USGBC Announces 2020 Top 10 States for LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of the Top 10 States for LEED green building with Massachusetts leading the country in 2020 with the most certified sq. ft. per capita. Across the top states, more than 60 percent of certifications were office, healthcare, higher education and K-12 projects. This year, USGBC also released a ranking of states with the most LEED professionals with California taking the top spot. Collectively, the 2020 rankings represent 1,171 certified LEED buildings and spaces, and more than 100,000 green building workers.

While offices, education and healthcare projects accounted for a majority of certifications, warehouses, distribution centers, multifamily and retail projects represented almost 20 percent. Also, almost half of all projects were certified Gold, indicating a commitment to a high level of certification.

The Top 10 States for LEED green building is based on gross sq. ft. of certified space per person using 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional projects certified in 2020. The full top 10 state rankings are as follows:

Top 10 States for LEED Green Building in 2020

RankStateGSF Per Capita2020 Certifications2020 GSF
TOP 10 TOTALS1,171281,055,474
1Massachusetts2.917619,034,129
2Washington2.827418,957,253
3Illinois2.619433,475,682
4Colorado2.356411,826,927
5New York2.2810844,172,684
6Maryland2.238812,898,921
7California2.1241778,912,603
8Virginia2.059716,404,078
9Texas1.6613941,749,345
10Nevada1.34143,623,852
*District of Columbia39.5312923,783,731
*Washington, D.C. is not ranked due to its status as a federal district.

Certification communicates progress in support of climate and ESG commitments and the goal is to get more buildings on a path to certify. Using Arc to track performance, USGBC is tracking nearly 56 million metrics tons of GHG emissions associated with energy and transportation, and more than 167 billion gallons of water. The data show that LEED projects deliver significant reductions in emissions and improvements in occupant experience – and the benefits increase with higher levels of LEED certification. The latest version of the rating system, LEED v4.1, raises the bar on green building performance, defining the latest sustainability standards while enabling project teams to continue to track progress beyond certification.

Since 2018, more than 25 projects globally have certified LEED Zero, which recognizes net zero performance in buildings and spaces. LEED’s third-party certification is the industry’s dominant green building standard and LEED Zero expands on that work verifying achievements in net zero carbon, energy, water and waste. It focuses on a higher level of green building performance.

Transforming the building sector to be more sustainable requires a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. This workforce is contributing to the development and advocacy of LEED and is being quickly embraced by the next generation workforce and decision makers. USGBC has been committed to cultivating and supporting green building professionals through its credentialing and certificate programs. This year, USGBC is also releasing an additional Top 10 list recognizing states with the most LEED green building professionals. The full list is as follows:

Top 10 States for LEED Professionals in 2020

RankStateTotal # of Credential Holders
TOP 10 TOTALS100,015
1California26,906
2New York12,575
3Texas10,474
4Florida9,694
5Illinois8,640
6Massachusetts6,901
7Virginia6,612
8Colorado6,393
9Washington5,968
10Pennsylvania5,852

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