In February, the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC) released its top 10 states for LEED projects, ranking states by their amount of square footage of LEED-certified space per capita. On the heels of this, we decided to look deeper to find the top 10 states for projects overall. By pulling together the data from all fifty USGBC state market briefs including number and type of projects, certified space, and LEED member organizations and professionals, we found some national trends. Office and mixed-use office spaces are the most common LEED spaces nationally. More than half of all projects registered fall under corporate or investor classifications. Other sectors leading the way in the most popular form of commercial LEED certification include higher education and local government projects, while retail projects are the third most-common type of LEED-certified space in more than half of the U.S.

The top 10 states highlighted below have the most cumulative LEED-certified projects, including already certified spaces and those that have been registered for the certification process based on the USGBC's real-time state market briefs as of May 19, 2014. Five states—Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and California—make both our list and the USGBC's top 10.

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10. Washington

Nearly half of all the LEED projects in Washington are certified, with 742 certified buildings of the total 1,615 projects. With Seattle commonly hailed as one of the nation’s greenest cities, it’s no surprise that Washington has certified square footage equivalent to 98 Empire State Buildings, putting it ahead of Maryland and Georgia in LEED-certified space. Washington also leads the top 10 in the percent of projects in higher education, with 14.74 percent.

9. Georgia

Georgia has a cumulative total of 1,666 LEED projects, 566 of which are certified. Of the member organizations in Georgia's USGBC Chapter, professional firms have more than double the members than from any other sector. Closely tied in LEED square footage with Maryland, Georgia has LEED certified space equivalent to 90 Empire State Buildings.

8. Maryland

Maryland is host to a cumulative 1,833 LEED projects, 602 of which are certified. The state ranks second on the USGBC’s list of LEED projects per capita, with 2.20 square feet of certified LEED space per capita. More than 1,000 (56.04 percent) of Maryland’s projects are corporate or investor spaces, and more than 200 (12.73 percent) are federal government spaces.

7. Virginia

With 2,005 total LEED projects, Virginia’s 784 certified projects make up the equivalent of 135 Empire State Buildings in certified square footage. While the state falls behind Pennsylvania in overall projects, Virginia is ahead in LEED certified space. Virginia is also second to Georgia in the proportion of projects that are federal government space with 16.16 percent.

6. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a running total of 2,014 LEED projects, 753 of which are certified. Nearly 20 percent of the state’s LEED projects are in education with 13.80 percent in higher ed. Pennsylvania is also one of only two states in our top 10 (along with New York) in which more than 10 percent of its LEED projects are registered by non-profit or religious organizations.

5. Illinois 

Illinois topped UBGBC’s ranking for LEED-certified space per capita, with 2.29 square feet certified per capita, but the state comes in fifth on our list with 2,061 total LEED projects, 916 of which are certified, and the remaining 1445 of which are registered.While more than half of Illinois’ LEED projects fall under the corporate and investor umbrella, 10.92 percent are buildings in higher education.

4. Florida

Of Florida’s 2,869 LEED projects, 966 are certified. More than 10 percent of the projects are local government spaces. According to the market brief, the Sunshine State is also home to more than 10,000 professionals sporting LEED credentials. 

3. New York

Falling just behind #2, New York ranks third with a total of 3,343 projects, 1,087 of which are LEED-certified. Of those, 421 projects have achieved LEED Gold status and New York is also home to perhaps one of the most notable LEED-certified skyscrapers, the Empire State Building, which earned a Gold LEED for Existing Buildings certification in 2011 (making it the tallest building to do so).

2. Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and LEED space is no exception. Texas ranks second with 3,423 total projects, 1,201 of which are LEED certified. More than 1,000 projects are office and mixed use spaces, and 59.57 percent of the state's projects are corporate or investor spaces. Texas is also home to 141 military base projects and 384 education projects.

1. California

California ranks #1 in LEED projects overall with a whopping 7,425 total projects, more than double any other state. Of those projects, 2,993 are certified and represent a total square footage equivalent to 479 Empire State Buildings. As with most states in the top 10, more than half of projects here are corporate and investor spaces, with office space accounting for 42.67 percent of total projects. California is also far ahead in higher education projects—more than double any other state—with 851 certified projects.

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