Washington, D.C. (Feb. 4, 2019)—The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its annual list, Top 10 States for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the world’s most widely used green building rating system. The Top 10 states for LEED are home to 128 million Americans and together include more than 468 million gross square feet of LEED-certified space. 

“Over the past 25 years, the U.S. Green Building Council, its member companies and the green building community have come together to make our planet stronger, greener and more sustainable through LEED,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and chief executive officer, USGBC. “These 10 states are examples of how we can create lasting, measurable change and improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities. A better future requires a universal living standard that leaves no one behind, and that future would simply not be possible without the extraordinary work being done in these states.” 

USGBC calculates the list using per capita figures to allow for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and number of overall buildings. Notable projects that certified in each state in 2018 include:

  • Illinois—Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, LEED Silver, is part of a redeveloped campus that opened in March 2018 with over 700 physicians providing primary, specialty and emergency care.
  • Massachusetts—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School, LEED Platinum, served as a prototype for the Cambridge Green Schools Initiative and changed the way the district thinks about building energy, while also using its design as ateaching tool for students.
  • Washington—The LEED Platinum Seattle Fire Station 22 was designed to support the wellbeing of its firefighters while finding ways to reuse and conserve non-potable water to meet the station’s needs.
  • New York—Albany Damien Center Residencesis a LEED Gold housing project that has provided over 400 chronically homeless people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) with long-term housing stability.
  • Texas—The LEED Silver Austin Animal Kennelexpanded its facility to meet the city’s growing “no kill” community and provides an additional 44 kennel spaces, as well as play yards and adoption rooms.
  • Colorado—Jones Hall at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind is a historic building that achieved LEED Gold and provides a place for visiting families to stay, as well as a repository of resources for students across the state.
  • Hawaii—Hawaii Convention Center achieved LEED Gold and is focused on measuring environmental performance to improve visitor experience and uses Arc to track its sustainability efforts.
  • Virginia—Operation Smile’s Global Headquarters used LEED to reflect its own commitment to make the world a better place during the construction of its new LEED Gold office in Virginia Beach. 
  • California—The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) achieved LEED Gold for Building 301 using LEED v4.1; LEED is used across JPL’s campus to compare progress and continuously improve building performance, while also meeting federal guiding principles for sustainable buildings as a contractor to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • Maryland—The Merriweather Post Pavilion Stagehouse is a LEED Silver home-away-from-home for touring artists playing at the iconic venue and reflects many of the artists environmental values.


Despite Washington, D.C., not appearing on the official list because of its status as a federal territory, it has consistently led the nation and in 2018 certified 61.74 square feet of space per resident across 145 green building projects. The nation’s capital has a strong legacy of sustainability leadership and in 2017 was the first city in the world to be LEED-certified. For more information, visit usgbc.org