WASHINGTON — The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its ranking of the Top 10 States for LEED, in which the state of Illinois placed first. The list highlights the regions around the U.S. that are at the forefront of the movement for sustainable building design, construction and operation.
Utilizing less energy and water, LEED-certified spaces save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce carbon emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
“In the face of the extraordinary global challenge of climate change, our national imperative to create resource-efficient and cost-effective green buildings has never been greater,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “Illinois has a strong base of dedicated individuals who are using LEED to transform its built infrastructure into high-performing spaces that promote the health of our planet and the people who use these buildings each and every day.”
“Illinois’ national ranking is the result of the robust network of businesses committed to sustainability working together with elected officials who understand the benefits of green building,” said Brian Imus, executive director of the Chicago-based USGBC Illinois Chapter. “It’s great to see passion from so many people making an impact and moving Illinois closer to the goal of everyone living, working and learning in a green and healthy building.”
The per-capita list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that were certified throughout 2013. Illinois certified 171 projects representing 29,415,284 square feet of real estate, or 2.29 square feet per resident, in 2013.
USGBC calculates the list using per-capita figures as a measure of the human element of green building, allowing for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and, accordingly, number of overall buildings.
A few notable projects that certified in Illinois in 2013 include:
• The Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie, LEED Gold
• Choices Mental Health Facility in Ottawa, LEED Platinum
• 300 North LaSalle, a 57-story, 1.3 million-square-foot tower in Chicago developed and managed by USGBC Platinum Member Hines, LEED Platinum
• The Caterpillar Visitors Center in Peoria, LEED Gold
• Engine Company 16 in Chicago, LEED Platinum
• Lincoln Hall at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, LEED Platinum
• Powell Elementary School in Chicago, LEED Gold
• Lincoln Land Community College Workforce Careers Center in Springfield, LEED Silver
There are 541 USGBC member organizations with headquarters in Illinois, employing more than 14 million people and grossing more than $106 billion in annual revenue. In addition, there are more than 8,600 LEED credentialed professionals in the state.
Collectively, 1,777 commercial and institutional projects became LEED certified within the top 10 states in 2013, representing 226.8 million square feet of real estate. Worldwide, 4,642 projects were certified in 2013, representing 596.8 million square feet.
More than 20,000 projects representing 2.9 billion square feet of space have been LEED-certified worldwide, with another 37,000 projects representing 7.6 billion square feet in the pipeline for certification.
USGBC launched LEED v4, the newest version of the rating system, in the fall of 2013. The latest version continues to raise the bar for the entire green building industry, which McGraw-Hill Construction projects could be worth up to $248 billion in the U.S. by 2016. LEED v4 features increased technical rigor; new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail, and mid-rise residential projects; and a simplified submittal process supported by a robust and intuitive technology platform.
The full ranking of the top 10 states includes: