The nation’s capital once again crowns the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) list of top states for LEED certification in 2012. The annual list ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia for space certified during the year, measured in square feet per capita.
“One thing LEED has been really good at over the years is creating the sense of healthy competition,” notes Scot Horst, senior vice president for LEED at USGBC. “Competition has this really healthy way of increasing strength—or, in this case, sustainability.”
Aside from D.C., which consistently outstrips the others (“It has a lot fewer people in a small area with fewer buildings,” Horst explains), just three states have placed in the top ten every year the list has been released: Colorado, Illinois, and Washington. And just three can boast an increase in their per capita LEED certifications between 2011 and 2012: D.C., Massachusetts, and Virginia. All the other states, even those that ranked higher on the list this year, saw a decrease in certified square footage per capita.
Horst explains that the per capita metric serves a few important purposes. “When we started, we were just looking at the number of projects,” he says. “But if we’re really going to talk about having green buildings for everyone, you start to see how that per capita piece fits in.” The fact that Nevada made it to number 11 with 1.39 square feet per capita also “gets across the idea that we’ve got a long way to go,” he adds.
The annual list could see some changes in the future, though, Horst says. “Next year, I want to do some version of it that includes countries, too: that’s where we’re really seeing dramatic changes. In Brazil, we’re seeing 500 percent growth, and similar growth in china. Those are the kinds of things we need to start including, to get people thinking that it’s not just about states anymore.”
The count includes space certified through all of the LEED rating systems except LEED for Homes and LEED for Neighborhood Development.