet per capita

6. Maryland: 10.9 million total square feet / 1.90 square feet per capita

7. New York: 34.3 million total square feet / 1.77 square feet per capita

8. Washington: 10.5 million total square feet / 1.56 square feet per capita

9. California: 54.2 million total square feet / 1.46 square feet per capita

10. Texas: 36 million total square feet / 1.43 square feet per capita

11. Nevada: 3.7 million total square feet / 1.39 square feet per capita

“Securing a spot on this list is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved in the green building movement in these states,” USGBC president Rick Fedrizzi said in a statement. “From architects and designers to local chapter advocates, their collective efforts have brought sustainable building design and use to the forefront of the national discussion on the environment.”



T. Caine

I’m not sure it’s all that surprising that the per capita rate of LEED square footage would be so much higher in D.C. than the next on the list. After all, D.C. isn’t really a state, it’s more of a city. It’s deployment of LEED space is focused on a small area with a population of only 623,000 people. Texas, on the other hand has 26 million residents.

Bastiaan Brouns

Surely this is part of the explanation. But you would expect the difference between Texas and DC with 36 million sgf certified in 2012 and DC with 22.2 million sgf, bigger, wouldn’t you not?

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