Which state was the greenest in the U.S. last year?
It was Colorado, based on the state’s surge in creating sustainable buildings.
The Centennial State leads the list of states with the most LEED-certified buildings per person in 2011, according to a new list recently  released by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The USGBC ranked the top 10 states based on the number of LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita, using 2010 Census information. The District of Columbia leads the nation, with more than 31 sq ft of LEED-certified space per person in 2011, with Colorado ranked as the leading state, with 2.74 sq ft per person in 2011.
The other top states include Illinois, Virginia and Washington, with 2.69, 2.42 and 2.18 sq ft of LEED-certified space per person, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 were Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, California, New York and Minnesota.
“Being ranked first among states (and second only to Washington, D.C.) speaks to the commitment Colorado has made in both the public and private sectors to green building and the significant environmental, economic and social benefits of LEED certification,” says Deb Kleinman, executive director, USGBC Colorado Chapter. “Our diverse community of stakeholders are dedicated to ensuring high-performing and healthy buildings for future generations. I applaud the green-building community in Colorado and expect our state to continue to lead the way in transforming our built environment.”
The country’s notable newly certified projects in 2011 included the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., which is distinguished as the oldest LEED-certified project in the world; the LEED-Platinum Casey Middle School in Boulder; the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago, Ill.; Frito-Lay in Lynchburg, Va., which earned LEED Gold for the operations and maintenance of an existing building; the LEED Silver Hard Rock Café in Seattle; Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.; Yawkey Distribution Center of The Greater Boston Food Bank in Mass.; the LEED-Gold Austin Convention Center in Texas; SFO’s LEED Gold Terminal 2 in San Francisco; the LEED-Platinum Hotel Skylar in Syracuse, N.Y.; and the LEED-Platinum Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis.
“Looking past the bricks and mortar, people are at the heart of what buildings are all about,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Examining the per capita value of LEED square footage in these states allows us to focus on what matters most—the human element of green buildings.”
LEED is the internationally recognized mark of green building excellence, with more than 44,000 projects commercial projects participating, comprising over 8 billion sq ft of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries. In addition, more than 16,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with more than 67,000 more homes registered.
In December 2011, USGBC announced that LEED-certified existing buildings outpaced their newly built counterparts by 15 million sq ft on a cumulative basis. A focus on heightened building performance through green operations and maintenance is essential to cost-effectively driving improvements in the economy and the environment.
For the full list of LEED-certified projects, visit: usgbc.org/press.