The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of the top 10 states for new LEED certifications in 2012, highlighting those regions that are transforming buildings and communities across the country.

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 of space has been certified worldwide through 2012.

“Securing a spot on this list is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved in the green building movement in these states,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, USGBC. “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, and I applaud their efforts to create a healthier present and future for the people of their states.”

Roger Platt, Senior Vice President, Global Policy & Law for the USGBC presented the LEED Platinum plaque to Bryan Koop, Senior Vice President & Regional Manager of Boston Properties and Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino at a ceremony at Atlantic Wharf located on the Fort Point Channel near Boston’s Innovation District. Atlantic Wharf was Boston’s first LEED Platinum skyscraper.

Once again, the District of Columbia tops the ranking, with 36.97 square feet of LEED space certified per resident in 2012.

Meanwhile, Virginia moved into the position as the top state, with 3.71 square feet certified per resident in 2012, overtaking Colorado, with 2.10 square feet certified per person.

Other top states include Massachusetts, which moved up three positions from 2011, with 2.05 square feet per person; Illinois, with 1.94 square feet; and Maryland, with 1.90 square feet of LEED space certified per resident in 2012.

Reflecting the ongoing trend of LEED existing buildings outpacing their newly built counterparts, in 2012 the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system accounted for 53% of total square footage certified in these states, compared to 32% certified under LEED for New Construction.

The full ranking, which includes 10 states plus Washington, D.C., is as follows:

Rank State Projects certified in 2012 Square feet of LEED space certified in 2012 Per-capita square footage
1 District of Columbia 110 22,246,445 36.97
2 Virginia 170 29,709,574 3.71
3 Colorado 99 10,553,881 2.10
4 Massachusetts 106 13,395,597 2.05
5 Illinois 156 24,949,997 1.94
6 Maryland 127 10,954,324 1.90
7 New York 214 34,378,286 1.77
8 Washington 133 10,521,177 1.56
9 California 540 54,252,993 1.46
10 Texas 224 36,017,979 1.43
11 Nevada 29 3,741,941 1.39

“Buildings are a primary focus of our Mayor’s Sustainable DC initiative,” said Keith Anderson, Interim Director, District of Columbia Department of the Environment. “We are indeed thrilled to be leading the nation in per-capita LEED certified space. Our private and public building sectors are boldly leading with the development of high performing green buildings, and we have aligned governmental policies to support such innovation.”

“In our nation’s capital, we have a responsibility to lead by example,” said Mike Babcock, Chair, USGBC National Capital Region Chapter. “We are actively working with the stakeholders in our region toward realizing a shared vision for a truly sustainable community. The ongoing commitment and leadership of the public, private, and community-based organizations to support and encourage green building practices in our region has made this achievement possible. While still in the infancy of realizing our vision, this accomplishment reinforces a step in the right direction.”

Significant projects that certified in 2012 include:

  • Atlantic Wharf, the first LEED Platinum skyscraper in Boston
  • Cooper Vineyards in Louisa, Va., the first winery on the East Coast to achieve LEED Platinum
  • National Football League (NFL) corporate headquarters in New York City, LEED Gold
  • Levi Strauss headquarters in San Francisco, LEED Gold
  • The Chicago Center for Green Technology, a LEED Platinum existing building
  • Dallas Convention Center Hotel, the first LEED Gold hotel in Texas
  • The U.S. Mint Building in Washington, D.C., LEED Gold
  • Denver Police Crime Lab, LEED Gold
  • Montgomery College Science Center in Rockville, Md., LEED Gold
  • The Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma, Wash., LEED Platinum
  • Bonneville Transit Center in Las Vegas, LEED Platinum