The U.S. Green Building Council Colorado Chapter recently released its mid-year report on LEED-certified projects in the state for the first half of 2015. Halfway through the year, the report targets 73 projects that already represent 8,524,716 sq ft of real estate, putting the state on track to outpace 2014 numbers. Last year, Colorado certified a total of 102 projects representing 15,816,498 sq ft of real estate.

In the first quarter of 2015, there were two projects that reached the Platinum level, 16 Gold, 17 Silver and 10 Certified, totaling 45 projects overall. In the second quarter, four projects were granted Platinum status, 15 Gold, 5 Silver and 4 Certified, totaling 28 LEED-certified projects. The majority of the buildings were in Denver, which had 25 projects, and Fort Collins, which had 18.

“The Rocky Mountain region’s committed business and community leaders and green building professionals are using LEED to transform their built environments to improve the health and well-being of not only our planet, but building occupants and residents as well, and that effort is noted in these mid-year numbers,” said Patti Mason, executive director, USGBC Colorado. “These numbers show that LEED certification is becoming more common for buildings in the state, helping Colorado continue to lead the way in green building.”

Several of the 2015 projects are in education, including buildings on the Colorado State University campus and University of Colorado Denver. In addition, many of the LEED-certified schools are in rural areas due to the BEST Grant Program, which provides an annual amount of funding in the form of competitive grants to schools. Rural areas in Colorado are now building sustainable schools to help save on energy and water bills and improve students’ health.

“Increasing the number of LEED-certified spaces in Colorado is important because these buildings use less energy and water, save money for families and businesses, contribute to our economic growth and improve the quality of life in the communities where they are found,” said Mason.

USGBC Colorado, which hosts the upcoming Green Schools Summit, an annual education and networking event organized by the Green Schools Initiative, has a special interest in education.

Mason added: “Our goal is to green Colorado’s schools within a generation, and the solid growth of educational organizations’ LEED certifications is bringing us closer to that objective.”