The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) on January 19 released data on the 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) with the largest square footage per capita of commercial and institutional building space to earn LEED certification in 2011. DC was included on the list because it outranked all the leading states, and did so by a healthy margin. The District came in with 31.5 square feet of LEED certified building space per person. In contrast, the top 10 states all ranged between 2.74 and 1.81 square feet per person.
The local area was well represented on the list. In addition to the District’s leading performance, Virginia ranked third among the states and Maryland fifth. The other top five states were Colorado in first, Illinois second, and Washington State, placing fourth. “This is a great accomplishment for the D.C. metropolitan region and a testament to the drive, commitment and leadership of all those who live, work and play in our community,” said Mike Babcock, board chair of the National Capital Region Chapter of USGBC. “We also realize there is still more to do and hope to effectively guide the effort by engaging, educating and encouraging the dialogue around the value of sustainability.”
In terms of the total square footage of commercial and institutional building space earning LEED certification in 2011, as opposed to the per capita figures, Virginia came in with 19.4 million, DC more than 18.5 million, and Maryland just under 12 million square feet.
USGBC Media Manager Ashley Katz attributes much of Washington DC’s per capita leadership to the city’s small population “in comparison to the number of buildings it contains” and, we would add, in comparison with most states, along with the fact that the Federal government accounts for nearly 30% of all LEED certification projects.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. According to the USGBC, “Over 44,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising more than 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries.”