Which States Are Driving Sustainable Building in America?

February 28, 2020
Sustainable home design
By StockPhotoPro

Take it from Kermit: It is not easy being green. But as climate change worsens and natural disasters accelerate, pursuing sustainable building practices is more critical than ever. Some states are stepping up their game to secure LEED-certification for construction projects, but the most sustainable area of the U.S. is not a state but a district: Washington D.C. far surpasses every state in LEED-certified building per capita in the New York Time’s analysis of sustainable building in the 50 states and D.C for 2019. In terms of states, Colorado leads the pack, jumping to first place from sixth the year prior. See if your state makes the top 10 states with the most sustainable buildingand maybe even get inspired to check out ways to incorporate more sustainable construction in your next project. 

With January 2020 registering as the hottest January on record, 2019 the second-hottest year on record and the 2010s the hottest decade ever, climate change is becoming harder for skeptics to ignore. The Trump administration’s cuts to environmental regulations further accentuate the need for sustainable building practices.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the environmental rating system most commonly used to certify buildings as environmentally sound. To attain LEED certification, buildings must be constructed to reach sustainability goals including high energy and water efficiency, low carbon emissions, a healthy indoor environment and cost savings.

Last year in this space, we reported on the states (and Washington, D.C.) with the most square feet per capita of LEED-certified new construction in 2018, as reported by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. The 2019 results are in, and are the subject of this week’s chart. Properties included are mixed-use high-rises, condominium and apartment buildings, and institutional and commercial properties, but not single-family homes.

Colorado came out on top in 2019, up from sixth place in 2018, with 102 projects totaling 23,962,344 square feet of LEED-certified construction, or 4.76 square feet per Colorado resident. Next were Illinois and New York.

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