Earlier this year, I came across an article called “Green Building Trends for 2013” from a popular website, sustainablebusiness.com. The article noted that as of late 2012, 40% of LEED-registered projects are outside of the United States, being pursued by more than 130 countries. This created some curiosity in finding out exactly where these projects are being pursued. As international data can be noisy and difficult to find, I decided to delve into the United States, in particular.
Fortunately, I found data from the United States Green Building Council of the top states for LEED Certification. The USGBC uses a per capita ranking, meaning they use a value derived by dividing the total square footage of the state’s LEED Certified buildings by the population of that state. Unsurprisingly, Washington D.C. was the clear victor, with 36.97 square feet per capita. Virginia came in second, followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Washington, California, Texas, and Nevada. Although California did not take the top spot, even though it had far more LEED certified projects, with 540, and square footage, with 235.5 million. Compared to Washington D.C.’s projects and square footage, 110 and 22.2 million, respectively, it had far more LEED activity. Nevertheless, this a great tool for evaluating individual state performance in sustainability.
This ranking is one of the many ways that we should praise initiatives from states when it comes to building green. I look forward to seeing 2013’s ranking when they are published in January of 2014.
After reviewing this information, I began to think of ways that would boost LEED projects in the future. One of them may be a fantasy, but interesting nonetheless. Should the federal government give compensation to the states that perform the best each year in LEED Certification? As we know, the federal government has backed sustainability, especially in the recent years. Much of the money they have spent to encourage innovation or sustainability has not yielded results. This may be another avenue for the government to explore. With more economic incentives for these states and municipalities to build green, we may see even more of a rise in LEED Certification in the coming years.
Bryan Masters is currently receiving his Master of Science in Real Estate degree at the University of San Diego while working as an analyst for a real estate investment firm. He is also a guest curator for the MIPIM sustainability and innovation category on behalf of the University of San Diego, Burnham-Moores Centre for Real Estate.
Image credit : Photobank gallery